Snagit Screen Capture Software For Mac & PC

I’ve just been demoing Snagit screen capture software by TechSmith, makers of Camtasia, and felt another software review was in order! Which do I prefer in the Snagit vs LittleSnapper capture war? Read on to find out!

Since my recent testing and use of Camtasia:mac, I’ve been trying out another product for screen capture on a Mac – Snagit, by the same company who make Camtasia. There’s a similar story to my testing process here; I’ve used the native OS X Grab app, Snapz Pro X and my long-term favourite, LittleSnapper. All of these have their plus points or little features that I like:

  • OS X Grab – I often use it for a quick measurement, using the crosshair realtime pixel count to check styling on a website for example.
  • Snapz Pro X – being able to resize the capture (with measurements) before taking it and the handy hex colour identifier.
  • LittleSnapper – Really easy naming and tagging of images within the app.

But, Snagit seems to have a more complete feature set that has been designed to meet the needs of people wanting to make screen captures with simplicity in mind. It is available for both Mac and PC and you can download a trial version here on the TechSmith website.

Getting Started With Snagit

first launching snagitThe first time you launch Snagit after installing, you are greeted with a prompt that appears at the right-hand edge of your screen. This is the Capture Window, and it hides itself neatly away when not in use. You can drag it up and down the edge of your screen, move it over to the left, undock it or hide it altogether. Already, I’m hiding it and using the icon that appears in the menu bar, but it is good to have the choice!

Snagit will let you capture pictures and video and you use the keyboard shortcuts ctrl + shift + c for pictures, or ctrl + shift + v for video. Simple enough to remember and you can customise them if you prefer. There are additional shortcuts to quickly capture windows and menus. (There is an option to capture from a webcam too, but on a Mac with Photo Booth built-in, that is a bit of a redundant option. Still, it’s there if you want it.)

Once you opt for a screen capture, orange guides appear and intelligently snap around your windows to make selections easier. Like Snapz, there is a magnified Loupé which gives you a readout of the dimensions. (If only it had the hex picker too, then I wouldn’t need the ColorZilla browser extension!)

In the Safari browser, Snagit is able to select icons, address bars, tabs and graphic elements automatically – what a treat!

In a browser window, you have the option to capture the whole page as scrolling down, left/right can be included in the capture.

Editing Your Captures

snagit editor windowYou can set Snagit to open your captures immediately in the built-in editor. This is the real powerhouse behind the software and the options here will bring a big smile to your face!

The screen shot or capture appears in the middle, with tools/effects and properties to the right and the tray where your captures and media (you can open other images to add to your file) are collected at the bottom. Selected items in the tray display their measurements but they can be cropped and the surrounding canvas expanded. This is really useful if you want to add background or floating elements. The tray can be tucked away too if you are on a smaller screen. My only issue with the tray (and indeed Snagit itself (!) involves the renaming of captures. You have to right-click on a Mac and Reveal In Finder to get at the file name. The other option is when you drag a file out on to the Desktop and can rename it there. It’s a little thing and tied in to the way that the files are considered to be project files until you export or drag them out.

Edge effects in SnagitEdge effects can be applied to your captured images – rough torn edges, smooth waves, or sawtooth zig-zags and you can control which edges the effect is applied to, along with the size of the effect and how much it eats into your picture. Some of the effects like perspective, reflection and colour filters seem a bit cosmetic, but maybe for some they will be very welcome and much-used.

One option I find really useful is the ability to make and remove or reposition sections of a page.

This is extended in the Tools with cursor option; if you have chosen to include it in your capture you can reposition it and scale it – genius!

There are plenty of tools which make this a fully-fledged editor, with the ability to change colours, stroke widths and add shadows to your elements:

snagit tools

  • Selections
  • Annotations
  • Arrows/Lines/Freehand scribbles/highlighter pens
  • Blur/eraser
  • Fill colours
  • Callout boxes

This is way more than those found in LittleSnapper, and as a bonus, the arrows have a control anchor in the middle of the line so you can bend them to shape! There are also a ton of stamps, with everything from interface elements, keyboard keys to mouse-click icons and drawn symbols. More are available here on the TechSmith website and you can always open your own files if you want to add custom elements.

Video Capture

I’m going to gloss over this part really quickly, because Snagit is an excellent utility if you don’t have anything else. One handy feature is the ability to turn a frame into a capture. Beyond that, if you want any effects, tools or editing options you are advised to use Camtasia. Read my review of that on this page.

Exporting And Sharing Your Captures

Snagit offers plenty of options for sharing your files and the available options change to suit your capture. You can customise the main buttons, dragging icons into your preferred order.

snagit export options

The + symbol allows you to export to Microsoft Office products. I’m not sure if these work as I don’t use use them, but it would be good to have a Pages or OpenOffice option included.

You can also set in the preferences which file format your captures are saved as when you drag them out of the tray on to your Desktop. Options are png, jpg, bmp, tiff and gif. The tiff option is good if you are taking captures to use in a DTP app such as InDesign and I wonder if psd could be added?

Overall, this is a very good app and with only limited use, I can already say I believe this is the perfect screen capture tool for anyone who needs to share screen shots with clients, family or friends.

You can either buy Snagit here through the Mac App Store for £34.99 or directly through the TechSmith website for £36.95 inc VAT. (Both links are to the GBP-priced versions.)

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3 Comments

  1. April Foster

    I have been using Camstudio for a while now and love it.

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