You may have heard about SnagIt and considered it to be just a glorified screen capture program. Yes, it does take screen shots, but so does Windows if you hit the Print Screen button, right? True, but SnagIt is so much more! And with the release of version 8, it is a program you've just gotta have! It's so cool!
In this article, I'll give you a brief overview of what SnagIt can do for you and show you some of the very cool new features they've added. In the coming months, SnagIt will be a regularly featured application that I'll be writing about...providing you with tutorials and ideas about how it can make your job easier and provide you with the capabilities to do a lot more than you thought you could do before.
Yes, I am a SnagIt beta tester. But other than a free version of the software, I don't get any other benefits from being associated with TechSmith, the makers of SnagIt, among other cool applications. So this is a totally unsolicited testimonial. Well, okay, I do also get to associate with some really great technical folks who work for TechSmith, and that's a great benefit.
But if you've been paying any attention to my words at all, you'll know that I have no problem telling people when they mess up with poor service or poor quality. However, I will also freely do the happy dance and get excited about quality work and good service. I can only hope that, as TechSmith becomes more renowned in the industry, they do not lose their quaint personal service. Because right now, they have the qualities of being a top-notch, friendly and personable company down to a science.
Yup, SnagIt 8 was just released at the end of January, 2006. If you have 7, upgrade. An upgrade from version 7 is only $19.95! When was the last time you paid for an upgrade to quality software for that price! And if you've never bought it...it's only $39.95. I've paid a lot more for graphic editing software and even just programs for storing my images...and SnagIt does all that, and LOTS MORE!
First, know that you can click the TechTrax Archive link above and enter SNAGIT as your keyword search to find other articles I've written about this software. Those were for version 7, but those features are still there, so those articles will still provide information on what you can do with SnagIt 8. Many of these same features now work even better and TechSmith has added some really great new features, as well as made the interface look slicker.
Okay, so that huge, red capture button is a bit overpowering. I tried to tell them that during beta testing, but you know how developers can be!<smirk> However, it certainly does make it easy to see how to start a capture, doesn't it? Although you can easily override that command with a hotkey.
So what can you do with SnagIt?
How's this for just some of the capabilities...
- capture a region of your screen
- capture a window in a screen
- capture an entire (scrolling) web page...WITH links kept intact! Yup, new feature here!
- save a capture in about 28 different file formats
- save to PDF format! Yes! Another new feature!
- capture text from things like Windows Explorer...such as a list of all your files that you can drop into a Word doc to sort or email to someone!
- record a VIDEO of your screen, such as the moves you made to mess up your computer!
- capture all the images off a web page, in one click
- get captures from DirectX game screens
- create your own capture profiles with all your settings so you can get just the shot you need with one click
- setup time shots to capture images of what's on your screen every few seconds, minutes or whatever interval you set
- easily add numerous, very cool looking 3D annotation graphics to highlight your screen shots
- add edge effects to images with a click
- take quick shots of something you see on your screen and email the image to friends with a click
- batch convert hundreds of images to set resolutions, new formats, add effects, resize or whatever you need...in one click, while not affecting the original images
- capture documents to PDF format, that can even be annotated before you save the final PDF format
- capture screen shots that are larger than your screen
- quickly add your own watermark to hundreds of images so no one can swipe your photos without knowing where they came from
- take a screen shot and add interactive hotspots! You guessed it, another new feature.
- create a photo web page in a few seconds, with hundreds of images
And these are just some of the things you can do with SnagIt. Yes, this is serious software and it's nearly free considering the quality of what you get versus the nominal price.
I used to just hit print screen, save an image, bring it into Paint Shop Pro, make the needed modifications and resave the image. But it took me several minutes per shot. Now I can capture good screen shots the way I need, with borders, resized, with annotations, text, highlight shading or dozens of other enhancements, in seconds. It makes creating manuals, web pages, tutorials, or just keeping shots of images I see on the web, so much easier.
And when I say a good screen shot, I mean that. As an editor, I see a lot of screen shots. In the near future, I plan to write an article providing tips about what makes a good screen shot and why good shots can make or break your article or document.
Now check this out...it took seconds to capture this image from MouseTrax, add an annotation and then I can email it as a live link email. How cool is that? Rather than sending a text URL, send out a shot of your web site with a live link!
The Editor is so easy to use. Just click and drag out what you need. You can even now save the image as a .snag file, which means you can save the original version so you can go back and change the graphics without retaking the shot. Yes, another cool new capability.
And with SnagIt's balloon tips and tips of the day, you can be an expert using all the tools in a few hours. Turn on the tips and let them point out simple ways to do things when you start using it. No long learning curve here.
Sadly, nothing in life is perfect. So even though I'm jumping up and down to tell you how cool this software is and that it is definitely a great value for the price, there are two issues that I need to tell you about that caused me problems.
First, SnagIt boasts it's Office Addin features allowing you to easily capture and customize shots right from within your applications. But my recommendation...don't install the Office addins. Sadly, the addin toolbars can not only be annoying because they appear to be impossible to turn off and keep them off until you need them, but I also discovered that the Word addin is like so many other addins to Word...it interferes with the way Word works.
I have several addins that don't cause me any problems. Then there are those notorious addin templates like Adobe Acrobat, Norton or WinFax that cause headaches. Unfortunately, the SnagIt addin for Word caused me problems that I was able to document. If you create custom templates, you'll probably have problems. The addin does something that causes Normal.dot to get in the way of the normal operation of your custom template styles when updating them...and if you have custom menus on your template, particularly those added through VBA automation, they will get trapped in your Normal.dot and soon you will notice multiple versions of these menus. Through concentrated testing, I was able to prove that the SnagIt addin was causing me these problems.
If you should forget and allow the addins to be added, I would suggest that you uninstall and reinstall without the addins.
The other issue I've documented is the fact that, if you take a screen shot and save it to a folder, that folder will get locked in memory somehow and you will not be able to delete, move or rename that folder or move those files until you exit SnagIt and ensure that the executable is no longer in your Task Manager. What happens is that you get an error telling you that you cannot delete, move or rename folders due to a sharing violation. This happens even if you are finished taking shots and haven't touched SnagIt in hours. It's frustrating and confusing, because you can't understand what program might still be using some folder that you accessed hours ago. Yet if you had any contact with that folder with your last screen shot...that folder is still under SnagIt's control. Once you are sure you have completely exited the program, you can then easily perform whatever maintenance tasks you wanted without issue.
Granted, these are confusing and difficult issues for a developer to decipher and drill down for a solution. So just be aware of these two issues. However, if you don't use the addins (which can be convenient, but really aren't necessary in my opinion, since you can set custom hotkeys and let SnagIt reside in your systray, ready to jump into action as needed) and you remember that SnagIt may be the culprit if you have any strange sharing violation errors after using it...you'll be fine. These are frustrating issues, but minor and easy to get around.
So I won't let these minor issues stop me from jumping up and down and telling you that SnagIt 8 is one of the most used (several times daily for so many different things) and most loved software program on my computer. And it's an incredible value for the cost versus benefits!
You can read more about SnagIt 8 here:
You can view SnagIt's own video tutorials here:
And you can download a free trial version of SnagIt here:
But also remember to stay tuned to TechTrax, because I can't help but write more tutorials on all the neat things you can do with SnagIt.