I have a 27" iMac running Snow Leopard. In a wide range of applications I often need to use a straight edge to compare different values on charts, even sometimes charts generated by different applications. To do this I have made do with clumsy solutions like creating a floating and transparent Sticky or using Shift + Command + 4. I've also tried a small app called Crosshairs.

None of these things do what I really want. Ideally, I'd like a full screen crosshair centered on the cursor. Another way to think about this, it would give me a full height vertical and full width horizontal line that would show up over (on top of) any and all applications, just as a cursor does. Nice to haves it would give the coordinates of the display and have toolbar or right click access to turn it on or off.

Any suggestions?

  • SnagIt for Mac does exactly this: a full screen crosshair with pixel coordinates, when you take a screen shot. But it's only designed for screen shots. goo.gl/D0JnL
    – user9290
    Apr 13, 2012 at 14:57

5 Answers 5


While it has many more features than this, something like xScope sounds great for this.

Some main features:

  • mirroring
  • getting on screen dimensions
  • rulers
  • guides
  • frames
  • crosshair
  • Great little app. WAy more than I need for what I do need of it works like a charm. Thanks.
    – Jagra
    Apr 13, 2012 at 22:01

Update: QuickLens has an excellent set of tools: a full screen live crosshair, movable/lockable guides, ruler and a few other measurement, magnification and alignment tools. It was recently (Sep 2020) rewritten as a 2.x release, ready for Catalina and Big Sur. This is my current favorite.

PixelSnap 2 is a well designed app that provides great crosshair & measurement tools. It's a bit costly for just a crosshair, but you can get it now as part of Setapp if you happen to subscribe to that.

Red Lines Tools (App Store, currently free as of 8/2020). It has crosshairs, a magnifier, grid/image overlays, adjustable keybindings, and many other customizations. There are a few bugs but it gets the job done.

Another possible solution: Monosnap is a free screen capture app that displays full-screen crosshairs when capturing an area. You can trigger it via a hotkey and then hit ESC to cancel without actually taking a screenshot if all you want to do is use the crosshairs for alignment.

As others have mentioned, xScope is another option, although it's costly if all you need is crosshairs.

There used to be a small and efficient app called Euclid written by Nicholas Jensen that was specifically for crosshairs. Unfortunately, it's been abandoned.

  • QuickLens recommendation proves timely, given that xScope now crashes Big Sur ;-( All said, I'd still prefer a simple crosshairs app.
    – Jagra
    Nov 22, 2020 at 17:25

Free solution: Mouse Locator http://www.2point5fish.com/

You can make whatever custom cursors you want.

Hotkeys can turn it on/off, and if you want coordinates, you could launch Pixie (or another app) and keep it in the corner.

  • Does this provide a crosshair though? Reading through the description & screenshots on the website it doesn't appear so.
    – luckman212
    Nov 16, 2019 at 15:57

For a different approach, you can try Free Ruler for Mac OS X. This free application displays a horizontal and a vertical ruler, both of which you can extend. It supports different scales (cm, mm, pixels, inches, etc - it's using the screen DPI to display distance measurements correctly).

I use it quite often when I need pixel-perfect measurements of GUI elements, or other stuff and the application I work with doesn't give me what I need in terms of the measurements.

Please note, I'm NOT affiliated with the developer in any way, just a happy user for the occasional time that an application like this serves my needs.

  • Thanks for the recommendation. xScope still does everything I need it to do.
    – Jagra
    Nov 12, 2014 at 21:04

I use Skitch (a free screenshot annotation app) for the crosshair functionality. I have it set so that shift+command+5 brings up the crosshairs.

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