Software

Five apps for screen capture in Windows

Screenshots can show your clients exactly what you mean in a particular context. Here are five apps that act as extensions of the basic screen capture system.

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The ability to combine written words with pictures or videos helps convey the exact message you are looking to present. For instance, if you are working on a software user's guide, screenshots can show your clients exactly what you mean in a particular context. Although the Windows Snipping utility that comes bundled in Windows since Vista might qualify and work fine for your needs, you might also be looking for features like extra editing functionality and recording capabilities. Here are five apps that act as proper extensions of any basic screen capture system.

This article is also available as a TechRepublic Screenshot Gallery.

Five Apps

1. SnagIt

For those interested in a comprehensive package, SnagIt by TechSmith is one of the bigger names in screenshot and video recording apps. In addition to offering multiple modes of capture (i.e. full screen, window, region, et al), images and videos that you create are automatically saved in an organized and catalogued fashion for quick retrieval. Basic editing capabilities exist as well, allowing for quick crops, drawing lines and shapes and countless other effects. SnagIt can be acquired for $49.95.

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2. Jing

TechSmith also has a little brother to SnagIt in the form of Jing. Although much more simplified in terms of features and capabilities, the app is free to download and use. Essentially, you have most of the same image and video capture functionality with a subset of the editing tools that typically come with SnagIt. It even includes a similar control-panel "bubble" which can be dragged around for easy access to the Jing.

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3. CamStudio

If you need to create an on-screen video recording versus simple screenshots, CamStudio is a worthy candidate for the job. The user interface simply stays out of your way and you can create projects ranging from tutorial videos to product demos and distribute them as AVI or SWF format files. As a nice bonus, CamStudio offers a free lossless video codec which is also rather efficient on bitrate, while providing a quality video, devoid of artifacts and chunking.

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4. TinyTake

Combining an elegant user interface with the ability to quickly push screenshots and video recordings to the cloud seems to be the forte of MangoApps, creator of Tiny Take. I find TinyTake to be similar to SnagIt in its image editing and annotation tools, all with a price tag of $0. The only minor annoyance I've noticed is that, in order to properly use TinyTake, you need to create an account using a "business" email account, ala no personal Gmail, Live or Yahoo! email. Fortunately, I was able to mitigate this concern, using another personal email address that is attached to a custom domain name.

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5. Greenshot

For the open source enthusiasts out there, you haven't been forgotten either. Greenshot is a screenshot utility for Windows provided under the GPL. It takes images and handles edits with aplomb. There are also plugins that offer integration with Atlassian's JIRA and Confluence, making quick snaps and uploads to a wiki page painless.

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About

An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

26 comments
Rosagreen
Rosagreen

I used to utilize Snagit which I think is really powerful and professional. But last month, I happened to know a great Snagit alternative which is free and also robust. It provides all the functions (screenshot, annotate, upload and share) I need from Snagit. http://screenshot.net/free-snagit-alternative.html

AlGruber
AlGruber

I think I bought snagit 10 years ago and was very happy until I upgraded last year. Unfortunately, they've made the program much more complicated while their documentation standards go back to when they had a simple product that needed little or no explanation.

I then switched to FastStone. Easier to remember between uses and it works well. 

rbergmancf
rbergmancf

Irfanview Ctrl F11 works for me.

Coss71
Coss71

I've been using PrintKey2000 for years.  Runs on all versions of Windows desktop and server.  It's got a few tricks (mostly with the printer) and it's free.  I have no complaints about it at all.

eneimi
eneimi

Ashampoo Snap does a great job for me.

eddiehw
eddiehw

I have personally used PrintKey-Pro from WareCentral.com for several years now and am quite satisfied. I started with the free 30 day trial but very quickly sent $29.95 for the full license. Like many of the products spotlighted here, it is able to do active window, whole screen, custom crops with auto scrolling to include parts of a window beyond the visible display edges.

