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Give ’em a Shot: Screen Captures

Do you frequently capture screenshots for use in presentations, online tutorials, and printed materials? Gone are the days when creating good screen captures meant struggling with complicated image editing software. Here are three tools designed to give your screenshots some extra pizazz.

SnagIt – for a professional look

This screenshot was created with SnagIt, a commercial product from TechSmith.

When using SnagIt to capture images, you can:

  • Select the whole screen, a region of the screen, a single window, or a scrolling window
  • Capture only text, only objects, or preserve the links within a screen capture
  • Set a timer to delay the capture. This gives you time to set up a shot (to select an item from a drop-down menu, for example).

With the SnagIt Editor, you can:

  • Trim and crop
  • Add borders and edge effects
  • Add annotations
  • Draw arrows, shapes, and highlights
  • Spotlight and magnify a selected area

A single-user SnagIt license costs $49.95. A 30-day free trial is available.

Jing – for screenshots on the fly

This screenshot was created with Jing, then uploaded to Flickr.

Jing is available as a free download from TechSmith.  Images captured with Jing open in a very basic editing interface where they can be annotated, highlighted, and shared.

The creators of Jing wanted to develop a tool that would fit easily into the workflow and encourage visual communication online. Images captured with Jing can be saved to your local computer, but they can also be sent directly to a Flickr account, posted to the web at, or dropped into an e-mail or instant message.

The Distant Librarian reported that Jing “…is one of those tools that I use on an almost daily basis to send quick how-to’s to people.” Both SnagIt and Jing can record video as well as still images.

Kwout – to preserve the links

This screen shot, created with Kwout, shows a list of languages for which glaucoma information is available in MedlinePlus:

Scroll over the image above and click on a language.  Kwout, which is free to use, captures screenshots with image maps so that links are preserved. “Kwouts” can be annotated, increased or decreased in size, and decorated with borders and backgrounds. Kwout produces code you can use to embed (copy and paste) your screenshot into another web page or a blog.

What is your favorite way to produce a screenshot?

3 Responses to “Give ’em a Shot: Screen Captures”

  1. Heidi Sue Adams Says:

    I really, really like Kwout. Thanks for providing these great tips, Alison. Kwout has opened up a whole new world of interactive screen shots for me. My next time to “play” would be an attempt would be to see if it’s possible to use both Kwout and SnagIt together. Ie, have one image that is both interactive links as well as the additional icons. If anyone’s been able to do this, let us know!

  2. Alison Aldrich Says:

    Thanks to Greg Notess for introducing us to Kwout at the PNCMLA CE class last weekend. SnagIt also has an option for keeping links active. I like that Kwout will do that for free, though.

  3. Hope Leman Says:

    I am a little lerry of Jing–I had to download it for a library school class this past summer and its sun icon infested many of the applications on my computer. But maybe that is just me. Anybody else had any problems with it?

    Thank you, Heidi and Alison–I didn’t even realize that screenshots could be interactive. Duh, Hope!