Screen capturing programs are not new. What used to be mostly a tool of technical writers has expanded significantly to become much more appealing to many others. Consider leaving ALT-PRT SCN behind and investing a small payment (usually under $50) to empower your business in a variety of ways:
- Screen Capturing. As mentioned, the software will allow you to grab a screenshot – which is an image – of anything viewable on your PC. This is usually user-controlled, in that you can control what size area you grab.
- Video Tools. Some programs have the ability to capture screen action, such as software demonstrations, so that a viewer can see how something works in real-time.
- Editing. Any self-respecting screen-capture program should have some basic editing features, letting you add graphics such as arrows and text boxes, as well as text, to your images and/or video. This gives you a chance to make images more inviting or tutorials easier to follow.
So what could you use this for?
- Capturing and creating images and video will increase your business’s ability to communicate, whether through a website or in your user documentation, anything that clearly and simply explains concepts and instructions will go a long way to establishing client loyalty.
- If you create training documents for your clients or your company, being able to manipulate screenshots is a great way of making text-only instruction sheets much more interactive and interesting for your audience.
- Also, this is a great tool to help keep everyone in your company on the same page…or image, or video. Some screen-capture programs will tie in with other software, allowing you simple sharing via e-mail, FTP, or a variety of other programs.
What programs are out there? Several, actually…
- SnagIt 11 is one of the best ones from a bang-for-your-buck perspective. At just under $50, you get image capturing, video tools, and simple sharing tools, as well as a really good editing ability for the pricetag. SnagIt is made by TechSmith, the same people that make Camtasia Studio, a powerful screen recording program. SnagIt 11 has a free trial.
- HyperSnap only works with image capturing, and is therefore a bit less expensive ($40), but is very easy to learn. HyperSnap also has a free trial.
- ScreenHunter Pro 6 is only $30, but there’s also a Plus version ($20) and Free version as well, giving you a wide variety to choose from.
- Check out more programs here; there’s plenty of them out there. The above three should be more than adequate to get you started in the right direction.
As with any program, you’d probably ask “Which one’s best?” That’s up to you and your needs; check out the above sites and see what you think. Download the free trial(s) and take them for a test drive, and if they meet your needs, invest a little dough into making your documentation and communications high-quality and user-friendly.