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TechSmith SnagIt review: TechSmith SnagIt

TechSmith SnagIt

CNET Reviews staff

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4 min read
(Updated 7/16/02)
Editors' note:
Since this review posted, TechSmith released a SnagIt 6.1 upgrade. It includes several new features, including a Print Capture tool, which lets you capture any Windows document and transport it directly into SnagIt.


Forget Alt+PrtScn for capturing screens. What if you want to document an open menu or only a certain toolbar? Renowned screengrab utility SnagIt 6.0 lets you perform complex screen captures and also has many other features, such as batch-converting files and saving to multiple outputs (we'll explain later). The new version snags images from Web pages in one process, gives gamers the ability to capture apps that use DirectX technology, and adds some color-effect filters. Unless you need to convert images to unsupported formats such as Mac files, SnagIt meets all of your needs, whether you require an occasional screenshot or you're creating extensive documentation. (Updated 7/16/02)
Editors' note:
Since this review posted, TechSmith released a SnagIt 6.1 upgrade. It includes several new features, including a Print Capture tool, which lets you capture any Windows document and transport it directly into SnagIt.


Forget Alt+PrtScn for capturing screens. What if you want to document an open menu or only a certain toolbar? Renowned screengrab utility SnagIt 6.0 lets you perform complex screen captures and also has many other features, such as batch-converting files and saving to multiple outputs (we'll explain later). The new version snags images from Web pages in one process, gives gamers the ability to capture apps that use DirectX technology, and adds some color-effect filters. Unless you need to convert images to unsupported formats such as Mac files, SnagIt meets all of your needs, whether you require an occasional screenshot or you're creating extensive documentation.

Capturing all kinds of screens
SnagIt's straightforward interface helps you choose just about any type of capture you need. To choose a type, press the Image, Text, Video, or Web button. Then select your input options through the Input menu. For example, Image Capture's settings let you grab a screen, an active window, a fixed region, an object, or a custom region that you draw yourself. If you need some help, the Quick Start wizard walks you through capturing a screen, a window, or a region. It doesn't help you with any advanced options, but SnagIt is so easy to use that we doubt you'll even touch the wizard. Advanced options let you acquire images from scanners, digital cameras, or apps--such as certain games--that use DirectX.

Next, select your output settings through the Output menu and click the Capture button (or hot key combination) to activate the screenshot. The coolest thing about the output settings is that you can pick several simultaneous outputs; for example, you can send a capture to a printer or e-mail, or you can convert it to a file--all in one step. Supported output formats include GIF, JPEG, PCX, PNG, TIFF, TXT, and AVI. Despite that long list, we'd like to see SnagIt expand its output file formats by including Photoshop files (PSD), PostScript files (EPS), Mac formats, and others. The more image formats that are supported, the more places you can port your files to without needing any other image editor--and that's always good. (By contrast, competitor FullShot supports 18 output formats.)

SnagIt also offers a handful of filters that let you do all sorts of tweaking automatically (during the capture). Image Capture, for instance, lets you convert colors and resolution and add color effects such as brightness, contrast, and more. So you can snag any image and even make it look better while you're at it. Nice.

Tweaking afterward
The Catalog Browser is a handy thumbnail viewer where you can batch-process files--that is, apply one or many changes to a whole set of images. The feature is impressive; we selected 41 GIF, JPEG, and PNG files, set them to a higher resolution and a different color depth, and converted them to TIFFs all in one step. SnagIt processed all 41 images in about three seconds, too (on a Windows 2000 machine with a 750MHz processor). You can also annotate a photo by selecting it and opening SnagIt Studio (File > SnagIt Studio), dragging pointers to the file, and exporting it. Integrating capture tools with a thumbnail viewer and editing program make SnagIt perfect for those who don't want to buy an image editor on top of their screen-capture program.

More than just screen captures
SnagIt's new Web Capture tool really stands out. This feature lets you grab all the GIF, JPEG, and PNG files off a Web site at one time. (To capture a Web screenshot, use Image Capture with the AutoScroll feature.) Using Web Capture's output settings and batch-conversion features, you could use SnagIt to acquire, convert, and process your Web images for another medium entirely, such as a software manual you're designing in QuarkXPress. The new feature is impressive; however, you can't output automatically to anything other than a file or the Catalog, and you can't convert images to a different format as they're being captured. Still, think about how long it would take to right-click and save 41 images from the Web individually! We can't wait for future versions. (And, lucky us, the next two point upgrades--to versions 6.1 and 6.2--are free for owners of 6.0.)

The $39.95 SnagIt is cheap and simple enough to use for the occasional screenshot, but it also works well for those who need to do big jobs regularly. Unless you use a Mac or need to output to an unsupported format, bypass Alt+PrtScn and use SnagIt instead.

--by Kim Wimpsett

SnagIt lets you capture images, text, videos, and Web images. This Image Capture has been set up to output to multiple places: a printer, a file, the Windows Clipboard, and the SnagIt Catalog.



Forget Alt+PrtScn for capturing screens. What if you want to document an open menu or only a certain toolbar? Renowned screengrab utility SnagIt 6.0 lets you perform complex screen captures and also has many other features, such as batch-converting files and saving to multiple outputs (we'll explain later). The new version snags images from Web pages in one process, gives gamers the ability to capture apps that use DirectX technology, and adds some color-effect filters. Unless you need to convert images to unsupported formats such as Mac files, SnagIt meets all of your needs, whether you require an occasional screenshot or you're creating extensive documentation.

8.0

TechSmith SnagIt

The Good

New Web Capture feature takes shots of entire Web pages; simultaneous multiple output; scrolls screen automatically; includes image annotator and catalog/thumbnail viewer.

The Bad

Weak wizard; fewer output file formats than competitors; no Mac version.

The Bottom Line

SnagIt is simple enough for beginners to use but powerful enough for those who need to batch-process captures, output to multiple formats, and grab irregular screen regions.
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