Screen Capture: Saving Images & Text

by JL Beeken on 12-19-2006

Recently I met a couple who didn’t know they have a Print Screen button on their keyboard. In fact they swore up and down there was no such thing because if it was there they would have seen it. They’ve had a computer in their home for 20 years.

I’m not saying this is a rampant situation, but just in case …

The Print Screen button, such as it exists in Windows, is for taking pictures of your desktop.  When you press the key it automatically copies a picture of your open screen to the clipboard.  You can’t see anything at this point so you have to go on faith.  All you have to do now is open a graphics program or anything else that will let you paste it, and paste.  Handy, huh?  If you ever want to email a picture of the screen in front of you you can do that.

But there’s even more fun to be had with a dedicated screen capture program where you have more options. You can take a picture of a smaller rectangular area or even a free-hand one and do other tricks to amaze yourself. They all do basically the same thing but are slightly different in their choices so after you use one for awhile you’ll decide if one or the other suits you better.

MWSnap

Back in the day when I was looking for mine I tried about a half a dozen of them and finally settled on MWSnap. What I particularly like about it is that I can specify a default file type, choose a folder where the screenshot goes automatically, while it also copies it to the clipboard for immediate pasting somewhere else.  I’m usually wanting one or the other so I don’t have to choose each time.  MW Snap does not do freehand captures.  You can put borders on your pictures before (or after) saving or add cursors and other small icons.  If you let it start up with Windows it will always be sitting in the system tray ready for this menu to pop up when you need it.

MWSnap Screen Capture

MWSnap Screen Capture

These days I’m scouring through the 1880 census records at Family Search.  When I find one I want I take a screen shot of the record, name it and send it over to my digital Source Library as explained in MRIN Filing System+.  Can’t beat it, really. For a specific area like this, I choose “Any area” from the options, drag my cursor across the area I want to capture, left click and I’m done.  MW Snap makes a snapping sound and the picture is automatically in the folder I designated previously, (My Pictures/MWSnap for simplicity.) Once you get the hang of it, tweak the settings. The default ones are not always exactly what you want.

FastStone Capture

Another one that I’ve added lately is FastStone Capture.  Just to sit and enjoy how well this one is put together is almost enough. You can choose to send screen shots to the Editor, Clipboard, File or Printer. Choose which one before you begin, and then choose your capture type.

FastStone Screen Capture

FastStone Screen Capture

or you can have it riding on top of your screen like this:

FastStone Screen Capture

If you choose to have your screen shot sent directly to the Editor, you can then open “Draw” and add a border, text, freehand drawing or watermark before saving.  You can open other pictures that you have and use the drawing tools; it doesn’t have to be the present screen shot.  It also has other simple editing functions. It’s a marvel.

They’re both free for personal use. It’s too hard to choose so don’t. It’s Christmas time, go wild and have ‘em both.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Rick 12-21-2006 at 10:25 PM

Great JLog… a lot of useful software tips and reviews.

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JL 12-21-2006 at 11:27 PM

Thanks for your comment. It’s great to know people are reading it and finding it useful.

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Eileen 12-26-2006 at 10:28 AM

hI,

I tried the screen saver and sure enough it’s saved in clip board, but the print is so terrible you can’t read your article and I can’t seem to do any changes.

Is there something else I should of done?

this is the first time I have been to your site and the address came from Legacy newsletter.

Thanks

Reply

JL 12-26-2006 at 12:30 PM

I’m trying hard to understand your question but I’m not sure that I do.

A screenshot will always come out the exact same size as the original. As long as you’re viewing it at 100%. Did you scroll it down smaller? That would make the text blurry for sure.

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