Version: 2.0


Learn which tools are available and how to best utilize them across all your projects.

Always on top

Mode > Always on top

#pin #above #front #over

When enabled, the PureRef window will always stay on top of all other windows. Great for saving screen space!

On Windows, this mode can also be disabled by clicking the small context button by hovering the PureRef icon in the taskbar.


Try Always on top together with Transparent to mouse!

Always on top of...

Mode > Always on top of...

#pin #above #front #over

Enable to make PureRef show on top of a single application of your choice.

Enable, then click a window of the application to attach PureRef to.

On Windows, this mode can also be disabled by clicking the small context button by hovering the PureRef icon in the taskbar.

GIF playback


Select one or multiple GIFs to make the playback toolbar appear. It can be used to play/pause the GIFs, see the frame timeline and scrub back and forth, increase or decrease playback speed and frame step forward and backwards.

Many of these actions can be set to shortcuts in the keyboard shortcuts settings.

Through the frame timeline view, individual frames of the GIF can be copied via the copy shortcut or drag & dropped onto the canvas to create a separate image item for that single frame.



#paint #sketch #markup #highlighting

Draw simple lines with a pen tool.

After entering draw mode the draw toolbar will become visible with options for line color and thickness. It can also be used to switch to the eraser tool to remove drawn lines.

With the pen tool selected, hold Shift/ to draw horizontal/vertical straight lines.

Drawing a line will create a new drawing which will be parented to the currently selected item. Every time draw mode is toggled off and on with the shortcut a new drawing will be created. To edit an existing drawing, double click a drawn line or the drawing in the Hierarchy to enter draw mode for that drawing.

Exit draw mode by toggling the shortcut, pressing escape, or pressing the close button in the toolbar.

Always on bottom

Mode > Always on bottom

#behind #below #under

When enabled, the PureRef window will stay below every other window.


Maximize the window and use PureRef like an interactable wallpaper.

Lock window

Window > Lock window


Lock the PureRef window in place so it cannot be accidentally moved.

Transparent to mouse

Mode > Transparent to mouse

#invisible #click-through #trace

Click through PureRef, for tracing or matching pixel perfect designs. To exit this mode, make sure PureRef has focus by clicking on it in the taskbar/dock before using the shortcut.

On Windows, this mode can be disabled by clicking the small context button by hovering the PureRef icon in the taskbar.


Set the shortcut to system global to always be able to enable/disable this mode.


• Disable mouse transparency on activate - Automatically disable mouse transparency when the PureRef window is activated.

Overlay mode

Mode > Overlay selection


Every image will get an individual window and can be moved around separately. The background will be gone and the images will float on their own.

On Windows, this mode can be disabled by clicking the small context button by hovering the PureRef icon in the taskbar.



#text #tool #annotation #comment

Create a note for writing text. Move, rotate and resize like images.

Double click a note to enter text editing mode.

PureRef 2.0+ supports rich text in notes. Use the toolbar to edit font settings, text alignment, or add clickable links and checklists.

By default, notes automatically resize to fit the width of the text in the note. While in text editing mode the gizmo can be used to manually change the size of the note instead of auto-sizing to the text. If the size is changed the text in the note will automatically wrap to fit inside the new size, expanding downwards when there's too little space available. To go back to automatically set the size, use the "Auto size" button in the toolbar.

Attach/parent note to image/note

Paste or create a new note while another image or note is already selected to parent it to the selected image. Or use the Hierarchy to change the parent by drag and dropping the note.


Add a text note as the title of a group of images to categorize them.


The links feature supports local file paths and will browse to the linked file if it exists when clicked. Additionally, linked .pur files will be automatically loaded on click.


Text formatting can be copied and pasted using CtrlAltC/C & CtrlAltV/V


• Select all text on note edit - Set whether double clicking on a note selects all text or only enters edit mode.


