Everyone needs to take screenshots from time to time. Whether you want to grab a shot of an error message, want to copy an image from a web site, or want to record a high score in your favorite game, it’s handy to be able to capture what is displayed on your screen.
For basic screen grabbing, you need look no further than the PrtScr key on your keyboard, but if you want more control over the capturing process, you should take a look at PicPick, a powerful free tool that includes a huge number of capturing options as well as a built in image editor.
Pay a visit to the PicPick web site at www.picpick.org, hover over the Download button in the navigation bar at the top of the page and select Home Freeware from the menu that appears. Click the Download Installation Package (from NTeWORKS) link and save the file to the desktop by click the link at the top of the page.
Run through the installation, taking care to select the Custom Installation option and deselecting the AVG options unless you want a browser toolbar to be installed alongside the program. With the installation complete, launch PicPick from the Start menu.
When the program loads, you will be taken to the About screen and while you’re here you should check that the boxes labelled Run Program at Startup and Check for program updates are ticked.
Click the Hot Keys button in the left hand navigation bar and you can set up the keyboard shortcuts that you would like to use for different types of image capture. You can configure a wide range of shortcuts so you can capture the entire desktop, the current window, capture a selectable portion of the screen and much more, all with a simple key press.
Move to the Capture section of the Program Options screen and you can use the drop down menu to choose the default action that should be performed after a screen capture is made. You may want to open the image up in the editor, automatically upload it to Facebook or your FTP server, or just save it.
Naming and Saving Options
Click the File Name link to the left and you can choose how files should be automatically named – you can use various parameters to add the date, time, image number and much more to a file name. Use the bottom portion of the dialog the choose the file format you’d like to use for your images.
If you are going down the auto-save route, click the Auto Save link to the left. Tick the Automatically Save Image box and then indicate where you would like to save images. With this option selected, no matter what you have chosen to do with your images, a copy will always be saved in your designated folder.
Automatically uploading images via FTP is a great way to make them available online. If you intend to do this, lick the left hand FTP link and enter the URL of the service you’re going to be using along with the username and password. You can also opt to automatically open the image online one it has been uploaded and to copy the URL to the clipboard ready for pasting into an email or social network post.
You’ve now configured the default options for the program, but you can change them for individual captures at any time. Rather than having to work through the options screen again, just right click the program icon in the notification area of the task bar and select the options you would like to use from the Screen Capture sub-menu.
With your options chosen, click the OK button and you’re ready to start capturing.
Most of the different image capture modes are fairly self-explanatory and easy to use, and if you switch to region capturing, a hand magnifier is displayed to make it easier to make pixel-perfect selections.
The image editor that loads after capturing an image is fairly basic – it is no Photoshop clone – but it does include everything you need to perform everyday tasks such as rotating, resizing, framing and annotating.
The File menu in the editor can be used to save your image once you have finished tinkering with it, and you’ll also find option to share via email, Facebook and Twitter. In both this menu and the right click menu of the notification area icon, you can access additional tools such as a color picker, a ruler, and much more.
For many people, screen capturing is something that needs to be carried out on a daily basis, but even if it is something you only do from time to time, it makes sense to have the most capable tool in your software toolkit.
PicPick could just be that tool, and even if you’ve tried countless other screen capture tools, this is one that is worthy of your attention.