A Simple Solution For Capturing High Quality Computer Screen Images For Use In Print And Web Pages

    March 18, 2004

Easily capture computer screen images for use in books and web pages.

Have you ever found the perfect graphic to illustrate a presentation on a web page? Have you ever needed a way to capture screen shots of sites or applications? Have you ever needed to use screenshots to develop how-to guides, reports, and manuals? Or perhaps you needed to document error messages or teach someone how to complete a specific task?

In business, you want to be able to use those ideal images and web shots when you find them but that’s usually easier said than done. However, there are two ways that you can make it possible.

One of those ways already exists on your keyboard, and that’s the Print Screen Key. When you find a web page or image that you want to capture, you simply hit that key. Then, the image is copied onto your computer’s clipboard so that you can paste it onto the Windows Paint application (included with your operating system) or a similar program. The image will then be saved as a bitmap (BMP).

Of course, this method does have its limitations. For example, if the page or image you want to capture is larger than your screen, you won’t be able to use the whole thing since only the viewable area is copied onto the clipboard.

Another drawback is that not all applications can have their screens captured in this manner. Plus, the image quality may deteriorate if your screen resolution is set too high or if the image is too complex. Additionally, you cannot save the file in any other format.

A second option is a program like SnagIt which was designed specifically for image capturing. With this software, you can easily grab anything from a web page or application that you want to use. When you find something you want to capture, you would open the SnagIt program and specify what you want to capture.

Unlike the Print Screen Key, you can capture whole pages, certain sections, just text, and even parts that require scrolling. After you decide what parts you want to use, you simply click on the HotKey you’ve specified. Then, you can edit it and even add modifications such as arrows to point to something specific on the image.

Once you finish editing it, you can save it in any of the more than 20 file formats including GIF, JEPG, and TIF. These files can be sent to other programs, to others via email, or to your printer. All of the screen shots you capture and save are then organized and made easy to view by the program’s Catalog Viewer so you don’t have to browse through your entire hard drive to find them.

SnagIt also lets you capture images showing on-screen activity and gives you the option of applying a date stamp to these files you create. The program also allows you to alter the colors of images, add watermarks, crop images to fit your size specifications, and enhance it with borders and other additions.

Obviously, the SnagIt program does have advantages over the Print Screen Key, but the final choice really depends on whether the added features will be useful for your specific needs. Whether you work in marketing and need to compare competitor’s sites side by side or you work in web design and want a client to review the site before it goes public, image-capturing abilities may be your best friend.

Educators, engineers, trainers, customer service representatives, even technical writers can also benefit from being able to grab and use screen shots and images for their own purposes. How they, or you, go about it depends on whether they want to rely on the Print Screen Key or give software like SnagIt a try.

Cavyl Stewart is the author of “135 Hot Tech Tips for Small
Business Owners.” To Download your free copy, just visit: