Being able to create screen captures of your desktop or parts of a web site are easy and a great way of enhancing your blog posts with images. The great news is there are numerous free tools for creating screen captures which offer a range of different features. This post reviews a range of these tools.
Kwout is an online web tool that you can use to create screenshots of web sites which retain the clickable links within the screenshot i.e. if you click on a link to a web site in the screenshot it takes you to that web site (check out the links on Vicki Davis’s Kwout). Unfortunately Kwout’s clickable links in the screenshots aren’t supported by all web sites.
Using Kwout is really simple. Read their instructions first then install the bookmarklet or FireFox Add-on as follows:
- For Internet Explorer users – right click on the bookmarklet and select “Add to Favorites”
- For FireFox users either:
To use the FireFox Add-on to take screenshots you just right click and select Quote this Page.
Picnik is a free online photo editor which is becoming increasingly popular especially since became integrated with Flickr. What many people probably don’t realise is that you can use Picnik to create screen captures by installing the Picnik FireFox Add-on.
Once the add-on has been installed you just right click on the web page and select Send Page to Picnik. An image of the visible page or full page is taken and sent to Picnik where you can edit to add notes to the image by clicking on the Create tab.
Skitch is a popular screen capture tool for Mac Users which allows the user to add notes to the image. Check out this post by Darren Draper for examples of Skitch screen shots. You can’t use Skitch on PCs.
Jing is a free program, by TechSmith, which you can use to instantly capture and share images (with notes if you like) and videos from your computer to anywhere. You can also share these images and screencasts free online at screencast.com. Check out their video tour to learn more about Jing and how to use.
People like using Jing because:
- It’s very easy to use
- Can be used on Macs and PCs
- It’s easy to share images and screencasts
- It creates superior quality screencasts – doesn’t change or diminish the resolution of your content like some screencast applications will. You can easily record the entire desktop and viewers will still be able to read the text in the screencast.
I get a lot of questions about which tools I use to create my screencaptures. The program I use is SnagIT, which does cost and can be purchased from TechSmith. I like using SnagIT because its really easy to use and provides more features than most of the free tools.
Comparison of The Screen Capture Tools
- Kwout is great for taking really quick screenshots that you can easily embed in blog posts but doesn’t provide the ability to add notes to images
- Picnik is an excellent solution for creating screen captures with notes if you need to use an online application.
- Neither Kwout or Picnik can be used take screen shots of applications that use Flash such as Wordle and some comic tools
- Both Jing and Skitch are excellent for adding notes to screen shots. Both these tools can be used to take screen shots of applications that use Flash such as Wordle
The screen capture tools I’ve listed were chosen based on those I found relatively easy to use. Please let me know if you recommend a screen capture tool that I haven’t included. Also make sure you check out the student-safe image tools that educators could use, other than Flickr, that readers have been recommending.
You might also like to check out all our posts on using images in blog posts.
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