On our site we have been using FastStone Capture for quite awhile, and it would be hard to create the quality screenshots without it. We last featured this software in our article comparing the different freeware screenshot applications, and of the ones mentioned this was no doubt our favorite. It has all of the typical features you would expect from a screenshot program, and has gotten even better with the new version 5.1 that was just released a few days ago:
It allows you to capture anything on the screen including windows, objects, full screen, rectangle regions, freehand-selected regions and scrolling windows/web pages. It has innovative features such as a floating Capture Panel, hotkeys, resizing, cropping, text annotation, printing, e-mailing, screen magnifier and many more.
It is actually insane the number of things that the software can do. In some of our recent posts I have been including thumbnails that have captions to them (the screenshots in this post also have captions). It makes it easier for users to identify what is going on in the screenshot without having to read through the post and look for references…and when it comes to thumbnails captions are priceless. They allow the user to know what the thumbnail contains before they even click on it. So how much of a pain is it to add these captions? They take about 5 extra seconds after you have configured them to your liking. You can choose whether the text is added to the top or bottom, a border can be added, the font can be changed, and there are several other options that you can tweak to make it look exactly how you want. There isn’t an actual thumbnail tool for making the small images, but there is a resize button that can get the job done just as fast.
There are some nice commercial screenshot applications like SnagIt, but we have tried most of them before and we still keep coming back to FastStone. The editor in SnagIt is a little more powerful, but the ease-of-use and customizability that FastStone offers meets our needs perfectly. When it comes to scaling images I find that FastStone does a far superior job and amazes me how much it prevents images from becoming blurry after reducing their size. Just look at the image below where the screenshot was scaled to nearly half its original size…all of the menus and buttons are still readable which is something that SnagIt always seemed to have troubles with.
I find that FastStone Capture has way too much to offer to be able to explain it all here. Have no fear…because all of their applications have portable versions so that you can test them out before you take the plunge and install them. With that being said they also have an Image Viewer that lets you add effects to your images as well as watch a musical slideshow (59 page tutorial available here). You also might want to checkout the Photo Resizer that’s available so that you can perform batch operations to your photos…now converting, renaming, and resizing images won’t be such a pain when you get home from your vacation and want to email the pictures to a friend!