After being given the opportunity to take a look at Camtasia Studio 7 by TechSmith, I jumped at the chance to try out their screen capture tool for Windows; Snagit 10.
Unlike Camtasia Studio 7, which allows you to capture video of what you’re doing on your PC, Snagit allows the user to take still screenshots of their computer, making it easier than ever to capture and catalogue screenshots, with Snagit 10 offering support for customisation including transparency support.
Installation and Setup
Installation was a simple process, and mostly automated. You can choose whether to send usage data back to TechSmith to help them improve the software, and you also have the choice of running Snagit when Windows starts. With so many developers starting their program with Windows by default, it was nice to be given the choice when installing Snagit.
The interface of Snagit is simple once you’ve spent a while getting used to it, but like Camtasia, it can be slightly confusing at first. Fortunately, you’re given a video tour around the application so you can get the best out of it. Normally, I find these tours annoying, but it’s certainly worthwhile to take a look at if you’re using Snagit for the first time.
The main window allows you to view the profiles offered by Snagit 10 when taking a screenshot. You can select any profile from the window, and view the settings at the bottom of the window. You can change various settings for the profile, or the hotkey that activates it.
The ‘Quick Launch’ frame gives you access to the Snagit Editor, where you can edit your shots, and also allows you to access your library, so that you can keep all your screenshots organised. Having the key features available without having to dive into the menu bar on the top of the window allows for easy access, and certainly makes navigation easier.
One of the first questions I had when testing Snagit was ‘why should I use this over regular Print Screen?’, so I was eager to see what unique features it had to offer.
When capturing a screenshot with the ‘All-in-One’ profile, the Snagit window disappears, and yellow guidelines appear on the screen. These allow you to select any part of the screen or active window that you wish to capture, and there’s a magnifying tool included for precision too. This is a great way to make sure that the screenshots taken are precise, but Snagit has another trick up its sleeve too.
In addition to the All-in-One profile, other profiles allow you to do other things based on your needs. One profile that impressed me was the ‘Web page as PDF with links’ profile, which does just what it says on the tin – in this sense it kind reminds me of Evernote. When I tried the profile out with the Zath Tech Blog homepage, it took under a minute before I had a PDF file waiting for me, with active web links and the whole page present. It didn’t look perfect, and I would have preferred the quality to be higher, as I struggled to read some of the smaller text, but it’s still a great feature to have and will hopefully be improved upon in the next round of updates.
When editing your shots, you can use the Snagit Editor, which offers an abundance of editing features. You can choose from a host of effects, including arrows and even 3D-effect speech bubbles. Whilst these features are great, and make it easy to highlight parts of the capture that you want to emphasise, some of the drawing tools, such as the stamps, pixelate a lot when enlarged. Although they’re meant to be used as small graphics, it would be nice to be able to enlarge them without pixelation.
With a feature set as large as any program on the market, Snagit 10 is certainly a compelling choice if you’re looking to take professional looking screenshots for use in a user guide or other professional media.
Snagit 10 is a fantastic application, and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it to anyone. Despite this, it did seem strange that the issues I had were small cases, such as pixelation of drawings when editing shots. Hopefully, these will be addressed in the future.
You can buy Snagit 10 from TechSmith for £37, or download a free trial first.