I found out my default screen capture tool was broken the other day, leaving me to research why I was getting black blobs instead of captured images. In the process I came across a handful of other screenshot tools, some of which I had yet to try out. It never hurts to have a plan B when something breaks down. And sometimes the best thing to do is simply replace what’s broken with something else that’s shiny and new! Below are some of the more useful screen shot tools I came across, for both Windows and Mac users.
Windows Screenshot Tools
Windows Snipping Tool – The Windows Snipping Tool comes as a standard option for Windows 7 and Windows Vista users (not compatible with Windows XP), but it is a far cry from the old Print Screen key used in conjunction with Windows Paint of which many are accustomed. Different options allow you to capture an entire page, selected areas of the page, or individual windows. A pop-up box with additional options include the ability to include the URL, save captured images, and display an icon in the Quick Launch toolbar. Some editing features allow you to add or highlight text from your screen capture, which is particularly important for those that want to emphasize a contextual aspect of the image grabbed. The best part about the improved Windows snipping tool is that it removes the need to open multiple programs in order to paste and edit a screen shot.
Snagit – Priced at $50 this Windows-only screen capture tool (Snagit for Mac still in development) may seem to be priced a little high but they do offer a free trial version so you can test it beforehand. Depending on your needs, Snagit could very well be a great investment for you. The Snagit tool captures both screen images and video frames giving you a multifaceted approach to obtaining the content you need. Additionally, Snagit has a great set of editing tools, giving you a wealth of options for modifying and preparing your captured data for whatever purpose you need. Another useful aspect of Snagit is the profile system, which tracks a decent history of your data-capturing activity. This comes in handy when you need to go back to some data you’ve clipped, with filtered search, tags and time-date stamps. A Firefox extension is also available for Snagit.
Window Clippings – For x86 and x64 editions of Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows Server. This high quality screen capture utility is a step above the other Windows based screen capture applications offering lots of extras like sending images directly to Paint.NET, automatic cropping, send images to OneNote, send images to an FTP server, automatically adding watermarks, and much more. Window Clippings is free to try and a single license costs only $18. The license permits you to install Window Clippings on all of your computers for your own personal use.
Mac Screen Capture Tools
(Shift + Apple key + 3 or 4) – This key combo is the Apple keyboard shortcut that every Mac user should know. It’s easy and quick. Shift + Apple + 3 takes a screenshot of your entire screen where as Shift + Apple 4 allows you to select the portion of the screen you wish to capture. Both options save your image to the desktop. The largest benefit to this is the fact that the image is not copied to your clipboard, giving you more room to multitask. You can simply grab the image and know it’s being kept safe on your computer, ready to emerge when you need to access it again. There are no editing features, however, which means that you will still need to determine which program is best to modify the image you captured with your keyboard shortcut. Keep on reading if you’re in need of a more advanced screen capture tool for the Mac.
Skitch – A free tool for Mac users, and it does a little bit more than just grab your screen capture and save it for you. There are also editing and annotation tools for modifying your image. Select colors for annotation, highlight the portion of the screen you are referencing, and add your two cents with a comment. This screen capture tool also has a social side, saving a history of your activity on its site as well as additional saving options. Again, having an account tied to your image-capture service combines bookmarking with screen grabs. This is handy for site users that bookmark primarily, and appreciate the need for future search and access.
Screen Capture Tools For PCs & Macs
Jing – Gives you a good amount of functionality for a free screen capture service for both Windows OS and Mac OS computer systems. Beyond the basic options of grabbing an image and copying or saving it, Jing has a social sharing focus that lets you spread your content across the web. Set Jing up to run with your YouTube and Flickr account. If you want to share Jing-grabbed content with YouTube, you will need to make it into a video first. As Jing registration also gives you a Screencast account, you can use the Screencast tool to create a video from multiple images you have grabbed. Jing also has a pro account, which costs $15 a year and gets rid of the Jing branding that appears on your captured and shared content.
ScreenGrab – A Windows and Mac friendly Firefox add-on that works by saving or copying your captured image. Once installed, simply right-click on the webpage you would like to capture. Save or copy the page, and it is either copied or tucked away for later use. For both saving or copying, ScreenGrab gives you the ability to capture the entire webpage, the visible portion of the webpage, or just a selected segment. As a Firefox add-on, ScreenGrab is limited to use only while having your Firefox browser open. For many users in need of a screen capture tool, this will address their basic needs. Bookmarking to an associated user account isn’t part of ScreenGrab’s feature set, but it’s free and it expands a bit on the limited aspects of Apple’s default screen capture option.
Talon – A Firefox add-on created by Aviary, the company that hosts a suite of free online collaborative image and audio editing applications. After installing Talon, a button will be positioned at the of your browser toolbar. To capture a screenshot, click the button and use your mouse to select the region you want to capture in your Firefox browser. You can refine the region by resizing it before you capture the image. When you click on the save button, you’re presented with 4 options: 1) save the image directly to your desktop, 2) import it on the fly to Aviary’s online image markup application called Falcon, 3) host the image at Aviary.com, or 4) copy the image to your clipboard.If you liked this article, please take this time to share it with your Facebook friends using the Facebook button (see Facebook post button to the left) or retweet it using Twitter (see retweet button to the left). You may also want to follow us or subscribe to the site to stay up-to-date with this article. If you'd rather follow us from your Facebook account, join our Facebook fan page or subscribe to our NetworkedBlogs profile.
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