Screen capturing is not something that every computer user needs to do, but for others it is absolutely essential. Writing about software for AppStorm means that it’s something I need to do on a daily basis, and there are a multitude of apps available for anyone in my position.
Windows’ Sniping Tool is available to users of Windows 7 and 8, but it is very basic and I for one have found that the commercial program Snagit is amazingly versatile. But Greenshot is a free alternative which just goes to show there is no need to spend money on a screen capture tool.
Screen capturing is about so much more than just copying an image of the desktop on the clipboard ready to paste into an image editing program. This is demonstrated perfectly from the moment you start the installation of Greenshot. You are invited to install any of a number of plugins that extend the capabilities of the program and enable you to do more with the images you capture.
It may be the case that you are happy to capture a screenshot and leave it on your hard drive, but you may want to make use of it online. To help make things easier in this department, there are plugins that enable you to automatically upload your captures to the likes of Dropbox and Picasa.
Screen Capture in Action
At its most basic, a screen capture tool needs to make it possible to save what is visible on screen as an image. But this is unlikely to be enough for most people, and more flexibility is usually needed. Greenshot takes over the regular Prt Scr key so there’s no need to learn a new shortcut for basic capturing, but there are other shortcuts that can be customized.
In addition to the standard fullscreen and window capture, you can also use manual region selection – in fact this is the default action when you hit Prt Scr – as well a repeating the capture of the last used region.
There’s also a handy option for grabbing web pages in their entirety, eliminating the need to manually scroll and take multiple screenshots. Sadly, this is an option that can only be used in Internet Explorer but it is handy to have available nonetheless.
Working With Captures
Once a screenshot has been captured, there are various things you can do with it. What you do with an image will depend entirely on what you are looking to use it for. To keep things simple you may opt to automatically save your screenshots to a particular folder – you can opt to have files automatically named based on date and time.
But in most cases you’ll want to do something with your captures, even if it is nothing more than resizing or cropping. There is a built in image editor that you can work with, but you can also copy captures to the clipboard ready for pasting into your favorite image editor, or you can have them sent directly from Greenshot to the program of your choice.
While nothing extraordinary, the built in editor is perfectly serviceable, offering everything you would expect from a basic tool – crop, rotate, special effects, shape drawing, text and more.
Many of the other available options involve sending captures to different programs, but you can also print immediately after capture, attach to an email and more. Having edited in whatever way you need, you can export images to a number of popular formats, or transfer them into any of the supported applications.
This is not the end of the story, however. We have already mentioned the existence of plugins for Greenshot, and this opens up a whole new raft of possibilities. If you don’t fancy the idea of manually saving an image before uploading it to Flickr or Imgur, you can take advantage of a plugin.
At the moment, the majority of the plugins are concerned with getting images online. This means that you can quickly capture an image and, having configured the necessary account settings, have it uploaded to your Dropbox, Flickr, Picasa and other online accounts.
There are also plugins that can be used to send captures to Microsoft Office, and there is scope for more to be added as they are developed.
Although Greenshot does not have quite the fit and finish of Snagit, it is still an extremely impressive tool. This is a screen capture utility that is more than suitable for use on a daily basis in a professional environment.
Even if you feel that your current screen capture tool meets your needs, it may still be worth taking a look at Greenshot to see if it is something you could switch to. Despite the power hidden within the software, it is not only easy to use, but pleasingly light on resources making it fast and responsive.