When you need to explain a problem that you are having in a better way, or when you are looking to make a thorough step-by-step user guide, being able to take good screenshots and desktop capture videos is often the key to getting the right message across without confusing anyone else further. Many of us stick to the standard "Print Screen" and paste into Paint action, as it gets the job done sufficiently well. But what if you are tired of doing custom and precise cropping or perhaps you want to add some additional clarification to screen shots, such as arrows pointing to objects and circles highlighting areas? TechSmith has a feature-rich screen image capture product that actually might be worth considering, if you have a bit of money to burn, called Snagit.
The main window for Snagit
- Title: Snagit
- Company: TechSmith Corp.
- Product URL: http://www.techsmith.com/Snagit.html
- Supported OS: Windows XP, Vista and 7
- Price: $49.99
- Rating: 3 out of 5
- Bottom Line: For screen-capture work, this product does do the job well, with nifty tricks to boot. But for the asking price, you'd be hard-pressed to find alternatives that are either much cheaper or entirely free.
Upon first glance at the Snagit main window, there is a dizzying array of options to choose from. Whether you need a few screenshots done or want to go the full blown video screencast route, Snagit has you covered. You can assign hotkeys on your keyboard to various functions of the software, which will make on-the-fly screenshot jobs quick and easy.
What I found pretty neat about Snagit was the ability to dynamically select items (or parts of items) on the screen with your yellow selector, simply by hovering. You can also select an irregular piece of the screen simply by clicking and dragging the desired area before letting go of the mouse. Once an action has been taken, you are then presented with a window containing the final output, which you can then manipulate to your heart's content, adding symbols, shapes and other effects.
The yellow selector in capture mode is nice for picking out screen elements individually
Snagit also has an extension called OneClick which is able to run in the background and hide into any edge of your screen. This will place a menu in the location of your choosing that contains essential functions for screen-capture work. This menu is designed to automatically hide to the edge of the screen and you can bring it back up simply by moving your mouse cursor to the part of the screen with the hotspot. This is convenient in that Snagit will not get in the way of your work, but whenever you need to take advantage of the software, you can bring the menu forward with ease.
Yes, Snagit can do video recordings of your desktop too!
Although Snagit is a feature-rich application which seems to work nicely for both screenshots and video capture, the $49.99 price tag seems a bit much for what this product can do. With a bit of Google searching, free alternatives such as HyperCam for video and Greenshot for images are around and perfectly capable of performing the same functions as Snagit. They might not handle the tasks with as much finesse as Snagit, but unless you can get this app expensed at your workplace as a productivity enhancer, the slightly better integration and uniformity isn't really worth nearly half a Benjamin in my estimation.
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 Customer Success Professional for Ultimate Software in Santa Ana, California.