PureRef 2.0

· 7 min read

The long-awaited 2.0 update has arrived, packed with a bunch of much-requested features and improvements! We are changing the license agreements for this version, check what it means for you here.

In this blog post we'll go through the highlights of the new version. Apart from visual improvements, speed and stability, PureRef has been enhanced with a bunch of the most requested features, let's dive in!

Want to try the new version right away? Get it now:

Download PureRef

Highlights/key features:

Updated UI

Perhaps the most noticeable change in the new update is the revamped user interface! We've prioritized the changes to the UI to be more coherent, comfortable and easier to work with as PureRef expands with new features and uses. If you don't feel quite ready yet, you can change the appearance of the main UI in settings, and note style can be set in individual notes.


One of the most highly requested features is here: Full GIF support! Play, pause, adjust speed, scrub back and forth, frame step and see the frame numbers in a clip. Easily extract a single frame via copy-paste or by dragging the frame out of the timeline onto the board. Plus, multiple GIFs can be played simultaneously!

  • Play/pause
  • See timeline and frame numbers
  • Adjust speed
  • Frame step forward/back

Shortcuts for some of the controls can be assigned in settings.

See in Handbook


Ever wished you could just circle that one detail in an image? Now you can! Another very popular feature request, basic free-hand drawing is now available in PureRef.

  • 3 different stroke widths
  • Eraser and color selector
  • Arrow ends, dashed lines and solid lines
  • Hold Shift to draw a straight line

See in Handbook


Another much-requested feature: grouping! Group images and notes together and move them around as a unit. Add stuff to the group straight from the board by dragging them into it. Change the background color (and opacity!) of the group to improve visual distinction.

  • Group and ungroup, move images and notes together
  • Drag items into a group
  • Change group background color

See in Handbook


Get an overview of everything in your scene with the hierarchy window. By manipulating item ordering in the list you can control the relationships of images and notes.

  • Drag drop items to change the order and parent/child relationships, the child items move together with its parent
  • Double clicking an item in the hierarchy will either focus it if it is an image or open the item's edit mode for notes and drawings.
  • See status of and rename images, notes and groups

See in Handbook

Rich text editor for notes

Improving on the already existing text feature, we've freshened up the look and added:

  • Checklists, bullet lists and numbered lists
  • Text alignment
  • Clickable links
  • Font and font size
  • Indenting
  • Bold, Italic, Underline and Strikethrough
  • Toggle auto resizing

See in Handbook

Always on top of

Working in a specific application only where you need PureRef? Attach PureRef to it and it'll snap to and stay on top of it, trying to stay in sync with it, minimizing and moving together with the other application.

With the title bar enabled, simply click the always on top button and select Always on top of... (or use the keyboard shortcut) and then click the application window you want to attach PureRef to. Click the button (or keyboard shortcut) again to detach.

See in Handbook

Title bar

If you've got the space, it can be handy to have the title bar visible, and it works great with windows snapping features! It'll give you easy access to the always-on-top feature and the classic window buttons.

If you want to run PureRef in a more minimalistic manner, you can turn it completely off. Or a mix! Control the visibility in the settings and set when to show the title bar; always, only on mouseover, only when the cursor moves or never.

See in Handbook

More improvements

  • Embedded color profiles - Will be handled correctly now!
  • Search bar in settings - We've added a search bar in settings so you can quickly get to what you're looking for.
  • Cropping square - Cropping can now be manipulated via a cropping selection square, so you can fine-tune even better.
  • Command palette - We've added a command palette where you can search for and execute all available commands in PureRef.
  • Import and export settings - We've made it easier to share your custom setup with a friend, just export your settings as a file and send it!
  • Ctrl + X is now "cut" and nothing else!
  • Comment - Do you need to add some extra info about an image but it doesn't need to be visible ALL the time? Write a comment!
  • Export original file types - Expanding from just PNGs, images can now be exported as their original image type! However, if you want to export them with cropping, they will be exported as either PNG, JPG or BMP files, which can be set in the export dialog.
  • Thumbnails on Windows - You can now preview your boards before even opening them as Windows will now show a thumbnail of your scene.
  • And more: See everything that's changed in the Changelog

Beta versions

Do you want to be one the first to try out new features before they are released? Enable the beta version setting in PureRef under System > Updates > Include beta versions

Get the new version

Are you ready to try it yourself?

Download PureRef


Want to dig deeper into the new features? Check out the handbook for a comprehensive look at everything PureRef can do.

Go to handbook

Questions? Feedback?

Do you have any thoughts on the new version or maybe even ideas for upcoming versions? Discuss with others in the forums or let us know directly.

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