Having a problem using Napkin?

Napkin has a built-in help system that can guide you through the basic usage and features of the application. You can turn it on by choosing 'Show Tutorial Hints' under the Help menu.

Call out of the Show Tutorial Hint menu item

Then look for the blue '?' buttons in the upper left corners of canvas items. Click this button to get help with the item. Press the 'Next' button each hint to see even more.

Arrow pointing to the Help pip

For more detailed help, look for the Video tutorials also under the 'Help' menu. Finally, many of the frequently asked questions about Napkin listed below may help.

Still have a question? Email us at

Still have a question?
Email us at

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a trial version of Napkin?

There is not a trial version of Napkin available at this time.

Is there an educational or bulk purchasing discount for Napkin?

If you are interested in bulk purchasing Napkin for an educational or enterprise site license, please contact us at

Can Napkin work with PDF files?

Napkin only supports importing bitmap image file formats like PNG, JPEG and TIFF. Vector formats such as PDF and EPS are not supported at this time. You can export your Napkin document as a PDF that contains a bitmap image, but Napkin does not support exporting vector content to PDF files.

Does Napkin have a screenshot keyboard shortcut?

Napkin has a keyboard shortcut that will start taking a screenshot when the application is running and is the front application. There is not a shortcut that will work when the application is not running or not frontmost, however.

Many users rely on the built-in OS X shortcut (⌘-Shift-3 or ⌘-Shift-4) to generate screenshots when Napkin is not running. You can right click on the file it generates on your desktop and choose 'New Napkin' from the 'Services' menu to launch Napkin and start a new napkin with the image.

Users of scripting and macro apps might find it useful to create a macro triggered by a global keyboard shortcut to launch Napkin and start a screenshot. Users of Keyboard Maestro can download this file for a macro to use with Napkin (thanks Tim Stringer).

What format of images can Napkin import and export?

Napkin can import almost any bitmap image format that is natively supported by OS X. This includes common formats such as PNG, JPEG, TIFF and GIF. The full list depends on the version of OS X, but should be identical to what is supported by applications such as Preview, TextEdit and Mail.

Napkin can quickly export PNG or JPEG format images using the draggable File Pip in the toolbar. You can also choose to 'Export...' from the file menu and select TIFF, JPEG 2000 and PDF. Note that exported PDFs contain only bitmap image content and not scalable vectors for the fonts and shapes contained on the canvas.

How can I add images to my napkin?

There are several ways to add images to your Napkin document. You can add images using the Image toolbar item or from the Insert menu and choosing an image file. The Screenshot toolbar item will let you take a screenshot of a portion of your screen or a full window and add it to the napkin. You can also drag images in from the Finder or other apps.

How do I create annotations, I don't see any tools?

Add shapes, call-outs and arrows to the napkin by drawing with the mouse. Drawing a line will create an arrow. Scribbling out a circular or square shape will create a call-out. Holding the Command (⌘) key when creating a call-out will make a filled or hollow shape instead. You can add text by simply beginning to type. As a shortcut, all these annotations can be created by clicking the appropriate button in the toolbar as well.

Is there a way to draw a simple line?

If you would like to draw a simple line, create an Arrow. With the Arrow selected on the canvas, choose the 'Flat Line' style from the 'Style' pop-up menu in the format bar.

Can I change the opacity of a shape in Napkin?

You can change the opacity of a shape in Napkin by using the Color Panel. Just select the shape and click the Color Well in the Format Bar. At the bottom of the popover that appears, choose 'Show Colors'. This will display the standard system Color Panel. At the bottom of the panel is a slider that will control the opacity of the color applied to the selected item.

Can I create a hollow shape in Napkin?

Yes. With a shape selected on the canvas, simply choose the 'Outline' checkbox in the format bar. You can control the thickness of the shape's border using the nearby slider.

What exactly are Call-Outs?

Call-Outs show zoomed in portions of Image items on your napkin. You can drag a Call-Out over an Image and click the center target to capture that part of the image. Alternatively, you can drag the target to where you'd like the Call-Out to focus and let go. To clear the contents of a Call-Out, hit the red (x) button at the top right.

Why can't I move my image, it keeps making an arrow?

If you have trouble moving an image on the canvas and instead find that you are creating an unintentional arrow, try moving a little faster. Napkin will interpret pressing the mouse down and staying still for a second or so when on top of an image as a request to start drawing an arrow.

How do I share my creations from Napkin?

One of the easiest ways to share the content of your napkin as a PNG or JPEG is to simply drag the File Pip from the far right of the toolbar. This will produce an image file or copy an image into the destination of the drop. You can also use the Share menu to share to Mail, Messages and many other destinations. Any application that supports Yosemite sharing extensions for images will also be available in the share menu. Finally, you can select any of the content of your napkin and use 'Copy' to place an image on the clipboard that can be pasted into many destinations.

Can I crop an image in Napkin?

Yes. If you select an image on the napkin and then choose the 'Crop' button in the format bar, you will be taken to the crop mode. Here you can drag the corners or sides of the cropping rectangle to select the portion of the image you want visible. Choose 'Apply' to make your changes and return to editing your napkin.

Crop mode can also be started by clicking the action button on a selected image or by holding the Option (⌥) key and double clicking an image.

Can I redact portions of an image?

Absolutely. If you select an image on the napkin and then choose the 'Redact' button in the format bar, you will be taken to the redact mode. Here you can draw with the mouse over the top of areas you want to obscure in the image. You can also change the style of redaction for an image between Black-out, Pixelate and Blur. Black-out is the most secure. Pixelate works well with text and Blur looks best with photographic elements in an image.

Choose 'Done' to make your changes and return to editing your napkin. Redact mode can also be started by clicking the action button on a selected image or by double clicking an image.

What are Red Lines?

Red Lines are a style of Arrow items. You can use a Red Line when you want to display a pixel measurement annotation on an image. When a Red Line has both end-points inside the same image item on the canvas, it will display a label counting the pixels between the end-points. You can also place a Red Line on top of a Call-Out to measure the pixels in the targeted image. Red Lines are constrained to be horizontal or vertical.

You can select an arrow and choose the Red Line style from the format bar. Arrows with the 'Automatic' style will draw with the Red Line style when over an image item.