For years, TechSmith's SnagIt has been one of the best screen-capture programs available, and with the release of version 6.1, TechSmith has continued this trend. But is this latest release an essential upgrade for current SnagIt users? After trying out the latest version, I decided that SnagIt 6.1's handiest new features are print capture and Web page output. Read my review and then decide for yourself whether these new features make SnagIt 6.1 worth the upgrade.
Print capture adds preview functionality to any program
Although print preview is standard on most mainstream office productivity applications, some programs still lack this paper-saving feature. Enter SnagIt 6.1's virtual printer.
Before you can use this feature, you must select a default printer (either network or local). Then install SnagIt 6.1, and the SnagIt virtual printer will appear as a printer option (Figure A). I had to select the Print To File check box to get this feature to work on my test network machine, but SnagIt documentation doesn't mention this step.
|The SnagIt virtual printer shows up as an option in any program.|
After clicking the Print button, you'll see a preview of the printing image. From there, you can send the image to the actual printer or open it in SnagIt Studio where you can modify the image, e-mail it as an attachment, or save it to a file.
Using the print capture feature, you can improve readability, add borders or watermarks, add a time and date stamp, or annotate the contents before printing. And best of all, you don't have to run SnagIt to use the print capture feature.
Web page output
SnagIt's long list of output options has always been a great strength, and version 6.1 adds the Web page output to this list. Although earlier versions allowed you to FTP your SnagIt output directly to a Web server or other network location, version 6.1 actually creates a Web page that can be viewed from any Internet browser.
Why would you want to do this? Let's say you wanted to put pictures of all the support staff on the intranet so that their fellow employees would recognize them. First, you would use SnagIt Studio to add names to the images. Then you would put the photos in the directory associated with the Catalog Browser you set in the Output properties (Figure B).
|The Catalog Browser is set to look in the My Pictures directory.|
When you click the Catalog button in the left navigation pane in SnagIt, you will see the pictures of the support staff (Figure C).
|The Catalog shows thumbnails of the pictures in the directory.|
Under the Tools menu in the Catalog Browser window is the Create Web Page option. This is actually a wizard that steps the user through naming the Web page, setting up the page's appearance, locating the image files, and telling the program where to put the Web page.
The result of going through the wizard—in the case of the support staff photos—would be a Web page with thumbnail photos. When you click the thumbnail photos from a Web browser window, the images enlarge.
But thumbnails aren't the only type of Web output. SnagIt 6.1 allows you to create seven Web page formats including various table types and slideshows. The slideshow feature could easily be used as a tutorial to show users how a particular process or program is supposed to work. You could place such a slideshow on your help desk's intranet Web page and cut down on support calls for a new program.
Make SnagIt part of your documentation toolkit
So is SnagIt 6.1 worth downloading? Well, it depends. If you're not currently using SnagIt and you need a quick, easy-to-use screen capture program, SnagIt 6.1 is the perfect solution. Besides the two features outlined in this article, SnagIt 6.1 can now capture multiple regions, capture irregular or fixed regions, add text annotations and captions to images, and delay or schedule captures.
Current SnagIt users should ask themselves if the new features make upgrading worth the price. If you recently purchased SnagIt and are entitled to a free upgrade, you might want to go ahead. But if you're satisfied with your older version of SnagIt, you can probably pass on version 6.1.
You can download a copy of SnagIt 6.1 free for trial from TechSmith's Web site, or you can purchase SnagIt for $39.95. Ten copies of SnagIt cost $200, and site licenses are also available.