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User interface for creating a new CSS rule with fields for style element name, parent element, font-size, and line-height units, with 'my-style' as the style name, 'document base' as the parent element, '12' px font-size, and '0.5' units of line-height.

10 Adobe AIR Apps for Web Designers

Adobe AIR – a cross-platform runtime environment for rich-internet and desktop applications – is just starting to get popular outside of the early-adopter circles, but there’s already a growing amount of tools and utilities that can help web designers with various design-related and managerial tasks. If you’re a web designer that’s into experimenting and trying out new applications (they don’t cost a dime), check out these 10 Adobe AIR applications perfect for web designers. Graphics designers, interaction designers, and web developers might also find this collection useful.

Em Calculator

Em Calculator - screen shot. The Em Calculator created by James Whittaker is based on an article on 24 ways entitled Compose to a Vertical Rhythm.

It’s a pain-free way of creating CSS code for typography set on a baseline style, allowing the design to maintain its typographic proportions (i.e. size, line height, margin, padding) when the web page is viewed at a different font sizes.


colorPicker - screen shot. colorPicker is a simple desktop application for determining hexadecimal values of web-safe colors. colorPicker saves colors you’ve used during the session so you can quickly refer back to it.

If a web-safe color isn’t quite what you’re looking for, there’s an option for adjusting the selected color’s RGB values.

AIR Icon Generator

colorPicker - screen shot. The AIR Icon Generator is for designers needing a quick icon/web 2.0 badge created. Using the tool is a easy as pie: enter the text you want to display, choose the icon you want to generate (there’s currently only two styles available) and the color, press “generate icon” and you’re good to go. The output provides four different sizes of the generated icon.

Google Analytics Reporting Suite

Google Analytics Reporting Suite - screen shot. The Google Analytics Reporting Suite brings Google’s powerful website analytics tool to the desktop and adds several nifty features such as the ability to save/switch between different profiles (excellent for managing multiple sites/accounts for clients) and tab-based navigation for statistics pages you’ve opened.

Shrink O’Matic

Shrink O'Matic - screen shot. We’ve all had to resize a batch of images at some point – thumbnails for image galleries comes to mind.

If you’re looking for a quick-and-easy, free application – check out Shrink O’Matic. Set your desired options/parameters (Output size, Output name, Output format) and then drag your images into the interface (or use the file browser), and you’re done!


WebSnapshot - screen shot. There are plenty of situations where you need to take a screen shot of a live site; maybe you’re documenting or collecting websites for your portfolio. WebSnapshot is a hassle-free tool to accomplish just that.

You have the option to capture thumbnails, full page (entire width and length of the page), and/or the browser contents of live websites. As an alternative, try out WebKut, which has similar functions.

kuler desktop

kuler desktop - screen shot. The kuler desktop brings Adobe’s color theme web application to the desktop. Additionally, kuler desktop allows you to import color themes directly into Adobe software applications such as Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign.

Be sure to check out Color Browser to help you organize and save color schemes locally from kuler and COLOURlovers.


pixus - screen shot. pixus is a pixel-based ruler for objects on your screen/monitor. It has skins for Internet Explorer 6 and Safari so that you can visualize how a design or object looks in a web browser. pixus allows you to save preset dimensions for later use.


Klok - screen shot. Klok is a nifty, robust project time-tracking tool.

Klok comes with pre-defined templates including Web Project geared specifically for web designers and developers.


Snippely - screen shot. If you’ve worked as a web designer for while, you’ve probably amassed a big list of bookmarks and code snipplets that you frequently use. Snippley is an application for organizing and managing your code snipplets within an intuitive interface and centralized location. I hope you found this collection of tools helpful.

If you did, you may also be interested in reading Web-Based Tools for Optimizing, Formatting and Checking CSS and 20 Useful Tools to Make Web Development More Efficient. Did I miss your favorite? Have any experiences with these applications? Drop your inputs in the comments.

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