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free screen capture software

Posted on 2016-08-03
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Last Modified: 2016-08-22
I am looking for a good, free screen capture software so that i can capture areas on my computer and be able to edit and add text to create instructions for users. i used to use ScreenSteps but that no longer works.

thank you
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Question by:stevekee65
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 167 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41740699
Hi Steve,
There are many programs, free and non-free, that can do what you want. An excellent free, open source one is Greenshot, published at SourceForge:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/greenshot/

And here is its own website:
http://getgreenshot.org/

You can create screenshots of a selected region, a window, or screen. You can annotate, highlight, and redact screenshots.

Another free one is the Snipping Tool, which is built into Vista, W7, W8, and W10. You can set it up to launch on a hotkey by right-clicking on its shortcut in Accessories, then clicking the Shortcut tab, then enter the hotkey you want in the "Shortcut key:" box. I configured mine for the numeric keypad minus sign. That key is in the upper right on my keyboard and being able to tap that and have it bring up the Snipping Tool is really convenient. The Snipping Tool places the image on the clipboard and also has a Save As feature that lets you save it in several formats, including JPG and PNG.

Another idea is to use the PrintScreen key (some keyboards call it PrntScrn, PrtSc, PS, etc.). Support for it is built into Windows. If you hit PrintScreen, it captures the entire screen; if you hit Alt-PrintScreen, it captures the focus (active) Window. Then you simply Paste (Ctrl-V) into any imaging program to crop/edit/annotate it. IrfanView is excellent (free!) imaging software that I've been using for many years to do this (as mentioned in my EE article, How To Embed Screenshots in Posts:
http://www.irfanview.com/

After using PrintScreen or Alt-PrintScreen to capture what you want, run IrfanView, hit Ctrl-V, then use the mouse to select the portion of the image you want, and click Edit>Crop Selection. Do a Save As to a JPG, BMP, PNG, or whatever format you prefer — IrfanView supports a wide range of graphics file formats.

A very popular non-free, but reasonably priced, one is TechSmith's Snagit:
http://www.techsmith.com/

TechSmith also has a free product called Jing:
https://www.techsmith.com/jing.html

It doesn't have all the functionality of Snagit, but it's good — and it's free.

Btw, here's a very interesting EE thread on the same subject that I participated in:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Q_28345802.html

Regards, Joe
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 167 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41740700
Windows 7 and above has Windows Snipping to do this and it works fine. Free.

The Holy Grail of Free of course leaves you wanting, so I use SnagIt. Best of breed and cheap. There are now hundreds of edited screen shots in EE that I have done over time with SnagIt.

So you can choose between Free vs. Good.
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Expert Comment

by:Ciprian
ID: 41740706
you can use snipping tool, integrated in windows 7 , 8, 10
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by:Paul Sauvé
Paul Sauvé earned 166 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41740769
I use the PrtScrn key and paste the image into any of my image editing program. This copies the entire screen.

Also,  Alt+PrtScrn will copy the active window only.

I find this much easier than rooting around to find an app on my PC.PrtScr
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41765194
John,
Thanks for the clean-up on this one! Regards, Joe
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