Web Browser Wednesday

Sometimes it’s hard to grasp just how valuable something as simple as a screenshot can be. When we first started writing on CyberNet we didn’t always focus on providing screenshots of the things that we wrote about, but it didn’t take long for us to see that they often got our point across more than words ever could. And that is part of what’s made our site as successful as it is.

So what about taking screenshots yourself? Sure there are all kinds of applications out there to do it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the screenshots you want to take are only of websites. If that’s the case and you’re a Firefox user then this is the article for you! Today we’ve got two different Firefox extensions that will appeal to both novices and professionals alike.

–Abduction (Homepage)–

First up is Abduction. This extension is rather different from the other one below. It’s not geared towards the people who want a screenshot utility brimming with features. Instead it focuses on how it can make snapping screenshots as easy as possible.

To activate Abduction just go to the File menu or right-click anywhere on the current site, and then choose the Save Page as Image option. You’ll immediately be shown a window similar to this one:

(Click to Enlarge)

Immediately after snapping the screenshot the entire site will be highlighted. That means if you hit the Save button without making any changes you’ll be including everything on the page… even the areas you would have had to scroll to see. That can easily be changed by drawing a box around the area that you want the screenshot to capture.

Abduction also lets you choose whether to save the screenshot as a PNG or JPG depending on what filetype is your preference. That’s it. No fancy interface and nothing to confuse you. Just snap your screenshots and go!

–FireShot (Homepage)–

FireShot, on the other hand, takes a completely opposite approach to screenshots. It’s possible to grab snapshots of a website in mere seconds, but it comes with a lot of additional tools that some users may not want. In particular it has a built-in editor that is extremely handy should you decide that you want to annotate a screenshot.

Here’s a list of features that I assembled after using FireShot for a little while:

  • You can take a screenshot of the entire site (including scrollable area) or just the area currently visible. And then:
    • Modify the screenshot using the built-in editor
    • Upload it to where it will be hosted completely free
    • Save it to your computer
    • Copy it to the clipboard
    • Open it in an external editor that you specify
  • Built-in advanced editor
    • Add shapes, drawings, lines, or text to any screenshot
    • Crop, blur, convert to grayscale, invert colors, or add a glowing border to any area you select on the screenshot
    • Color-picker available when selecting colors, which makes it easy to match any color on a screenshot
  • One-click screenshots are available using the settings you specify in the options.
  • You can automatically have a website URL added as a removable object to each screenshot

The editor aims to keep things simple, but it has a lot of different controls that take a little getting used to. Here is what the editor looks like:

(Click to Enlarge)


The Firefox extension that you choose to use for taking screenshot really depends on what you’re looking to accomplish. If you just want to share a screenshot with someone I recommend Abduction because I found it to be a fast and efficient way to save a screenshot. However, if you need to point things out and need some more advanced tools FireShot will better suit you. Whichever you choose you really can’t go wrong!