Hardware

Review: MWSnap 3.0.0.74 screen capture

MWSnap is ideal for those looking for a simple one-stop solution for capturing and saving screenshots.

The last version was released in 2002 but MWSnap is still is a useful tool for capturing screenshots in Windows.

Specifications:

  • Developer: Mirosław (Mirek) Wójtowicz
  • File size: 643KB
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Requirements: None
  • Operating systems: Windows - All 32 bit or 64 bit
  • Price: Free
  • More Info: CNET editor's review and download
  • TechRepublic Photo Gallery

Who's it for?

If you are doing any documenting at all you will inevitably need to capture screenshots. MWSnap is ideal for those looking for a simple one-stop solution for capturing and saving screenshots. MWSnap is not for those looking for a lot of built-in editing capabilities.

What problem does it solve?

There are three problems with the Windows Print Screen feature that MWSnap solves:

  • Adds a mouse pointer to a screen capture
  • Captures only menus and parts of a window
  • Captures stacked windows without editing

Standout features

  • Ease of use: MWSnap is very easy to use as soon as you learn the hot-keys for a screen capture.
  • Five snap modes: Capture the following screenshots:
    • Fixed-size rectangle
    • Any rectangular area
    • Window/menu/panes
    • Full desktop
    • Repeat last capture
  • Four built-in tools: The following tools are available
    • Ruler
    • Zoom
    • Color picker
    • Window info
  • Hot-keys can be reassigned: The five snap modes and four tools are all accessible via hot-keys and can be reassigned to [Ctrl], [Alt], [Shift] and/or the function keys [F1]: [F12], the letters A-Z and the numbers 0-9. Each can also be deactivated.
  • Add a mouse pointer: Very few free screen capture apps capture the mouse pointer. MWSnap doesn't either but you can manually add one.
  • Choose from multiple mouse pointers: 20 different mouse pointers to choose from.
  • Capture stacked windows: Capture a window sitting on top of another window as long as the top window sits inside the edges of the underlying window.
  • Auto-minimize: Initiating a capture automatically minimizes the MWSnap window. The window will reappear after the capture is complete. This behavior can be modified by unchecking the Tools |Settings | Snapping tab | Hide MWSnap before snapping check box. This is handy if you are writing a review about MWSnap and want to capture the MWSnap window or if you find this behavior annoying.
  • Save screenshots: Save the screen capture to a file without opening an image editor like Paint.
  • Auto-save: Disabled by default, this feature can be turned on to automatically save the captured image to the default location using the user selectable file naming format.
  • Editing: There are three editing capabilities:
    • Transform: Flip vertically, flip horizontally, rotate left or rotate right
    • Add frame: Add a simple, shaded or buttonized frame
    • Add cursor: Choose from 20 different mouse pointers
  • Five image formats supported: Save screen captures as:
    • Bitmap .bmp
    • JPEG .jpg
    • GIF .gif
    • PNG .png
    • TIFF .tif
  • Clipboard: Captured images can be automatically copied to the clipboard. This is convenient if you need to copy the captured image into another app, for example, into a Word document or an image editor. Note: The Tools | Settings | Snapping tab | Auto copy snapped image to the clipboard option must be selected.
  • Image Viewer: Doubles as an image viewer to quickly review your saved screenshots.
  • No installation required: Simply download the ZIP file, unpack and run the MWSnap.exe file. Pin this program to the taskbar or create a desktop shortcut for quick access.
  • Load on startup: Can be optionally configured to run at Windows startup.
  • Configurable: There are a number of options for how MWSnap looks and works. Please view the Image Gallery [Add hyperlink] for details.
  • Support for multiple languages: 18 different languages are supported.
  • Small size: No bloatware here.
  • Help: An online forum is available but hasn't been active since 2006. An excellent help file is included.
  • Freeware: Free for both personal and business use.

What's wrong?

  • Mouse pointer not automatically captured: But a mouse pointer can be manually added in just a few seconds.
  • Impossible cursor location: Because you select and add the mouse pointer manually you can put the wrong one where it could never exist. It is your responsibility to put the right mouse pointer in the right place.
  • No support for multiple monitors: Capture screenshots from a single monitor set-up only.
  • Limited editing: You will need to use an image editor to add text or perform other editing tasks not listed in Standout features, above.
  • No longer supported: Version 3.0.0.74 is likely the last.
  • Limited online support: Other than an online forum there is no detailed online support available.
  • Help file: Help does not work when downloading, extracting the ZIP file and running MWSnap.exe. Workaround: Download and run the MWSnap300.exe file.

Competitive products

There are a lot of screen capture applications available but not all have the ability to capture the mouse pointer or include other features available in MWSnap.

Free

Commercial: fee based

Bottom line for business

It's a pleasant surprise when you run across an application that has been around for a long time that you find to be the perfect solution for your needs. If you are looking for a simple, no nonsense way to improve your documentation with screenshots that include a mouse pointer, give MWSnap a try.

User rating

Have you encountered or used MWSnap? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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Author's Note

While writing the Comodo Internet Security 4.0 Product Spotlight I decided that you, the patient reader, deserved better. I was using Windows Print Screen to capture screenshots and I wanted to include the mouse pointer in the captured images. I tried several free screen capture utilities but wasn't satisfied until I found MWSnap. I want to thank the developer Mirek Wójtowicz for making my job a little bit easier and my screenshots a little more helpful and realistic.

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About

Alan Norton began using PCs in 1981, when they were called microcomputers. He has worked at companies like Hughes Aircraft and CSC, where he developed client/server-based applications. Alan is currently semi-retired and starting a new career as a wri...

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