Frequently Asked Questions

Which versions of OS X does Pixa require?

Pixa requires OS X 10.7.3 or later to run.

Is it possible to buy Pixa outside of the Mac App Store?

No - this is not possible - but you can download the demo version.

Pixa crashed, what should I do?

Post the crash log on the support forums so that the issue can be fixed as quickly as possible. Crash logs are held in ~/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/.

A tip: to quickly reach the crash log folder press ⇧⌘G (shift-cmd-G) in the Finder and paste the link above (complete with tilde) in the dialog, hit enter and the Finder will be placed in the right location.

What's new in the latest version?

Check the Pixa page on the Mac App Store.

Any tips or tricks for Pixa?

Yes, check our tumblr - it is full of surprising tips and magical tricks.

How do I take screenshots?

Click on the camera icon in the OS X menu bar and choose the kind of screenshot you prefer.

Pixa allows you to snap in 3 different modalities: Area, Windows or Full Screen.

How do I take web full web pages screenshots?

Click on the camera icon in the OS X menu bar and choose "Snap Website". Write the desired site url in the address bar or search on Google. When ready you hit snap button or change the page size to test the website in different resolutions.

The Snap Website feature comes with a free extension for Safari and Chrome or a bookmarklet Snap.

You can find additional information on Web Snapping in this Pixa Tip.

What are "File Templates"?

Templates allow you to create new images starting from pre-defined templates.

Pixa starts with 3 built-in templates for iOS icons, 960 grid and less grid, but you can define your own.

You can access file templates by clicking on the picture icon or selecting "New File From Template" from the File menu.

How can I create my own File Template?

The easiest way to create a Template is to right click on an image inside Pixa and select "Save as Template". A dialog will allow you to edit your template information.

How can I open new tabs?

You can press ⌘T (cmd-T) or choose "New Tab" from the File menu.

How can I open my images with an external application?

Right click on the file and select an application under the "Open with" menu. You can find the same options under "File" in the Menu Bar.

You can also choose "Open With Default App" which can be done by hitting ⌘↩ (cmd-Enter).

How can I modify image tags or comments?

You can modify tags and notes in the info panel. To open info panel click the "i" button on the bottom of Pixa window or right click a file and choose "Get Info". The hot key for toggling the info panel is ⌘I (cmd-I).

You can also edit tags by dropping photos on a tag in the sidebar.

How do I change a filename?

Right click on a photo and choose "Rename" or click on the photo name at the top of the information panel.

How does the search work?

Anything written inside the search field will be used to match the filename, tags and note of each image displayed.

To search through all your files select "Library" from the sidebar and perform the search.

Are there ways to do special searches?

  • #tag or #t

    search by tag only

    #t icon #t red find all the images tagged "red" and "icons"

  • #notes or #n

    search by notes only

    #n important search all the images which have the word "important" in the notes

  • #title or #tt or #name

    search by title only


  • #ext or #e

    search by image extension only


  • #project or #p

    search into the photo projects name

    #t icon #p work searches all the files tagged "icon" in at least one project containing the word "work" in its name

  • #live

    find images which belong to a live folder


  • #notag

    find pictures without tags


  • #untagged

    find pictures without user defined tags

    color and size are considered generated tags

  • #duplicates

    find all the duplicates images


  • #width or #w

    search images by width

    #t icon #w < 100 search all the icon less than 100 pixels wide

  • #height or #h

    search images by height

    #t icon #h > 100 search all the icon less than 100 pixels wide

  • #noproject or #np

    find images not contained in any project


You can use "+" to combine tokens by logical ORs instead of ANDs, e.g. #t icon + #w < 60 returns all the icons or images less than 60 pixels wide.

Using the "-" sign will exclude all matching results, e.g. -#t white finds all the images that are not white.

How does Quick Export work?

To open the Quick Export panel click the export icon in the bottom of Pixa or right click on a photo and select "Quick Export".

On the Quick Export panel you can click or drag & drop one of the available presets to export the selected images.

