Screen capture is a fundamental part of Windows dating back to the earliest days of the operating system. You can capture everything on your screen simply by pressing the PrtSc key, or single out the window you are currently viewing by using the Alt+PrtSc key combination. Both of these keyboard actions grab a bitmap image of the screen and make it available to the clipboard. You can then paste your screen capture into a Word document, Evernote Note, or open Paint and create an editable graphics file by pasting the contents of your clipboard. You can repurpose that image data in just about anything that accepts bitmap input.
If this powerful functionality is built in, why would you ever spend money on screen capture software?
I leave it to you to decide why you might want to pay for screen capture software, but here are a handful of use cases where I find screen capture and SnagIt specifically better than relying on the core Windows screen capture functions.
Annotating screen captures is probably the top reason I like using SnagIt. While I can add text, arrows, and other graphics to a screen capture in Paint, I can make those notations far faster in SnagIt. Adding a word balloon or an arrow takes seconds with SnagIt, with each element being individually editable before I save out a marked up file to either upload or email. The time I save annotating screenshots in a single day is worth the cost of SnagIt.
Capturing very specific segments of the screen is more complicated using Windows screen capture functions. If I only want a section of the screen that contains a very specific menu in an application, Windows requires me to edit out all the parts I don’t want in photo editing software. SnagIt allows me to quickly identify the exact portion of the screen I want to capture and grab an image. I can capture triangular and polygon shapes on the screen, which means I can quickly perform more artistic captures without needing to edit anything. Here again, I save a bunch of time.
Auto-scrolling a web page is a feature I use when I want to mark up layout changes. Really long pages are automatically captured as one single large file, which is something Windows can’t do.
Transparency features like those found in apps like Photoshop are a recent addition to SnagIt. In the past if I wanted to do something fancy, I’d capture the screen, open Photoshop, and spend an hour removing the background for an artistic effect. SnagIt simplified this process, making it possible to work quickly and easily in a single screen capture tool.
Auto-archiving of past screen captures comes in handy more often than I ever thought it would. When I screen capture something with SnagIt, the SnagIt editor keeps track of past captures, so I can quickly find a screen I used in the past. If I use the built-in Windows function, finding a screen capture I took before is highly unlikely.
SnagIt includes a huge list of arrows, textboxes, shadows, borders, highlighting tools, and edge effects for getting exactly the right look you want for your screen capture. While I certainly could accomplish the same thing using another tool, I find I’m far faster using SnagIt. If I layer in photos with a screen capture, SnagIt supports a number of standard photo editing features as well. All text and objects created with SnagIt use vector scaling, so I can work on the original size image, resize everything including my markup, and get an image that doesn’t suffer from the blocky appearance you get when you resize a screen capture.
While I’ve tried a number of other screen capture solutions, I keep coming back to SnagIt because it makes me more efficient. My time saved on screen captures is time I have to spend doing other things, which is well worth the price. If you haven’t tried SnagIt for your own screen captures, you should.
Download SnagIt and try it for yourself.