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Organize Your Design Assets Like a Pro with Eagle App

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Eagle App solves one of the hardest parts of being a designer; properly organizing design assets (like images, icons, and fonts), references, and any snippets you might use as inspiration. And it does more besides–let’s take a look!

Introducing Eagle

As a web designer, one of the biggest challenges I have is organizing my assets; design files, reference images, fonts, mockups I use regularly, and anything I use for general inspiration.

For example, when I browse Dribbble I’ll often want to be able to save an image I like for future reference. I can save it inside Dribbble, but I want it to be somewhere I can also put any relevant screenshots I take. So far these references are all over the place for me; some are saved in Dribbble, some are saved as screenshots somewhere on my computer, others in the cloud, some I access via bookmarks in my browser, it’s a mess. And it’s really hard to find specific files like this.

Recently I heard about an app called “Eagle”. You can use it to gather all kinds of files in a single, central asset library and organize them properly. And I’m happy to say it does so phenomenally

What Problems Does Eagle App Solve?

Let me show you what you can do with Eagle. This is it:

this is eagle appthis is eagle appthis is eagle app

I’ve been using it for a couple of days and I’ve already started to populate it with my most-used files (files of all kinds). For me, Eagle has solved three main problems:

1. It’s Difficult to Collect and Save Images From Websites

Imagine you’re browsing a website and you find an image you want to save, either for future reference or to use directly if you have the permissions to do so. Normally you would right-click the image and copy it, or save it to your system, or perhaps you’d go digging around in the source code if the image couldn’t be grabbed with your mouse.

Let’s say the next day you’re working on a different computer and you need that image for your project. You can’t remember the website where you found it originally and the version you saved is on a different computer. Or perhaps you’re on the same computer but you can’t remember where you saved the image. Either way you’re out of luck.

Eagle has a browser extension which solves this problem. Once installed, you can left-click any image on a website and drag it to a window pane which appears. You can save it straight to the app, or into one of your predefined folders. Problem solved. Saving images from websites is really easy.

eagle browser extensioneagle browser extensioneagle browser extension

2. It’s Difficult to Properly Organize Files on Your System

To save files on your system you probably use folders and subfolders, perhaps you tag files too (but that would put you in the minority). 

Eagle solves this by using multiple ways to organize assets. It gives you (amongst other things):

  • Folders and subfolders
  • Smartfolders
  • Tags
  • Ratings

So you can already see there are plenty of ways to organize and filter your assets.

3. It’s Difficult to Search for Assets on Your System

It’s actually not easy to search for something (especially something visual) on your system. If you can’t remember the filename of an image, or where you saved it, how would you go about finding it?

Eagle allows you to search with all kinds of criteria:

  • filename
  • folder name
  • folder description
  • extension
  • tags
  • URL
  • comment
  • note

And even better you have some filtering options too, such as colors and dimensions. These are amazing if you’re a visually-minded person.

filtering the eagle asset libraryfiltering the eagle asset libraryfiltering the eagle asset library

How Does Eagle Work?

So Eagle is a problem solver, but how does it work? It’s simple; you collect your assets, you organize them within the app, then you reference those assets whenever you need them.

Browser Extension: Collecting Images

As mentioned already, Eagle app has free browser extensions for all major browsers. Once you have an extension installed you can find a specific image you want to save then left-click and drag it into the pop-up. The image will be saved to the app (in a specific folder if you specified one).

Alternatively you can click the extension icon and select Batch Save. This will select all the images from the website you’re visiting, allowing you to click the ones you want and import all at once. Once imported, you can organize them any way you want.

batch importing assets from the browserbatch importing assets from the browserbatch importing assets from the browser

Browser Extension: Screenshots

The Eagle app extension will also take screenshots for you. Click the extension, the choose Capture Area, Capture Visible, or Capture Page. Holding Command (or Ctrl on PC) whilst you Capture Area will allow you to select elements on the page too, so you can capture single buttons or UI components.

capturing specific page elementscapturing specific page elementscapturing specific page elements

Once captured, of course, your screenshot will be saved to the Eagle app where you can get organizing, but you’ll notice some fields such as URL already filled in.

Saving Assets From Outside the Browser

If you want to save things which aren’t part of a web page, go to the Eagle app and File > Import Folders and select a folder whose contents you want to import.

Note: this is actually a great way to see another of Eagle’s features: duplicate detection. When importing, Eagle will look through your library to see if you already have the same image/asset saved somewhere else. If a file already exists you can choose to import it again, or not.

duplicate file detectionduplicate file detectionduplicate file detection
Duplicate file detection

Once you’ve imported a folder, it will be added to the list of folders on the left of the app, and all the files will be part of your asset library.

