Simple but comprehensive solution for taking and enhancing screen shots.
Screen capture might not be glamorous but if you're producing software manuals or training materials, it can easily become a major part of your life. And if it's a regular chore you really need some dedicated help. That's where SnagIt comes in.
Setting up your capture in the main SnagIt window is staightforward. First you need to set the Input. Normally you'd set this to Window, Active Window, Object, Menu, Region or Fixed Region but SnagIt also provides advanced options such as Triangle, Rounded Rectangle and DirectX. For the major options you can fine-tune the effect, say to capture cascading menus complete with their menu bar, to include the cursor or automatically autoscroll to capture web pages or documents that are too large for a single screen. A very welcome feature is the ability to save common setups as named profiles.
Setting up your Output offers similar control. The most common option will be to save directly to a specified file format such as PNG, TIFF, JPEG or GIF and you can set options such as compression setting, directory and automatic naming. Other options include automatically copying the capture to the clipboard, printer, your email program or even to a web address. You can also choose to automatically copy your file to SnagIt's Catalog program which is a thumbnail-based graphic file management tool. It's pretty basic, but it does allow you to batch convert and process multiple files.
SnagIt makes capture setup simple.
The third and final stage of SnagIt's three part set-up is to use the Filters menu to set any processing to be applied to your capture. The most likely option is to reduce the colours in your image in which case you can set the dithering and how the palette is generated. You can also automatically substitute colours and change the image's hue, brightness, contrast, saturation and gamma. Other options include changing resolution, scale or cropping or automatically adding watermarks, borders or captions.
Adding captions such as the date automatically makes sense, but often you'll want to annotate the capture yourself to highlight a particular feature. SnagIt provides a dedicated application called SnagIt Studio for just this purpose. You can draw onscreen or add text or predefined shapes such as arrows, pointers or stamps and, because these elements are all stored as vector information, the underlying bitmap is unaffected and everything remains fully editable.
SnagIt Studio is used to annotate your captures.
So far we've been talking about simple screen image capture but SnagIt also offers four very useful variations on the theme: Text Capture copies any data onscreen as editable text - useful for generating file lists from Windows Explorer for example; Printer Capture can redirect printer output to a bitmap file; Web Capture pulls all graphics from a given URL; and Video Capture captures all screen activity to an AVI (though if you're planning to use this to produce training materials, check out TechSmith's much more powerful Camtasia Studio (see page ). Other benefits include the new add-ins for Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer, Word and FrameMaker which provide instant access to SnagIt's functionality.
There's one fly in the ointment however: the SnagIt Capture Preview. This lets you check your image immediately after capture, but it can only handle one image at a time and doesn't let you preview the effect of colour reduction changes onscreen. Until this changes, I'll tend to stick with PhotoImpact's in-built screen capture, but for many users - TechSmith claims 7 million - SnagIt's many strengths easily outweigh these few disappointments.
ratings out of 6
requirements Pentium II, 64Mb of RAM, 14Mb of hard disk space, Windows 95, 98, Me, NT 4.0 SP6a, 2000, XP.
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