Describing an occurrence using merely words is sometimes not enough for other people to believe what you said. Hence having a screenshot is very useful because it can be treated as a proof of something that you saw, for example a rare error message that happens randomly or even a website that is being defaced by a hacker. Although capturing a video is so much better, but it involves using a software that may be a bit difficult for basic computer users to use. Moreover it requires more time and effort to edit the video and upload it to video hosting websites.
You can take screenshots directly in Windows and save them as image files by pressing the Print Screen button on your keyboard, run Microsoft Paint, Wordpad or Microsoft Word, and press Ctrl+V to paste the screenshot to the program which can then be saved. Windows 7 comes with a very simple screenshot capture and image editing tool called Snipping Tool. It is able to snip free-form, rectangular, window or full screen and allows you to draw in freehand, a highlighter and an eraser. Although it is good enough to capture a screenshot, but you will need a much powerful screenshot capture tool with effects in order to produce a better looking screenshot.
After tested more than a dozen of available free screenshot tools which most of them comes with identical features, we have finalized with 6 screenshot capture programs that has some really awesome features.
If you’re looking for the best free screenshot capture tool with features found on commercial programs, SnapDraw is the one. It does feel a bit overwhelming the first time you run SnapDraw but you should be able to quickly get used to it. It doesn’t come with an extensive list of shapes to capture but it includes a transparent window with shadow mode that automatically produces a nice looking screenshot with a click without even using the image editor. It also adds a reflection by default which makes it look really nice.
Some of unique features found on SnapDraw are the ability to capture rounded corners under XP/Vista/7 and add a nice looking shadow around it. There are some nice annotation tools such as callouts, magnifier effect and etc with a list of library. It also support multiple monitor which is very useful for power users.
The only drawback I can think of for SnapDraw is it doesn’t have a scrolling capture method which is very useful to capture a long webpage and also the ability to upload to image hosting websites although custom FTP is supported.
Shotty is not really the most powerful free screen capture tool but it is the easiest to use with the right amount of features that’s not too much. It can capture windows in low or high quality and apply effects such as blurring, highlighting, cropping, resizing, watermarking and text annotation. Finally, you can save the screenshot to your computer, clipboard, print it out or upload to a selection of image hosting websites. In fact the image editor can also be used to edit external images, not only the ones that is captured with Shotty.
DuckCapture instantly attracted our attention when we trying to take a few sample screenshots with it. The unique feature is it allows you to add more screen captures to the areas of a screen capture and arranging it according to the way you want it to be. This is very useful if you want to take a few snippets of a page and combining them together without manually editing them in image editors. It also support scrolling capture which is very useful for long pages and also basic annotations arrows, text and etc. The results can be either printed, saved or copied to clipboard but no support for uploading to image sites.
Do take note that the hotkeys are disabled by default and can be enabled by clicking the Advanced Options and go to Keyboard tab. Oddly DuckCapture lacks of basic editing feature such as cropping, scaling and resizing. Supports Windows and Mac OS X.
LightShot offers some unique features that are not found on most screen capture software. The captured region can be instantly used to search for similar images on Google or Tineye. Other than that, LightShot uses an online image editor that looks like Photoshop with support for layers to edit screenshots. When saving the image after editing, you get to save to your computer or to online image hosting sites such as Flikr, Picasa or imm.io. The capture method is very limited as you can only take screenshot by selecting the region or full screen.
Pay extra attention during installation because the full installation method which is selected by default installs 3rd party search engine to your web browser. LightShot supports Windows, Mac OS and also browser extensions.
ShareXmod is a combination between ZScreen and ZUploader which means it can take screenshot and also upload to image hosting websites. It can capture many shapes but no support for scrolling method. You can also add effects such as torn paper, watermark and shadow border. The built-in Image Effects Studio is used to adjust (brightness, contrast, grayscale), manipulate (resize, rotate, scale) and filter (blur, shadow) images. For annotation, ShareXmod uses an external 3rd party program Greenshot image editing tool to do it.
6. Screenshot Captor
We wanted to settle for a list of 5 screenshot capture software but we thought that it wouldn’t be fair to leave out Screenshot Captor. Although it is not one of our favorites, but it has many satisfied and happy users especially those that require scanner support. The amount of options in this program is a bit overwhelming that would turn off basic users who are looking for powerful yet easy to use screen capture tool. Screenshot Captor supports uploading screenshots to image hosting sites through ShareX which we mentioned above.