Wiki Life: Screen Capture Tools


screencapture01For this Wiki Life article, I thought I would continue my look at some of the tools I use to assemble my TechNet Wiki submissions and Wiki Ninja blog posts. So far, I have examined tools that help with image compression, grammar, and authoring.

For today’s post, I thought I would look at screen capture tools for Windows that can take screenshots to help illustrate your articles. We will look at SnagIt and the Windows Snipping Tool as well as a few other popular ones available for use.

SnagIt (Free Trial; $50)

One the benefits of being a Microsoft MVP is that you get access to lots of free tools. One of the best suites of products is from TechSmith, the makers of SnagIt and Camtasia. SnagIt is the pre-eminent screen capture tool on the market. The SnagIt tool allows you to grab regions of the screen or you can capture the whole page via the vertical scrolling area. You can also record screencast videos suitable for posting to YouTube. (See this link for a 15-day free trial.)

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Once the image is taken, the Snagit Editor provides all the image editing tools one would expect in a normal photo editor. You can resize, crop, and rotate images. However, the power of Snagit Editor comes to the fore with its tools suite. You can cut out portions of a picture to stitch two sections together. You can also annotate an image with callouts, arrows, boxes and highlights. I feel these features make SnagIt an absolute necessity for bloggers.

Windows Snipping Tool (Free with Windows OS)

The Windows Snipping Tool is a free screenshot utility that is embedded into the latest versions of most Microsoft Windows operating systems. You can use the tool to take screenshots of the entire screen or you can focus on smaller sections of the display. Within Windows 10, a new Delay function allows for timed screen captures.

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To modify the image, the Snipping Tool has basic image editing with different coloured pens, an eraser, and a highlighter included. To add colour boxes to a screenshot, the image needs to be saved to the computer and then opened in Paint (also included in most versions of the Windows OS) for final editing. This two-step process puts the Snipping Tool at a disadvantage to SnagIt.

Other Tools

There are plenty of other tools that also function well when performing screen captures. Jing, also by the makers of SnagIt, allows you to grab screenshots and to add basic visual elements. This free tool can also be used it for video screen capture but it has a five-minute limit imposed.

Other popular tools include PicPick, Greenshot, FastStone Capture, and LightShot.

Summary

So, to recap, I use SnagIt to capture images for both my TechNet Wiki articles and Wiki Ninjas blog posts. I like that I can use one tool for both capture and editing, and that I can draw any element onto the screenshot.

Now let’s hear from you! Which tool do you use to for your screen captures? Leave a comment below to let me know.

by Ken Cenerelli (TwitterBlogMSDN ProfileMVP Profile)

Comments (11)

  1. Cian Allner says:

    Greenshot, which you mentioned, is a really good no-cost alternative to SnagIt that’s well maintained and that has all the essential features. It now has a Mac version as well. I tried Snagit but Greenshot did enough that it was good option.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Ken!!

    1. Thanks, Kazzan for mentioning Snip. I have never heard of it. Love it that it is another Microsoft product though.

      1. There is also OneNote. 🙂

  3. Chervine says:

    Thanks Ken!
    I’m using Greenshot – Easy & Efficient, I recommend it!

    1. Interesting. We’ll check it out. Thanks, Chervine!

  4. Thanks, Cian and Chervine for your insight on Greenshot. I will recommend it the next time someone asks about a free screenshot tool.

  5. Ken, this is a great blog post. I love how you get into the details on tools like this!

    1. Thanks, Ed. I think discussing these tools is important. It helps both new and longtime Wiki members. I plan to do a few more in future.

  6. H Shakir says:

    i am using this, its really amazing and great tool to make step by step and SOPs.

    1. Great – thanks for sharing!

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