month I introduced you to SnagIt...the top screen capture program out
there. This month we'll look at all the ways you can use it to
capture stuff. I say stuff versus images, because I was
truly amazed at all the stuff you could capture with this program.
Allow me to offer a little tease!
Ever wished you could capture
a list of file names from a folder on your computer so you could put
that information into a document? How did you do it? Did you flip over to
the list to look at the info and then flip back to type it into a document,
then flip back? Or maybe you captured an image of the information, inserted
it into a document and typed the names over while looking at the image? Yes,
I've resorted to that stunt, too.
I know, you can go out to a DOS prompt and, with a little hocus-pocus,
you can have the file names copied into a text file. But how many
times have you mentioned DOS
someone and seen them look back at you like a deer in headlights! You know
What if you could just display your folder or file list on your screen...
...and with a quick click, you could have that info converted into text that
you could easily drop into any document?
Nope. I didn't have to type the folder names above. I captured the text list
above from the same Windows Explorer window in which I snapped the previous
image. With SnagIt version 7, you can do just that! And that's only one of
the cool things you can do with this inexpensive app!
But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning.
The Capture Interface
The most convenient way to setup SnagIt 7 is to install it and have it run resident. That
means it'll start up when you start Windows, but it'll just hang out in the
background waiting for you to call it into service.
And because I've been conditioned to hit the Print Screen button
whenever I need to take a snap shot of something on my screen, I've selected
the Print Screen button as my activation key. This way SnagIt will just sit
there waiting for me. When I hit the Print Screen button, it'll jump into
However, I also have a shortcut to the program stuffed in my Quick Launch
bar. If you don't know how to add a program to this bar, read my Windows
XP training series, where I explain how to do this.
When you start SnagIt, you'll see the Capture Profile interface.
SnagIt has several profiles preset for you, so you can switch to various
types of captures with just a click. What's a Capture Profile? It's just
a collection of default settings saved under a profile name.
In the image below, you can see the many profiles that have been setup out
of the box. You can just click say, the first one and all the defaults
will be setup to allow you to select a region of your screen to capture
to a file.
Of course, you can go into any profile and make
modifications to your liking and then resave it. Maybe their default
file format isn't what you want. A quick
adjustment or two and you have a customized profile, which can then be saved
under a new name, if you prefer. You can easily see all the settings for
any profile by checking the Capture
the right portion of the interface shown above.
And just look at all the types of captures! Sure, you have the basics, a window,
a region, an entire screen. But also notice scrolling windows, freehand regions,
a menu with time delay, text, record a screen video, images from the web
and even games!
Create your own customized profiles. Perhaps you want to sometimes
take shots with borders. Other times, you want to take shots without borders.
Set up matching profiles, one with borders, one without. A click will switch
you from one to another.
The Profile Organization dialog box, shown below, helps you
keep profiles from getting out of control.
Maybe you've been using a previous version of SnagIt and this new interface
is too confusing for you? Well, just switch the look back to the older Classic look.
You'll feel right at home!
You can also bring it down to a compact view—a mini toolbar.
Or even to a One Click slide toolbar that moves off your screen when
you're not using it, but reappears when you move your mouse to that area
of the screen...just like the Windows Taskbar when set to autohide.
So What Kind of Stuff Can I Capture?
You might be thinking, "But I don't need to create manuals, so why would
I need a program like this to capture stuff?" Capturing application
images to create technical user manuals is just one of the uses
of a program like this.
Capture Motion on your Screen
How many times
have you tried to explain a problem to someone to get help? Let's say your
computer has gone totally wacky. If you get an error message...take a snap
shot of it and send it to tech support.
Or, how about taking a short video of
your screen to prove your computer has gone off it's rocker! You know that
all that wacky stuff only happens when no one else is watching,
right? So get it on video...this way you can send tech support an AVI
(video file) and they can see that you're not losing your mind...your
computer really is going
I recently discovered a fun issue in Word 2003 when margins are changed and
header tables aren't reset. Can you imagine trying to explain to someone
that your "document header is dancing" without some sort
of proof! Don't
believe me that it was dancing? Check out the image below. Here's
HA! Having the capabilities to capture a motion video of this little disco
party not only saved my sanity, but my credibility!
