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A Brief Overview of Snagit Screen Capture Utility

There are many screen capture utilities, but I’ve used Snagit for years and
continue to be impressed with its functionality and ease of use.

In this video for an Ask Leo! webinar, I’ll
walk through installing Snagit, and show off a few of its features.


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Hello, everyone this is Leo Notenboom for

In today’s video, we’re going to take a look at a subject of a recent
webinar: tools that I install first when I set up a new machine.

This video is going to cover Snagit. I’m going to download it, install it
and show you a few of its features. Snagit can be found at or as you
can see here at the website.

There’s a free trial; they ask for your email. As you can see, it’s
available for either Windows or for Mac OS X. As you can see, I’m using Google
Chrome as my browser so once the download completes, I’ll simply click on the
download here to run the program.

We do want to run that file; installation is pretty typical. There’s a
license agreement to be accepted; hit ‘Next’. It’s up to you whether or not you
want to help Snagit improve itself by collecting anonymous usage data (we’ll
decide later in this particular case). We’re gonna go for the 30 day

As always, I recommend you select ‘Custom’ to be able to choose things that
you might not otherwise know about. The installation location is correct. There
a number of different add-ons specifically for Snagit. I’m actually going to go
ahead and have them all be installed at this particular time. And we’re going
to go ahead and configure it to not only start Snagit when installation is
finished but also run Snagit automatically everytime Windows starts.

Naturally, Snagit is installing something and we will probably get a user
access control dialog to which we would say ‘yes’. And that’s it; Snagit’s been
installed. Now, what does that mean? In a moment we’ll see a new icon down in
the notification area and of course, Snagit’s own user interface and its
‘welcome’ message. Since we’re using a trial, it’s telling us of course that we
have 30 days left. For the moment we’re going to go ahead and just continue the

So, Snagit does a number of different things and in some cases it tries to
do them all at once and it’s actually pretty powerful. Most of the time, you’ll
actually not see this window so I’m going to go ahead and close it. As Snagit
points out, it’s still running down in the notification area.

So, Snagit is all about taking screenshots; it’s a screen capture utility.
How do you do that? Well, what Snagit does is it takes over the Print Screen
key. So if I now hit Print Screen, the Snagit UI pops up. This is the ‘capture’
UI and you’ll notice some interesting things happening as I move the mouse
around the window. You’ll see that different windows are being highlighted.
We’ll start with capturing an area. So if we want to simply capture the area, I
click; hold and now you can see the area that is being selected for the
capture. As soon as I release the mouse, Snagit’s editor fires up. Now this is
actually a really powerful little image editor that will work well for a number
of different things. The nice thing is that it’s very highly tailored of
course, to editing screen captures captured by Snagit.

I’m just going to leave that there for a moment and go on to show off a
couple of the other ways that Snagit can capture things. I’m going to hit Print
Screen again. What I want to draw attention to here is the way that the
rectangle that’s being highlighted is changing. Now normally you’ll think of
Windows programs as being a Window but in reality, Windows programs themselves
take advantage of Windows’ ability to manage…windows and actually compose
their display out of several what are actually separate windows. You can see
here that Snagit is highlighting the main content area in Chrome. Another
window that’s available in Chrome is the address bar; a separate window. And
finally in Chrome, at least, the entire program itself is, as you might expect,
a window. You can also go down and capture the task bar with this thing; the
start button; the notification area, the various little windows that are here
if you wanted to take pictures of them.

The reason that this is interesting is that it’s a very quick way to get an
accurate capture of a rectangle on the screen without you having to try and
carefully manipulate or move the pointer.

So what I’m going to do here is go ahead and click on this window and
release. And what Snagit has now captured is in fact, an image of what’s called
the Client Area or the Display area of the web page.

