It's easy to grab a simple screen shot in Windows just using the Print Screen key but what extra functionality do other tools have to offer when you want to capture a still image of a screen? Is it worth paying for anything? Are there are good free tools out there?

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Hi Kristina,

If you're happy always to take a picture of the whole screen, then Print Screen is fine. But, if you just want to get a particular section of the screen, or one particular window, then you'll need additional tools.

I use two tools: Jing and Snagit.

Jing is great for quick and dirty screen shots, and 5 minutes videos. It's also free.

Snagit is what I use when I want to manipulate the images after capture. It's not as full-featured as a dedicated image editor, but is designed to help you get the most out of screen capture images. It's currently £38.95 - but there is a free trial.

I'd recommend both.

Mark

I use a freeware tool called Gimp (http://www.gimp.org/windows/) that allows capture and full manipulation and reformatting. It takes a little to get used to it and the tools, but it is very powerful. I personally prefer gimp to photoshop, but that is mainly because I am a Linux user and also Mac more than Windows. The capture option includes a delay, selected window, region or full screen, so fairly flexible. The editing tools include cropping, rotating, etc that you would expect, plus taking gif files and exporting to produce a movie or gif animation. Give it a go as it is free!!!

A simple tip that you might not be aware of....

 

As you know [PRINT SCREEN] creates an image of whatever is on your screen. However, pressing [ALT] + [PRINT SCREEN] will only create an image of the window that you are currently focused on. It also means that all your task bar items won't appear in the image. 

SNAGIT - very cheap and excellent all around tool - I use it nearly every working day, just the basic screen shot is a .png while Windows is a .BMP so straight away there is a big file size saving - so even if its just to drop in an email its still worth it - but its so easy to add a caption / arrow or effects.... get a 30 day free trial - trust me you will buy it after (£40 for single licence) - picture paints a thousand words but one with a few arrows and effects is worth a few thousand more :-)

Kristina et al.,

Microsoft Office 2010 has a screen capture and screen clipping facility in all of the main applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook). It's on the Insert tab. As I work with Office on a daily basis this has been a real time-saver as I don't need to use another piece of software and the image is put straight into where I want it.

OneNote has had this feature for a couple of versions now. OneNote 2010 has the additional functionality of being able to extract text from an image. Not perfect but goes quite a way.

 

Paul

I use Snag-It as well which is pretty cheap (£40). It lets you select specific windows very easily- highlighting the number of pixels you are selecting. It then displays them in an editor which is great for sorting and simple editing. It does video as well.
+1 for Jing. Free, simple and non-application specific.
Snagit seems to be fantastic according to a colleague I work with. You can get a free trial to see if you like it.

Another vote here for Snagit, I can't fault it, it is feature rich and really easy to use.

Windows 7 has a built in screen capture tool, called 'Snipping Tool', which allows you to take normal screenshots, or freeform (hand-drawn) screenshots, you can then email, annotate, or save the image as JPG/PNG/GIF etc.

Phil

I use a free tool called Gadwin Printscreen which you can download and use for free. It is very easy to use and you can specify how to capture your 'printscreen'. If you select 'change destination' and then 'source' you can specify to only capture a specified rectangular area with or without the mouse showing. Using this you then only capture the exact section of the screen that you want without having to crop etc. I also use Gimp for manipulation which is really easy to use.

As well as the tools that others have suggested, you might like to try the following two.

 

Irfanview www.irfanview.com It's free. One of the advantages it has over just a simple Windows screen shot is that you have an option to include or not include the mouse pointer, which is very useful when you want to use a screen shot say to illustrate instructions on selecting something from a menu. (Irfanview does more than just screenshots, but that feature is quite easy to use and well implemented.)

 

FastStone Image Viewer is another useful free program, www.faststone.org It would be good for adding labels to your screenshot image, such as an arrow and a label saying "Click here" or whatever. (The same people also do a screen capture program called FastStone Capture, but it's shareware, not free and costs $19.95. Good though. But there's no reason why you shouldn't capture what you want with IrfanView and then add labels to it with FastStone Image Viewer.)

 

I like GIMP, which someone suggested, but I wouldn't use it for this. It's a powerful program, but there would be quite a steep learning curve for the sake of one simple function.

 

Ian

I've used Jing in the past (and it was great) but now I rely on the Snipping tool that comes standard with Windows - I'm so glad someone told me it was there (just search for Snipping in the Start search box).

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