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PixelStick is a measuring app for the Mac. “Measuring what?” I hear you ask. To shamelessly steal the description from the manufacturer’s website

PixelStick is a tool for measuring distances, angles and colours on the screen. It works in any app and anywhere on screen. It’s excellent for designers or anyone who wants to measure a distance on their screen in any window or application.

So what do I use it for? Primarily for measuring pixel distance. As an example, I have a number of WordPress-based sites that have videos and images in the “posts” and pages”. I often need to know, for any given site, the maximum available width, in pixels, that a video or screenshot (or other image). For example, here’s a random post from my blog:


The red line indicates the maximum width available for a video or image in the blog post. However, different sites have different themes applied and even within the same theme, different pages have different “templates” applied. The amount of available space varies depending on which theme and template is applied.

Rather than keeping a list of themes/templates/maximum widths, it’s actually quicker to run PixelStick and measure the available space, as per this video…

I recently found myself needing to set my browser window to a specific size (1280×720). I was creating a video at work using my work Vista laptop so I Googled “PixelStick alternatives Windows” and came up with quite a few choices. I selected one of them, a free app (as it was for work) called Meazure from C Thing Software, downloaded it and installed it.

Meazure has a plethora of features which are listed here including the ability to draw a box of a specific width and height into which a window can then be fitted…

Before I finish, I did find a couple of issues with PixelStick.

First of all, it can’t actually measure 2 dimensions (i.e. width and height) at the same time nor can it create a “frame” that I can fit a window into. Why I thought it could, I don’t know, but I must have done to have used the search term “PixelStick alternatives Windows”.

The second issue is that it doesn’t work with multiple monitors on OSX Mavericks. I discovered this when I dragged the PixelStick “measuring line” onto my second monitor and it disappeared.

Thanks to Elaine Giles I also discovered there’s a fix. Open the System Preferences in OSX, select Mission Control and untick the “Displays have separate Spaces” box. PixelStick now works across my 2 monitors however the Menu Bar on my second monitor has disappeared (no great loss for me) and if I run an app in “full screen mode” (OSX full screen mode), the monitor that the app is not running on is un-usable – again no great loss to me as, apart from YouTube videos, I never run apps in Full Screen Mode.

Despite those issues, PixelStick is still a great tool which does much more than measuring the distance between 2 points. It costs £4.99 ($6.99) and can be purchased from The Mac App Store