Screen Capture Tools

Market overview of recommendable tools for creating screen captures (screenshots, screen dumps). Screen captures are required within all forms of software documentation, such as user manuals, online help files, interactive demos and tutorials, but also for web sites and brochures.

Tip: Also see the checklist in Choosing a Screen Capture Tool.

 

SnagIt

Easy to use, nothing missing. Added texts can be updated and translated at any time. Several useful additional functions, such as basic video capture and text capture. Optional integration with Microsoft Word.

Price: approx. €48

FullShot

Adds some additional buttons to each window at runtime. Instead of remembering a keyboard shortcut you can then click one of these buttons, for example, “W” for “Window” or “R” for “Region.” FullShot then creates the desired screenshot (and removes the additional buttons from these screenshots). Screenshots can easily be updated. In particular, added texts, such as callouts, are retained and can be edited. Highly efficient functions for capturing menus and command bars. Wide range of effects.

Price: approx. $90 (“Professional”)

MadCap Capture

Focuses especially on the requirements of technical documentation and single source publishing. Supports text variables. Users of the authoring system Flare (developed by the same company) can save images automatically in two versions: one version for online help, and one version for printed user manuals. The online version, for example, can be in color, the print version in gray. Also the resolution of both versions can be different. Images remain fully editable, irrespective of their format. Elements can be saved to palettes and reused. The design of the elements added to your screenshots, such as callouts, can be standardized conveniently.

Price: approx. $39

H@rdcopy

Especially powerful if you want to print screen captures directly on paper, but also has many advanced options to save as files.

Price: approx. $15; free for noncommercial use

HyperSnap

Price: approx. $40

Ashampoo Snap

Price: approx. €20

PicPick

Basic screen capture tool, combined with image editor, color picker, color palette, pixel ruler, protractor, crosshair, and whiteboard.

Price: approx. $22; free for personal use

Screenshot Captor

Price: donation

WinSnap

Price: approx. $25

CaptureXT

Price: approx. $30

SPX Instant Screen Capture Bundle

Price: approx. $23

FastStone Capture

Price: approx. $20

FRAPS

Creates screen captures and movies from video games.

Price: approx. €30

SnapDraw

Comes with many editing features.

Price: free (freeware)

TNT Screen Capture

Especially helpful if you’ve made individual color settings in Windows. You can reset your custom colors to the Windows default values on command, shoot your image, and finally restore the individual settings automatically. In addition, the tool can automatically save a copy of each screen capture as a thumbnail and has an option to render screen captures as 3-dimensional presentation images.

Price: free (freeware)

7capture

Simple screen capture tool that can automatically handle rounded corners and semi-transparent window backgrounds.

Price: free (freeware)

GIMP

The popular image editor also comes with a built-in function to capture the entire screen, or individual windows or areas. You can then edit screenshots directly within GIMP before saving.

Price: free (open source)

Greenshot

Saves screenshots to files.

Price: free (open source)

Screenpresso

Provides a basic set of capturing and editing functions.

Price: basic version free (freeware); “Pro” version approx. €29

PrtScr

Basic, straight-forward screen capture tool.

Price: free (freeware)

Scenegrabber.NET

Specialized on creating screenshots from movies.

Price: free (freeware)

SiteShooter

Specialized on creating screenshots of web pages. Automatically creates a hidden window of Internet Explorer, loads the desired web page, and then saves the entire content of the web page into an image file. Works via GUI or from the command line.

Price: free (freeware)

qSnap

Captures web pages and also includes some editing functions. Available as a plug-in for all major browsers.

Price: free (freeware)

SnagIt

The market leader for Windows is also available for the Mac.

Price: approx. $50

Voila

Full-featured screen capture tool.

Price: approx. €25

layers

Captures every item on your screen as a PSD (Photoshop) layered image.

Price: approx. $25

LittleSnapper

Price: approx. €34

SnapNDrag

Price: free (freeware)

InstantShot!

Price: free (freeware)

Skitch

Price: free (however, note the terms of service)

Paparazzi!

Price: free (freeware)

Capture Me

Price: free (open source)

Reflector

Wirelessly mirrors an iPad or iPhone to a PC or Mac so that you can take screen captures.

Price: approx. $13

Status Magic

Adds optimized status bars to your screenshots.

Price: approx. £5

Shutter

Feature-rich screenshot program for Linux.

Price: free (open source)

KSnapshot

The screen capture tool of KDE.

Price: free (open source)

GIMP

The popular image editor also comes with a built-in function to capture the entire screen, or individual windows or areas. You can then edit screenshots directly within GIMP before saving.

Price: free (open source)

If you only need to take a limited number of screen captures, there’s also the option to capture them manually. On Windows: Using the Print Screen key, you can copy the currently displayed screen contents to the clipboard. Using the key-combination Alt+Print Screen, you can copy the contents of the active window. Then, you can directly paste the clipboard contents into any document or graphics editor.

Windows Vista and Windows 7 make the procedure even simpler. The build-in Snipping Tool (usually located within the Accessories group) lets you instantly save basic screen captures as a file. However, if you want to apply any special effects or if you want to add callouts, you’ll have to use some general-purpose graphics software to do so manually.

 

On the Mac, OS X also provides a number of build-in options to capture both entire screens and specific regions. Command key+Shift+3 saves the whole screen, Command key+Shift+4 saves a selected region, and Command key+Shift+4, and then immediately pressing the spacebar saves a selected item to the desktop. Note: If you also hold down the Ctrl key, this saves to the clipboard instead of saving to the desktop.

OS X also comes with a basic Grab utility located in Applications > Utilities.

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This page was last updated 07/2014.

 

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