With SnagIt's video capture, you can capture motion from selected regions
of your screen.
As I showed you in my little tease at the start of this article, SnagIt allows
you to capture text. Okay, this feature alone is worth it's weight in
gold to me. Yes, I spent years working in DOS, so capturing
text to a file via a DOS prompt does not stop me in my tracks. But
why bother? When I have a folder full of files I'd like to document,
I just activate SnagIt, click the Text Capture profile and draw out the
capture region on my screen. In a second, I have a text file containing
all that text, as you saw at the start of this article when I captured
a pile of file folder names from my Windows Explorer.
Note! Another alternative for capturing file names into a
document, which also includes hyperlinks to those documents, is a
freeware utility Greg wrote for use with Microsoft Word. If this sounds like
something you could use, read my two articles about this utility: Get
Organized Now! and
File Cataloger for Code and Support Libraries.
Turn a Text File Into an Image
Lots of people want the ability of locking up documents so that user's can't
access the text to modify it. Sure, you could display the document on
your screen and start snapping away taking screen shots. But let's say
the document is a legal contract. It's several pages long. In order to
display it in a size that you could actually read, you'd have to
snap the top half in one shot, the bottom half in another. Then move
to the next page. This could take all afternoon for a 10 page document!
With SnagIt 7, you can just choose to send the entire document to the SnagIt
print driver. This is so cool! Just choose the SnagIt 7 printer from
your print dialog box, as shown below.
Rather than printing the file to paper, it'll print the entire document to
images! And not just to those ridiculously huge EPS or TIFF files, either.
You can toss the file into a JPG image that you can actually email to someone.
They can then view the document in readable format via their browser or other
image viewing program, but they can't change the text.
My nephew recently asked me if I could convert a document into a PDF file,
because he needed to have it displayed on a web page. A few seconds later,
I emailed him back a full-size JPG version of the document that was easily
inserted and uploaded to his web site. No need for a reader. Everyone with
a browser could easily view/read the document. But no time was wasted converting
it into HTML or PDF.
Capture Gobs of Web Images
Ever want to save a bunch of images or photos that are displayed on a web site?
How long did it take you do right click each image and save it to your hard
drive? Worse...what about a site that just lists the names of images and
you have to click each to see the image and then back out to move to the
next image. This could take hours just to find the right image you
want to keep.
There are loads of web sites that offer free graphics, but trying to find
the one you want can take forever...clicking from page to page.
What if you could just go to that site and download all those images
in a few minutes? Boy, wouldn't that be fun. You could fill that
100 gig hard drive in no time! I'm not advocating
swiping images from all over the web. But I know I've wasted a lot of time
trying to find the graphic I need from free sites.
With SnagIt 7, you can literally just point their Web
Image capture feature
to a URL and let 'er rip. Even if the images are on the third page down in
the site. There's an option to set the level so you can choose how deep SnagIt
As a test, I found a computer joke site and in about 4 minutes time, I'd downloaded
over 800 computer joke JPGs! I didn't even know someone could come up with
800 computer joke cartoons! And this was one of those sites that listed the
names of each file on one page. You needed to come back to this page and
click each file in turn and then wait for the image to appear.
Just click on the Web Capture feature in SnagIt. A dialog box will ask you
for the URL. Prior to that, you can set the level properties you want it
to dig down.
In a second, it'll come back to display all the file names it's located on
that site, down to the level you've preselected.
Here you can uncheck any images you might not want downloaded. Then click
the Finish button and go get yourself a snack while SnagIt
downloads all those images to your hard drive. From there you can use SnagIt's
Organize feature to sort and catalog your images. More about that, next
And, of course, the program has all kinds of options for each type of capture.
Below are a few of those options...
But there's lots more!
Next month, we'll take a look at some of the ways you can use SnagIt's Editor
feature to enhance your screen shots, as well as how to organize images to
help keep things neat and tidy.
And if you want to purchase your own copy of SnagIt now, click here: Buy