GrabBox review

Publishing your sceenshots to the web for quick sharing is easily done with many free apps. GrabBox is yet another to add to the ranks. While it’s not the first to try to fill this niche, it separates itself from the rest with a couple unique features, including using Dropbox as its online service.

First and foremost, this means that, unlike with some other screenshot-sharing programs, the images you share via GrabBox will continue to be available—at the original URLs—regardless of whether or not the developer keeps working on the software. Using Dropbox also reduces the developer’s cost, making it less likely that the developer will give up on the project—the risk of having to shut down the service due to bandwidth costs is a non-issue. There are also benefits on your end: You can change the names of uploaded files right in the Finder, you always maintain a local copy, you can quickly delete any shared file, and you get an easy way to browse your uploads, even when offline.

GrabBox

GrabBox is also different in that it’s a bit of a one trick pony—screenshots are the only files that it facilitates sharing. And while the lack of support for sharing applications and other filetypes may be a drawback, the big benefit is that GrabBox provides some of the best controls for sharing screenshots.

Setting up GrabBox is easy. After you launch the application, it autodetects your DropBox Public folder. You then use DropBox’s “Copy Public Link” command—in the Finder’s contextual menu—on any file in your Dropbox Public folder. Once you’ve done that, any time you take a screenshot using OS X’s built-in screenshot tools, GrabBox will move that image to a new Screenshots folder inside your Dropbox Public folder. The program notifies you of such moves using Growl and automatically copies to the Clipboard the Dropbox URL for to the screenshot, ready for pasting into an email, a tweet, or a chat session.

But you can configure GrabBox to do much more. For example, you can force GrabBox to prompt before uploading—you’ll see a Growl notification indicating that you’ve taken a screenshot and asking if you want to upload it. Simply click on that Growl notification and the file is uploaded. I like that GrabBox uses this oft-ignored Growl feature rather than present an obnoxious dialog.


GrabBox lets you rename uploaded screenshots before sharing them.

GrabBox uses a similar procedure to let you rename a screenshot: Just click on the Growl upload notification and type the desired name, which also changes the URL on the Clipboard. This is handy in case you want to be more descriptive than the default name (which is either numerical or a series of random characters, depending on your setting in GrabBox’s preferences).

Dropbox public URLs are quite long by default (particularly with the addition of the Screenshots directory inside your Dropbox Public folder), which makes them impractical for posting on Twitter. GrabBox helps you deal with this problem by offering to shorten shared-screenshot URLs using either o7.no (which appears to be the developer’s own service) or bit.ly (a well-established service).

There’s also an option to leave the original screenshot intact—copying it to your Dropbox Public folder instead of moving it - which can be useful if you plan to do something with the image later.

OUR VERDICT

If you’re looking to share strictly screenshots and have a Dropbox account, GrabBox is a feature-filled, free solution.

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