The other method for saving non-browser-based assets is to drag and drop files directly from your system into Eagle. Easy. And as ever, once an asset has been added to Eagle, you can organize it however you want. This PSD I’ve just imported, for example, will be more useful to me with the URL I downloaded it from associated with it.

add url to fileadd url to fileadd url to file

How to Organize Assets With Eagle

We’ve now explained how to collect and save files to the asset library, and we’ve touched on how they can be organized, but let’s have a closer look at that.

Folders and Subfolders

The first tools are (obviously) folders and subfolders. In the sidebar you’ll find main folders which can be color-coded, One feature I really like is that you can also choose an icon for each one. Within folders you can use subfolders to categorize things further.

change folder iconchange folder iconchange folder icon

Smart Folders

Perhaps even more useful are smart folders; folders which use rules (defined by you) to automatically pull in certain assets.

smart folder rules in eagle appsmart folder rules in eagle appsmart folder rules in eagle app

For example, here I’ve created a folder called “screenshots” and add the following rules:

  • If any of the following are true
  • Name contains “cleanshot”

Now if I create a screenshot with my other screenshot tool (the one I used before Eagle came along) I know that it saves shots with “cleanshot” in the filename. If I drag that file into my Eagle app, into the All library, it will automatically be visible when I view the “screenshots” smart folder, because it matches the rule I set.

This is a really powerful feature. You might create smart folders to house all your PSD files, or your SVG files, or all your icons, or perhaps all screenshots taken within a certain month.

Tags

The last way to organize that I’m going to discuss is by using tags.

Select any asset you want within Eagle, and you’ll see you can add tags to it. Eagle will suggest some tags, but you can also create your own. Select as many tags as you like for one specific asset; anything that will help you identify it later on.

tags in eagletags in eagletags in eagle

Tags come into their own when you need to find files. Search for tags in the main search box, or select them from the tags dropdown to filter results.

Filters and Searching

The filters along the top of the screen are all used to refine the results you can see in the asset library.

Filter by Color

Filtering by tags and filename etc. is obviously very useful, but (again, for visually-minded people) filtering by color is really cool. Select any color you like, from the predefined palette, or the universal color picker, and it will select assets where that color is prominent. It’s a really effective way of finding what you’re looking for!

filter design assets by colorfilter design assets by colorfilter design assets by color

And naturally you can search with any combination of the filters; any PSD from last October, tagged “pumpkin”, where the color #e0851a is relevant, for example.

Filter by Rating

The filter options are many, and we’ve discussed a few of them already. But “rating” is one I really enjoy. Rate any of your assets, from 1 to 5 stars, based entirely on your own experience, and use that to filter further down the line!

Filter by URL

This is super-useful. Every screenshot you’ve taken with Eagle app, and every image you’ve saved from a website, will have the URL field filled in automatically. With that information you can easily filter by keywords within the URL, allowing you to find everything taken from a certain website.

Where Does Eagle App Save Files?

Eagle saves everything you import into it in a library, and you can place that library wherever you want on your system. What I personally do, is place the library in a Dropbox folder so that I can sync the library between devices. I have my laptop, but also a main computer, and my Eagle app is synced perfectly between the two.

where does eagle app save fileswhere does eagle app save fileswhere does eagle app save files

To access this library go to the design library button at the top of the sidebar (mine is called AP Design Library and it’s in my Dropbox). You can create new, additional libraries whenever you want and switch between them. This can be useful if you want to separate projects, or perhaps clients or jobs. Perhaps you have a personal library where you collect resources from a house build project.

Who is Eagle App for?

It’s for you. No, seriously, it’s for anyone who wants to collect and organize images or files for any reason. Visual professionals, such as designers and artists, are the obvious immediate thought. Videographers and musicians will find it equally fitting for their workflows. It can used for personal and professional projects alike, and solves file management problems for all kinds of people.

What Does Eagle Cost?

Eagle is a paid app. A license costs (at the time of writing) $29.95 and allows use on two devices. Educational discounts are available. The really cool thing is that this is a one-time payment. Purchase a license and you own it; no hidden costs, no subscription, and free updates. There’s also a 30 day free trial.

Conclusion

I’m genuinely really happy to have found Eagle. I’ve actually been looking for something like this for some time, but somehow nothing has quite hit the mark like Eagle does. I can confidently say that I’ll be using it for a long time. As a creative professional it suits my everyday working life perfectly, so check out the video version of this review at the top of the page, give Eagle a try and see if you find it at useful as I do!

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