Can I customize the Quick Export presets?

Yes! In the Quick Export panel you can click on "Edit" to delete or create presets.

Pixa allows you to choose image format and size to customize your new presets.

How can I share an image on the cloud?

Click on the cloud icon or drop photos on it to share using Dropbox, CloudApp or Imgur. At the end of the upload the sharing url will be automatically copied in your clipboard. A history of your clouded photos will be available in the Cloud menu.

Imgur is the default service for sharing, to configure a CloudApp or Dropbox account open Pixa preferences and visit the Services tab.

How does the Color Picker work?

Double click on an image and click on the loupe icon in the top right corner or press ⌘L (cmd-L). The loupe tool allows you to pick a pixel color and copy it to your clipboard.

You can choose the color format between hexadecimal, rgba, rgb, NSColor or UIColor; you can also customize the magnification.

How can I share files on social networks?

Pixa supports the standard Mountain Lion export menu; export options are dynamically chosen by OS X by the picture extension.

You can share with Mail, iMessage, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Sina Weibo, iPhoto and Aperture.

Can I sort or group a collection?

Yes, click on the gear button or right click on the browser area to select manual, date, title, size, color, and original sorting.

You can also group by project, extension, color, size.

Where can I download the extensions for my browser?

Pixa comes with two different free browser extensions:

  • Page Snapper

    Open Pixa Web site snapper with the browser url

    Available for Chrome, Safari or as Bookmarklet Snap

  • Images Grabber

    Grab all the images contained in a web page

    Available for Chrome and Safari.

Can I import all my LittleSnapper pictures into Pixa?

Yes, in LittleSnapper you have to export your collection using File → Export Images and selected Snap Bundle. Save .snap somewhere on your mac and drop it into a Pixa libray. All your images will be copied preserving note and tags.

Can I import all my iPhoto pictures into Pixa?

Pixa does not come with an iPhoto importer, but you can easily import your iPhoto originals or modified as Live folders.

Locate your iPhoto library ( usally in ~/Pictures/iPhoto Library ) right click on it an select "Show package content", then drag and drop the Originals folder in Pixa's live folder section. All your new photos will be imported automatically in Pixa.

Why doesn’t Pixa work after downloading from the website?

If Pixa refuses to start and Mac OS X shows you a dialog box inviting you to move the Application to trash it can be a Gatekeeper problem.

To run Pixa go to your "Security & Privacy" System Preferences panel and select "Mac App Store and identified developers" under the "Allow applications downloaded from:" section. Pixa should work fine now.

Why doesn’t Pixa create my Live Folder?

Sometimes the Apple sandbox daemon refuses to give permission to sandboxed applications. This is a known issue and Apple is currently working to solve it. The problem should disappear by restarting Pixa.

Why doesn’t Pixa import my images?

Sometimes the Apple sandbox daemon refuses to give permission to sandboxed applications. This is a known issue and Apple is currently working to solve it. The problem should disappear by restarting Pixa.

When the file is locked or unreadable Pixa will present a dialog box telling you that the photo can't be imported.

You can find the photo in Finder by pressing the loupe button on the right.

From the Finder you can investigate why the file is locked: in the file info ⌘I (cmd-I) ensure that the "Locked" checkbox is unchecked and that in "Sharing & Permissions" subsection your user ("your_username (Me)") has "Read & Write" privilege.

Once you fix these file settings you should be able to import the photo in Pixa.

Why doesn’t Pixa import PNG files correctly?

There are some QuickLook plugins that may make Pixa stop importing PNGs.

QuickLook plugins are silently associated by Applications to file's extensions and some time it is very hard to realize what's going on. Pixa uses QuickLook to be more fast and efficient; so if a QuickLook plugin does not work correctly Pixa's functionalities can be affected.

To have a list of QuickLook plugins associated with PNG extension you can run this command in the Terminal:

qlmanage -m plugins | grep -i PNG

Below is the list of known Applications that make Pixa stop import PNGs. On the right you'll find the Terminal's command to test for the Application. If the command prints some output it means that the Application is installed.