Images > Selection > Group/Ungroup

#folder #section #background #backdrop

Groups can be used to organize multiple images giving them a customizable background that can be easily selected and transformed as a single unit.

Compared to organizing items hierarchically in the Hierarchy to achieve the same single unit transform result, groups have some special features where slideshow and pack functions will function on the content of the group, if only the group is selected.

Create a group with the keyboard shortcut and add items to it by drag dropping them into it. To remove items from a group, select the items and use the Ungroup shortcut.

Groups will automatically adjust their size to its content and empty groups will be automatically deleted.

By default, new groups are created in "locked" mode, where selecting an item inside the group will instead select the group itself. To select items inside locked groups, double click the item to enter that group. While a locked group has a child item selected, the selection rectangle can be used to select multiple items in a group by starting the select drag on the parent groups background or using the continuous select shortcut.

Use the group toolbar to toggle locked mode on or off. If toggled off, groups will behave like any other items when selecting where clicking a child item will directly select it.


Images > Selection > Group


Group the selected items.


Images > Selection > Ungroup


Ungroup the selected items.


Add a text note as the title of a group of images to categorize them.


Lock a group with the Toggle locked function to have it function as a backdrop that can't be selected.




Show all items in the scene in a tree view.

Drag & drop items to change the order and parent/child relationships.

The order of items are used by Arrange by order, Focus next/previous and Export images.

The parent/child relationships indicate transform relations, for example if a parent item is moved, all its children also move. Children are also always drawn above their parents.

To rename an item either select it and press F2 or single click the item 2 times.

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.

If an item is not selectable in the scene, for example if it has been locked, it can still be selected in the hierarchy and then be transformed in the scene until deselected.

An items status will show as small icons, for example if the image is linked, locked or has a comment. Some info about the item can also be seen in its tooltip, such as image source and size.


Images > Selection > Slideshow


Focus on an image in the selection for 10s (by default, can be changed in settings) before automatically moving to the next in line.

After enabling slideshow use the slideshow toolbar in the lower right corner of PureRef to play/pause or manually step between the images in the slideshow.

Manually navigating in the scene while a slideshow is playing will pause the slideshow. Use the shortcut or the play button in the toolbar to resume playback.


• Slideshow time interval - Adjust how long every image is shown in a slideshow, in seconds.

• Randomize slideshow order - Randomize the order of which images are shown after another in a slideshow.

• Slideshow UI fade mode - Set whether the whole slideshow UI fades out or leaves the timer visible.


Control the order of the slideshow by ordering the images in the Hierarchy.


Canvas > Grayscale

#greyscale #monochrome #desaturate #black & white

Turn everything on the canvas into grayscale.

Grayscale per image

Images > Selection > Toggle grayscale


Make the selected images grayscale.

Toggle bilinear sampling

Images > Selection > Toggle bilinear sampling


Switch pixel interpolation of selected images between nearest neighbor and bilinear filtering. Useful for displaying pixel art.


Great for pixel art!A happy pixel art shiba inu dog.


• Default image sampling - Set the default image sampling for newly added images.

Bilinear blends pixels for a smoother look but will look blurry when zoomed in.

Nearest neighbor renders pixels as they are which can be useful for pixel art.

This can be changed per image with the 'Toggle bilinear sampling' action.

Show color code

#eyedropper #colorpicker #picker
Left mouse button S/Left mouse button S

Press and hold down the shortcut buttons anywhere in the PureRef window to pick the color. RGB, HSV and HEX values will be shown in the info window and can be copied. When picking colors from an image inside PureRef the image's opacity will be ignored.


Pick a color outside of PureRef by starting the color picking inside the window and then moving the cursor outside while still holding the buttons down. This trick works in many other creative applications too!

Show image coordinates

Left mouse button D/Left mouse button D

Get info about the X and Y pixel coordinates in an image. 0, 0 is in the top left corner.

Shows image info like name, origin, source, size and size of selection.

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