Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
|When writing articles for
the newsletter, I often include screenshots which
illustrate a particular operation or
configuration on the computer.
Windows includes a function for taking screen captures, but it is pretty rudimentary. You can press the Print Screen button on your keyboard to capture the full desktop, or Alt-Print Screen to capture just the active window. You can then paste the screenshot into any application that can handle a graphic.
Over ten years ago I went looking for a free program that would be a bit more capable. I came across Printkey and it did a nice job. Unfortunately, they switched to a commercial model and new versions are no longer free.
A couple of years ago, my search for a replacement found Greenshot; a free and open source program. This review is based on release candidate 2 for version 1.1.
Greenshot is available in many languages and has been downloaded more than 2 million times. Currently, there are over 100,000 downloads per month, so it seems many others find the program useful as well. The program is tiny; the installer is 1.2MB and the installation takes under 3MB. The .NET Framework v2 or greater is required. The installer will check and install it if required.
Greenshot loads as an icon in the system tray when you start Windows, so it is always available. You interact with it by clicking on the tray icon or through user-definable hot-keys.
Tray icon menu
To capture any rectangular area on the screen, select Capture region from the menu or press the hotkey (default: Print Screen) and cross hairs will appear on screen. Move the cross hairs to a corner of the region you want to capture, click and hold the mouse button, and drag out a box defining the area you want to capture. As you drag, the capture area appears as a teal-shaded box, making it easy to see what will be captured. As well, two other visual cues help. First, there are numbers that appear above and to the left of the teal box showing the dimensions of the box in pixels. Second, there is a circle offset from the box which shows a highly magnified image of the area currently under the cross hairs. These two cues allow you to be very precise in capturing exactly what you want.
|Another common capture
method is window mode. It allows you to easily
take a snap of a single application window or a
sub-window such as a toolbar or an edit field.
Once activated, as you move the mouse around, the
teal box will show what will be captured when you
click the mouse button.
Window mode capturing a toolbar
If you ever
wanted to do a screen capture of a web page but
the web page is too large to be seen in its
entirety, you will appreciate the option Capture
Internet Explorer. It will grab an entire web
page as a single image, even portions that you
would normally have to scroll to see.
Greenshot image editor
If parts of your
image contain sensitive information, such as a
password or bank account number, there is an
obfuscate tool which can pixelate or blur parts
of the image. You can control the degree of
System requirements: Windows XP/Vista/7/8, .NET Framework 2.0 or better
Price: Free and open source (GPLv2)
Web site: http://getgreenshot.org
Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON K2G 1S6
opinions expressed in these reviews do not necessarily
represent the views of the OPCUG or its members.
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