PrintKey-Pro also boasts sophisticated editing tools to enhance or otherwise edit captures. Captures can be saved as image files, placed on the clipboard or sent direct to a printer.

From the other comments it seems there may be many winners in this utility category!

tamm.robin
tamm.robin

I use FullShot and love it. I create end-user guides and really like the jagged edge feature. I also sometimes need to capture more than what fits on the screen, and love the FullShot Document Capture for that.

georgehayes
georgehayes

I've been using PicPick for years.  I use the FREE personal version (you can buy licenses for commercial use).  I've not used Snag-It but PicPick has every feature mentioned in this article.  PicPick can take screenshots of the entire screen, an active window, specific region, free hand; dual monitors and sound effect supported; customize keyboard shortcuts (I use “Print Screen” for all cpatures); output to File, Printer, Office programs and External programs; FTP, Web, E-mail, Facebook and Twitter...it also can capture right click menus!  ...AND I don't have to spend $50!!!

mikelbarrett
mikelbarrett

I paid for Jing and their publisher stopped supporting it and discontinued it last February. TechSmith want's everybody to go to Snagit. Suprised the author has Jing in his  list. He must have just woke up after a year long nap

aandruli
aandruli

I like HoverSnap. It's inobtrusive. It's like the Snipping Tool with more options.

jeb.hoge
jeb.hoge

I've been using SnagIt for years for business and I absolutely love it. Great interface, very flexible, and since I'm not the one paying for it, totally worth the price.

jnawrocki
jnawrocki

Over the years, PrintScrn and Paint have served me well.

GazSkeltz
GazSkeltz

Wisdom-Soft ScreenHunter if free to use (or can pay for hugely advanced stuff) and does capture right click menus (mostly - depending on the app)

bud_dude
bud_dude

My go to standard has been FastStone Capture for years - never heard of Windows snipping tool before and it seems to work quite well too...

drbayer
drbayer

Skitch is another free option. It's cross-platform and integrates with Evernote.

techRepublic
techRepublic

Windows has had screencapture integrated for a long time now, strange you don't mention that. The 'Snipping Tool' in Windows Accessories not only has the normal rectangular/window/full screen options for capture, but also a 'freeform' for capturing odd shapes and can save in html as well as the png/gif/jpeg formats.

elimarcus
elimarcus

I have been using the freeware version of Gadwin PrintScreen (http://www.gadwin.com/) for at least 7 years, on WinXP, Vista, Win7, and have never had a problem with it grabbing too many resources or crashing or freezing, it has always worked great for me - and is very versatile and configurable - 

As a professional Technical Writer, I have used many different such applications over the years, and have found this one to be the best all around.

timheslop
timheslop

I use ScreenShot Captor from Domain Coders - just superb

Includes cursor capture and options to capture every conceivable variation of menu, tooltip etc

dogknees
dogknees

Which of these will let me capture right-click menus and tooltips? These tend to be the problems when writing procedures and manuals.

BigTex79
BigTex79

I use Greenshot for screen capture and CamStudio for video capture.  I'm a network engineer for an IT outsourcing company, I can't tell you the many times that I have used CamStudio to capture an issue that is going on and send it to a vendor for t/s purposes.  Greenshot is the best, you can upload your screen captures to multiple places including DropBox.  The only plugin I'm waiting for is for the developer to make a plug in for Box.com then it will be perfect.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

What tools do you use for screen and video capture?

Hobed
Hobed

@mikelbarrett 

Actually, the free version of Jing is still available.  At one point, TechSmith sold a "pro" version of Jing, that provided additional storage.  They stopped supporting that in February 2012, and took it offline a year later in February 2013.  The free version of Jing, however, was not affected by this move.

I assume that if you need more storage, you are supposed to upgrade to Snagit.



Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

@techRepublic Hello!

I actually did mention the Snipping Tool in passing within my opening paragraph. However, I wanted to focus this piece on 3rd party utilities only.

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