This week I was on a vendor’s website when I realized that the site had changed in that they had a new magnification feature that appeared whenever your mouse hovered over a product image. That could be a nice feature for certain products, but when I clicked my right mouse button to copy the image, the normal copy features had disappeared. Great. First a pandemic. Now image capture just got harder! Fortunately, a vaccine is around the corner and grabbing images isn’t that bad as long as you know a trick or two.
The DesignSmart Companion works best
By far the fastest and easiest way to grab images from most websites and add them to DesignSmart is by using the free DesignSmart Companion which is a web extension that can appear on all vendor websites. Many people refer to this type of feature as a “clipper”. Simply click the “Import” button on the Companion and it will grab one or all of the available images depending on how the website is set up. Even when I clicked the Import button on the site with the new magnification feature, the Companion grabbed all of the images on the webpage.
And even if the Companion is not allowed to grab all of the images, then you can usually hover your mouse over the image you want, right-click and select “Add Image to DS Companion” link, then click in one of the white image boxes in the Companion.
Using the “Copy Image Address” Method
Before the Companion was available, designers would hover their mouse over an image, right-click and select “Copy Image Address”. Then they would go to DesignSmart to paste the image. This method still works on most websites and is almost as efficient as using the Companion, but designers can only copy then paste one image at a time.
Using your computer’s “screen capture”
Whether because a website intentionally makes it hard to grab images or because of the web technology used to show images, there will be websites where neither the Companion works nor will you see the option to “Copy Image Address” link. What to do then? The no cost solution is to use the “screen capture” feature that comes with all Mac and Windows computers. The issue is that only about 0.001% of the general population knows how to use these features (I’m clueless myself). And even if you know how to use them, then once you have the screen shot you can’t drag & drop it into DesignSmart. This means you’ll have to save it, or export it, to an image file, then upload it to DesignSmart. This gets old really quickly.
When all else fails SnagIt
For sites that do their best to make it impossible to grab their images, the best option we have found is a software program called SnagIt. We learned about SnagIt from one of our interior design clients that uses it to annotate drawings. We recommend it because it has great image capturing features. Once you have captured the image in SnagIt, you can simply drag & drop the image into DesignSmart. Hopefully, you won’t need to use SnagIt very often, but depending on the sites you frequent, it can be a handy tool.