Now, one of the things that’s missing in a case like this is you can see
that it got only the part that was displayed where in fact, the window itself
is much longer. Snagit actually has a way of handling that. I’m gonna hit Print
Screen again and this time you’ll notice that there’s this little yellow ball
here with a couple of arrows on it, a couple of up and down arrows. That is to
capture as they call it, the scrolling area. Since this has a scroll bar,
Snagit knows how to capture, scroll down, capture and then paste everything
together. I’ll show you how that works by just clicking on it.

So now the top part of our capture looks very similar. But this time you’ll
see that it actually includes everything on that web page, even the part that
had scrolled below. So as you can see, those options alone make Snagit a pretty
powerful little screen capture utility. I want to highlight just a couple of
the options that are available.

‘All in One’ is the mode that we were using. You can, if you’re having
trouble with this All in One crosshair type scenario, you can select exactly
what you want: web page, automatic scrolling, free hand, copy to clipboard,
full screen captures which basically replicates the capture of the entire
screen much like Windows does itself then firing up the Snagit editor. There
are various options you can include, you can say I do or don’t want the mouse
pointer to be included. If you have something that is difficult to capture
because the act of capturing actually makes whatever you’re looking at go away,
you can tell Snagit to capture five seconds after I push the capture key to
give you enough time to set things up and then wait for Snagit to capture on
its own.

Like I said, several different options, several different ways of going
about this but fundamentally a really great way of capturing things on your
screen to Snagit’s editor. So let’s go back to Snagit’s editor because that’s
where I typically have a lot of fun.

You can see that we’ve got the last four captures down here. I’m sorry, the
last three; Snagit came with one preinstalled so-to-speak. This is the first
capture we did which is just the text on the Snagit screen. This is the capture
of the Snagit screen. The first thing we’re going to do is crop this image just
a little bit. Perhaps we only wanted to show the navigation portion of this
website up here in its upper left. So we will go ahead and just sort of click
and hold on the little tab there. That allows us to bring the right edge in and
then crops to where we drop it. And then the same thing on the bottom; the
little handle here; we pull it up and release and now we’ve got a portion of
the screen that we had captured.

Now, a lot of people often ask me how I get that torn effect on the images
that you put on Ask Leo! Well, this is where I do it: under ‘Image’ there are
various effects that you can do. Actually there’s quite a raft of them: torn,
curled, faded, etc…perspective. What I end up doing is I go down here to torn
effect; I set up how big I want the tear to be; how deep the shadow behind it
should be; where the shadow should be and what the direction the shadow should
assume the light is coming from; how big I want an outline of what’s left so if
I take the outline away you can see that the image becomes more ‘bare’ torn. I
tend to use a single pixel outline because I think it tends to make it look a
little bit better. And once I’ve configured the capture the way I want it to
be, I can then also add this particular configuration (the size of ‘3’; to the
lower right-hand corners; the shadow depth; light from this direction; the
width of my border; the color of my border) I can add that to Quick Styles. So
that will save me a step next time. I hit ‘Ok’ and this is what I have. I have
in fact, the torn effect of a screen capture, a portion of a screen I captured

So, another thing I often do is I will draw on top of this. For example, I
will often use circles although you can see there are many different shapes and
sizes you can use (excuse me, shapes and colors) you can use. I tend to use an
ellipse with a shadow and I’m going to highlight the word ‘Snagit’ here and you
can see I can choose, I can make the circle however big I want; I can move it
around after I’ve placed it. And once I drop it, it is where it’s going to be
including a little bit of a shadow to give it that 3-D look. Often, I’ll also
include a pointer. Well, pointers are very easy and once again, the default is
to include a shadow. Now as you can see, there are tons of options on pointers.
There are tons of options on call-outs. So, for example, if you want to have a
box above this in green that says ‘Snagit’ you can add that just that

It’s a great way to annotate the screen captures that you are making to make
a point, to point out specific features of whatever it is you are trying to
illustrate. In this particular case, I want that to go away.

And let’s see…other options. The stamp tool is an interesting one. I don’t
have my logo here. I have that installed on my main machine but what that
allows you to do is to overlay the image with a few pre-defined accents. For
example, if I wanted to include this the international ‘no’ symbol, I would
click on it and now wherever I leave it, it drops.

