There was a long period in my checkered career as someone who works with and writes about Windows, where I simply couldn’t get by without a high-end screen capture tool. For most of that period, in fact, TechSmith’s outstanding SnagIt was my tool of choice for such things. But when Microsoft added the Windows Snipping tool to Windows Vista back in January, 2007, my appetite for high-end, high-dollar screen capture programs started to abate.
Sure, there are things you can do with such tools that no simple screencap utility can match — such as the ability to capture entire Web pages to an image including what’s off the screen as well as what’s on it, the ability to time the “snapshot” so that users can mouse over to active objects and cause them to appear for inclusion in screen captures, not to mention tools for cropping, annotating, rotating, and working on the resulting image files.
I still keep SnagIt around, but was amused that I hadn’t renewed my license for it when I fired it up the other day. That’s because for most of my needs — static screencaps to enliven my blog posts, UI snapshots to explain systems and programs, bits and pieces of photos or artwork to add visual interest to my prose, and so forth — I don’t need the kinds of advanced features that a high-end screencap utility can deliver. And such capabilities come with certain costs, above and beyond the purchase precise and license renewals: such programs go into the startup lineup, run constantly in the background, take over global hotkeys for activation and use, and so on.
That’s why I was tickled to see a “Delay” option show up on the (miniscule) menu bar for Snipping Tool in the RTM version of Windows 10. It looks like this:
On the menu bar, Delay now appears between New and Cancel.
Though this new capability might not sound like much (and only offers delays from 0 to 5 seconds, in whole second increments), it provides the ability to request a screen shot, and then offers users time to mouse over to a program or Web page, open a menu or pull-down list or whatever, and capture that dynamically produced information for posterity. Here’s a snap that shows what I’m talking about, taken from the GoSquared Windows 10 marketshare graphs I wrote about in my previous blog:
What you can now do with Snipping Tool is set a delay, then go off to a program or Web page, and capture pop-up info, like the stats read from the Win10 tracking curve shown here.
This is a great little feature, often useful, and provides yet one more reason why I’m thinking about not renewing my SnagIt license, though I do really like the program. However, in a delicious irony, that thinking is countered by my observation that Snipping Tool adamantly refuses to make a snapshot of itself: I had to use my extended trial version of SnagIt to capture the first of the two screen shots that appear in this very blog post. LMAO!
[Note added 9/2/15 11:15 AM CDT] OK, so by researching my E-commerce folder in e-mail I was able to ascertain that I’d upgraded my license with 1 year extended support for SnagIt on 8/26/2015. Five days after the cutoff, I went to the TechSmith website and found myself still able to qualify for update pricing on the software ($25 for another year, plus $13 for another year’s worth of upgrade access). I went ahead and upgraded because the tool is too handy to have around but for those who don’t need its more advanced features (I do, sometimes) or who don’t need to take snapshots of the Snipping Tool itself (ha! ha!), SnagIt may be overkill, however great a tool it happens to be…