Think about screen grabbing and two ideas probably spring to mind – hitting the Prnt Scr key or using SnagIt. Taking the later route is a little primitive, while opting to using the latter means having to part with a little cash. SnapCrab - yes, crab, not grab – is a free, highly configurable screen grabbing tool that could just become your new best friend.
At its heart, SnapCrab is very much what you would expect, but it also goes far beyond the capabilities of many other similar tools, and all without requiring you to part with a penny. Whether you are a blogger, a web site owner, a writer or just have some other need to taker screenshots on a regular basis, this may be the tool that makes you rethink the way you work.
As well as being free, SnapCrab is also very small. The fact this is light on resources means that it is an ideal tool for anyone working on the move on a laptop which is not necessary the most powerful machine in the world. This is a relatively new piece of software, it has only hit version 1.0.3, but it boasts a stability and feature set that programs of several years’ standing would be jealous of.
Things get off to something of a mixed start when you install SnapCrab. If you select the Custom Installation you can choose whether or not certain options are activated, such as autorunning and automatic updates, but installing in this way also reveals that a browser plugin is available for Internet Explorer. This is great for anyone who is a fan of Microsoft’s web browser, but there is an ever-growing contingent that is discovering Chrome, Firefox, Opera et al; it’s a shame that these users are not catered for.
Unlike some other screen capture tools, SnapCrab is ready to use immediately after installation. The program takes over the Prnt Scr key by default, so if you have become used to tapping this key to copy the contents of the desktop to the clipboard, you have nothing new to learn here.
SnapCrab In Action
When you want to capture something that appears on your screen, you have a number of options available to you. As mentioned, you can start capturing image straight away by just hitting the Prnt Scr key, but there are other avenues for you to venture down as well. Right clicking the system tray icon reveals a menu that can be used to capture the entire screen, a single window, a select, you can toggle whether the mouse should be included and more. There’s also a floating toolbar that can be used to access these very same options from within any program.
The grabs you take can be automatically named based on the time and date you take them, as well as which program is active at the time. There are fairly complex parameters that can be used to control automatic naming. A handy feature of the app makes it possible to share the images you save online. Images can be shared via Facebook and Twitter or even posted to your Evernote account.
Other options include the ability to automatically shrink all of your screen grabs to a particular size – great for blogger and web site owners – and there’s a timer to help you to compose those difficult captures. An interesting feature is the inclusion of a color picker which can be used to grab the RGB or hexadecimal value of any on-screen color ready to use in your preferred image editor.
I’ve mentioned the toolbar and system tray icon that can be used to access the various capture options, but you’re likely to find that this breaks up the flow of whatever you are doing. Thankfully, almost every feature of the program can be accessed using keyboard shortcuts; this does meant that if you want to take advantage of everything SnapCrab has to offer you have quite a number of shortcuts to remember, but this is obviously unavoidable.
Room For Improvement
I’m quite happy to sing SnapCrab’s praises, but that’s not to say that I think it’s a perfect program; there is still some room for improvement no matter how impressive it currently is. The lack of support for browsers other than Internet Explorer is something that needs attention and I’d like to think that this is something that could be easily addressed in an upcoming update.
The sharing options offered by the program are certainly useful, but it would be nice to see an approach to sharing that will be familiar to Android users – the ability to make use of additional APIs, be that based on which apps are currently installed or just opening the net wider than the rather obvious platforms of Facebook and Twitter, would be a marvellous addition.
In all this is an app that still has a little room for improvement, but it currently strikes a good balance between being a powerful app and one that remain svelte and simple to use.