What you’ll notice I often do with my ‘Ask-Leo!’ logo which I do this same
way is that I’ll actually change it to be somewhat transparent. You can see
that this is solid 100% opacity. If I take it down to about 25% and drop it
again, you can see that whatever’s behind it shows through.

Snagit has the usual number of drawing tools: you can draw, you can
highlight, you can, of course, magnify, you can type on top of your image. You
can draw lines. As you saw earlier you can draw circles, boxes and other
shapes. You can fill areas with color and of course you can erase.

You’ll notice that one of the things that Snagit was highlighting in its own
marketing literature as we were installing this was the ability to include
transparencies. If you take a look closely you’ll see that the area around the
edge of what I’ve created here has this light grey checkerboard effect. That
actually indicates that that area is transparent so that when I drop that image
on a web page or a document whatever is behind the image or underneath the
image will actually show through. That allows me to actually give it a pretty
nice effect when I have it on top of my light web page, the whole thing, the
background, the white background just bleeds through and it looks like it’s
floating on top of the page.

Finally, the last thing I want to show here is Snagit’s Send feature. ‘Send’
allows you to take the image you’ve just created, however you’ve annotated it,
and send it to a document like Excel or Word or to PowerPoint or what I’m going
to do here is send it to is included with Snagit, access to it is anyway, and you are
then able to then upload, automatically whatever you’ve done to
So we’ll do that. As it turns out, yes, I already have an account. Once you’ve
logged in, the screen capture is uploaded and the URL is pasted in your
clipboard. A very quick way to find that out is to just go in and start Notepad
and hit ‘Edit’ ‘Paste’. That URL is a URL of that image on the web. You could
share that right now with anybody you wanted to. I’m going to copy it again,
although I guess I didn’t need to do that. Go over to my web browser and in a
new window, paste that URL. And what we have here is the screen capture that we
just took on the web for anyone to see. And in fact, I’m going to leave this
image up here for you to see so that you can see exactly what screen capture
and Snagit and all look like.

There are additional plug-ins available for Snagit that will also allow you
to upload to some of the more popular photo sharing sites including Flickr.
Snagit is one of those tools that I rely on heavily and I endorse heartily. Now
there are lots of screen capture utilities out there and while Snagit is not
free, let’s take a quick look and find out how much it is. It’s $49.95. I find
Snagit so powerful and so flexible that to me it’s worth every penny. I’ve been
using it for years. I’ve been staying up-to-date with the various feature
additions and I just can’t say enough good things about it. The little editor
that comes with it I find so powerful just on its own that I often take images
from other sources and use Snagit’s editor to annotate, highlight, add circles
and arrows and so forth to create annotated images.

That’s Snagit. As I said, I’m a true believer. I use it a lot and I
recommend it highly.

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5 comments on “A Brief Overview of Snagit Screen Capture Utility”

  1. Excellent stuff, thank you. Was looking for something like this to help tech-supporting my family. I’d really appreciate better micing though, the muddy off-mic audio was a little distracting.

  2. Leo, I’ve been having fun with picasa and flicker for a couple of years and can now see Snagit utilized in our business marketing. As always, I look forward to your next post as I’m always learning something new from you. Thank you

  3. Leo: SnagIt along with Total Commander are programs that I use every day. I’ve been using SnagIt it for years and couldn’t do with out it.

  4. Leo – For a number of years, I have used the “ctrl-printscreen” to capture screen images. I can then bring up WordPad or Word & paste the image. No neat editor but it is quick, easy and free.

  5. Hi Leo! I got the free version of SnagIt 7.2.5 that you told us about a few years ago. When my computer burned up, I lost it and now cannot figure out how to get it back. Is there any way to do this? Thanks!

    I wasn’t aware that there was a free version, only a free trial. Don’t have an answer for SnagIt specifically, (other than to me it’s worth the money). There are some free alternatives around, but I don’t have much experience with them so I can’t recommend one over another.


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