  • atPeek

    qlmanage -m plugins | grep -i atpeek

To get Pixa to work correctly you have to delete those Applications from the Applications folder in order to make Mac OS X disassociate the QuickLook plugin from the PNG extension.

If this does not solve your issue please write us to our support forums reporting the output of the "qlmanage -m plugins | grep -i PNG " command.

I have inadvertently deleted a picture, can i get it back?

If you have deleted a picture and you have not yet closed Pixa, you can hit ⌘Z (cmd-Z) or click on edit -> undo.

If you have removed a picture in a live folder before closing Pixa, you can find it in your recycle bin.

Photos or images hosted in the internal library are permanently deleted when you quit Pixa.

What are "Projects"?

Projects are containers for images, that can be grouped into folders.

To create a new project click the plus button in the bottom left corner of the Pixa window. You can also create new projects by dropping images, folders or compressed archives in the sidebar under the "Projects" section.

What are "Live Folders"?

They are folders on your local file system or external drives which are constantly monitored (including subfolders).

Any new image is automatically detected by Pixa and imported as reference into the Library. Updates and deletions are also handled.

You can create new Live Folders by dropping a folder in the sidebar under the "Live Folders" section or with the plus button in the bottom left corner of the Pixa window.

We strongly suggest you use folders on file systems that support extended attributes (xattr). If you choose to keep your files on a file system that does not support xattr, Pixa will still work but we cannot guarantee the consistency of image's tags and notes.

What happens on picture import?

Pixa copies the picture into the Library (or reference pictures when importing a folder as Live Folder) and automatically assigns colors and size tags.

Existing OpenMeta tags and comments are associated to the photo as well. Any tag and comment added to the image inside Pixa is associated to the picture using OpenMeta tags.

Pixa also always creates a thumbnail version of the image for internal use.

What kind of files can I import in Pixa?

You can import the following image formats:

  • PSD
  • AI
  • SVG
  • JPG
  • GIF (also animated)
  • PNG
  • TIFF
  • PDF
  • Pixelmator
  • Acorn
  • BMP
  • ICO
  • ICNS
  • TGA
  • Camera RAW files
  • Pixen
  • LittleSnapper

You can also drop folders or compressed archives in the sidebar.

Can I use Pixa with multiple libraries?

Yes, you can use as many libraries as you want. You can manage your libraries in the "Library" panel of the Pixa Preferences.

Can I store my Library on an external drive?

Yes, but we strongly suggest you use an external drive formatted with a filesystem supporting extended file attributes.

Can I store Pixa library on Dropbox or Google Drive?

Yes you can, but you must use the Library stored as backup only.

Using the Library while it is stored on Dropbox can permanently compromise your database.

Can I integrate Dropbox with Pixa?

Yes! In order to get the best experience we suggest you import your Dropbox folder (or any of its subfolders) as Live Folder. Pixa automatically imports new files and tags them using OpenMeta.

Dropbox also handle OpenMeta, so your tags and notes can be shared with your team, customers or family.

Can I disable automatic tagging?

Yes, in the preferences, under the "Tagging" panel, you can disable auto tagging for color and size.

Can I customize size tagging?

Yes, in the preferences, under the "Tagging" panel, you can customize the pixels for each size tag.

The sizes you choose are not retro active and will be applied to the images from the next import.

How does Pixa color tagging work?

For each image Pixa picks up to 3 predominant colors. Color tagging is meant to improve image finding.

Why doesn’t Pixa color tag PDF documents?

PDF documents are often composed by multiple pages and multiple images and color tagging the whole document can result in useless cataloguing.

Can I customize color tagging?

No, the color tagging algorithm is built to be fast and efficient; picking specific colors will slow image imports.

Will Pixa import IPTC tags?

Yes, Pixa automatically imports the IPTC tags contained in your images.

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