Off The Wall
On The Record
Registered Sex Offenders for Edgefield
2005 Crime Stats
& Audio Updates
PO Box 972
State and Federal
Local Political Parties
Chamber of Commerce
New York Times
New York Post
Los Angeles Times
past articles please visit our Archives
Capture Screen Images and Screen Videos
By James Wise
posted September 8, 2009
TECH TIPS – Taking a picture of your
computer screen or creating a video of something you do on your
computer can be a great tool for documentation/demos or support
requests. There are many different options available for this depending
on your particular needs. These options range from built in features
like a simple press of the “Print Screen” button on your keyboard to
free or paid software for general capture tasks all the way up to
advanced screen video recording/editing software for complex demos or
eLearning. Today, we’ll cover some of the options available at each of
these levels including some nice free software.
Basic/Built In Options
If you just need to take a quick screenshot and don’t need to do this
very often, the “print screen” key might be all you need. Simply get to
the screen you want to capture and press “print screen”. That key is
normally located on the upper right hand side of your keyboard. This
will copy the entire screen into the Windows Clipboard. If you just
want the “active window” you can hold down the alt key while pressing
print screen. Now, you can paste that image wherever you would like to
use it. For example, you can open Microsoft Word and hit ctrl+v to
paste that image into your document. If you want to just save the image
as an image file, go to start, run, type mspaint, and then use ctrl+v
to paste the image into a new file using the save button afterwards to
save your file.
If you have Windows Vista, it includes a free tool with more advanced
screenshot options including the ability to capture a selected portion
of the screen. This tool also allows you to save the image without
pasting it into a document or image file. It is called the Snipping
Tool and you can access it by clicking on the start button, typing
“snipping,” and pressing enter.
Free or Paid Software
Basic options like those above are normally fine for occasional use.
However, if you are like me and need to take a lot of screenshots,
there are some great software programs out there to make your life much
easier. Some of these programs also allow you to record a video of your
computer screen. Videos are a great way to show someone how to use a
program for example.
Personally, I am a long time user of Snag-It. Snag-It allows you to
capture images (full screen, window, region, etc…) and videos. Captured
images can go to the clipboard AND to a file if you want (even
automatically without the need to select a file name or location). You
can read more about Snag-It and download it from:
The only downside (that I
know of) to this program is that it isn’t free. The program costs $50
but a trial is available.
There are also some other great capture programs out there. One totally
free program I found is called Screen Capturer and it is available
quick review of this program, it looks like it might be a good
alternative to Snag-It for anyone looking to save some money. It can
record both images and videos (including audio if you’d like).
Note that when you first run this, you will need a license key but it’s
free (you will just need to provide your name and email address).
Do you use a lot of different computers? For example, if you support a
number of different computers and find that you need to take
screenshots from them, you might be interested in a “portable”
screenshot application that you can place on a thumb drive and use
WITHOUT having to install anything on the actual computer. If so,
checkout FastStone Capture which has a portable option. The current
version costs $20 and includes video recording. You can get it from: http://www.faststone.org/FSCaptureDetail.htm.
An older portable version without video recording options is available
for free from: http://www.portablefreeware.com/?id=775
Advance Video Capture
The programs above are great for screenshots and some of them offer
pretty good video recording options. However, if you are recording a
lot of videos for things like program demos or “eLearning”, you might
need more advanced features. Two programs I like in this area are:
Camtasia (also from the makers of Snag-In): http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp
and Captivate: http://www.adobe.com/products/captivate/.
Both of these programs offer advanced editing capabilities for use
after recording a video. However, this and the other nice features they
offer come with a price. Camtasia is $299 and Captivate is $799 (free
trials are available). Because of the cost, these programs are really
more for professionals who require them for their job.
Captivate has a helpful feature that will automatically insert captions
within the video. For example, if you click an “OK” button in a program
when recording a video, a caption is automatically inserted that says
“Click OK”. This makes it easier for users to follow the steps to do
something shown by a video while reducing the amount of work the author
must do. An example of a Captivate video that I made can be found at: http://www.edgefielddaily.com/wisetechtips031609.html
Camtasia has an interesting feature called “Smart Focus” where the
program automatically (or manually) “zooms in” on a smaller section of
the screen to make it easier to see what is being done. This feature is
also a nice effect to watch. A video showing this and other features of
Camtasia is available on the Camtasia website: http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp
If you don’t need all the features of Captivate or Camtasia and want a
free option, you might checkout CamStudio which is available at: http://camstudio.org/. A video (made
with CamStudio) showing some things about it is available from: http://camstudio.org/video/install/.
CamStudio doesn’t have the features of the other programs in this
category but it is free after all. It doesn’t come with an editor
either but third party options including the free “Windows Movie Maker”
that you probably have already can be used for that.
Since I covered a lot of different options here, I didn’t really go
into detail on how to use any of them. I believe that as you use these
programs, most things will be self explanatory. Feel free to email me
though if you need more detail or assistance with any of these.
© Copyright 2009
original material is property of
EdgefieldDaily.com and cannot be reproduced, rewritten or redistributed
without the expressed written permission of Edgefield Daily.com
We still need recipes for Cooking Section
WEBNEWS – Send in your favorite or
favorites. There is no limit to the number of recipes you can send in.
With the Editor’s wife being the driving force behind her own personal
section, help her create an exchange of local favorites, home cooking,
grilling, sauces, and deserts! Send in your submissions here.