If I were to give an award for the program I’ve used and valued the most throughout the years, TechSmith’s Snagit 12 screen capture program would take the gold. It’s one of those programs you immediately install to new PC as you don’t want to work without it. Snagit is more than a screen capture utility, but a means to capture, present and share information in many ways. And since I wrote my first review, it has added versions for Mac, Chromebook and mobile.
It’s hard for me to recall when I got my first copy of TechSmith’s Snagit. I remember it was part of a software bundle from another program. My initial reaction before trying the program was “oh grand, yet another program to replace the PrtScn key”. I was mistaken in thinking this was just an ordinary screen print program. I never envisioned I would be using SnagIt on such a frequent basis.
Countless Uses for Snagit
Snagit goes well beyond basic screen captures by allowing the user to annotate, highlight, or call out various picture elements. This is clearly beneficial for anyone who does software documentation, but here are some uses you may not have considered:
- Saving online receipts or EULAs
- Converting web pages or images to PDF
- Creating short “how to” videos
- Documenting online account issues
- Resizing pictures
- Capturing program error message
- Sending web pages with live links to people
- Converting one graphic file format to another
- Making interactive screen shots
The Program in Action
To illustrate a few of the program’s features, I took a screen snap of the product page for Snagit and used their number call-out feature. The program presents itself in three sections.
In the center section (2) is the image preview. Above your image is the tools section that consists of various image tools that allow you to draw attention to elements on the captured image. Below the image (3), you have recent thumbnails. With the exception of the last thumbnail, I’ve used the software’s blur feature to obscure the details. This is a useful feature if you need to send an image to someone, but don’t want personal details shown.
Using the built-in tools, you can easily resize your image and add attention to various parts.emphasize items on my screen capture. You’ll see I’ve outlined the free trial button and added an arrow. Fortunately, the program allows multiple “undo”s while you’re still editing the image. This is useful as it can allow you to reuse portions. As example, I removed the numbered callouts from the above image, resized it, added my arrow and saved as a new image.
As is often the case when you do screen captures, you want to trim the image. Snagit allows three types of trimming. The first type is automatic trimming where the program determines where the image should be cropped. The second option allows the user to do custom trimming on a pixel basis for top, bottom, left and right boundaries. The last trim method involves grabbing a sizing handle on the image and dragging it in your desired direction.
Although I’ve saved space by trimming the image, it looks a bit bare without a border. The program includes many options including an edge effect called Torn Edge. This is a nice feature, but sometimes has interesting results. On several occasions, I’ve had people ask me more questions about this torn effect than the image.
Another important feature for many people is the ability to magnify key elements of an image. The program allows you to isolate an area and then specify how much to magnify the selected area and dim the background. Some people call this a “spotlight effect“.
The above examples show some of the common features people are apt to use. One area we’ve not touched upon is what the program can capture. While you may be used to simply snapping the entire computer screen, Snagit allows you capture everything from an object to a scrolling web page. You can also save web pages with links and convert them PDF. And if size isn’t an issue, you can record actions in a window and create a MPEG-4 file. This is a quick and easy way to show someone how to do a task.
Saving Strokes with Snagit Profiles
TechSmith realizes that users may want to apply certain features and tasks on a regular basis. They solve this problem through the use of profiles which can save a number of keystrokes. A Snagit profile allows you to automatically assign input, output, effects and options on a global basis. For example, I might define a profile to always use:
- A 7 second delay in capturing the current window
- Exclude the mouse cursor
- Apply a 1 PX black border to the outside of the image
- Add a caption with date, time and computer name
- Send the output to a file and printer
Although you can only have one active profile, you can define many profiles to suit your needs. There is even an organizer with import and export capabilities.
- Ease of Use
The basic features are intuitive and well laid out for efficiency. The program is reasonably priced at $49.95 and offers an extensive feature set that allows add-ins for 3rd party programs such Microsoft Office and various browsers. There are a few areas that aren't as smooth as I'd like such as cutting-out sections within an image or capturing full pages from the web. However, TechSmith offers a strong help center with video and tutorials. At the time of this review, there are 60 tutorials. Now, if I could only find enough time to learn all the features.
- Product Page: http://www.techsmith.com/snagit.asp
- Version Reviewed: 12.3.0
- Free Trial: Full featured for 15 days
- Price: $49.95 (educational, volume and govt' discounts available)