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Snipping Tools

Often it is very useful to be able to snip all or part of your screen. You can send that snip to someone to explain what you are doing or you can incorporate that cut-out into another document as a graphic.

Snipping tools allow you to do that. The snip may be the entire screen or a specific section that you choose by clicking and dragging with your mouse. Most snipping tools allow the user to enhance the snip afterwards and it is these enhancements that make some tools more useful than others.

All the snipping tools described in this article are either free or very low cost and extremely easy to use. If you have not been using them, do not wait any longer.

All the snipping tools described in this article are
either free or very low cost and extremely easy to use.
If you have not been using them, do not wait any longer.

Windows Snipping Tools

Windows comes with two built-in screen capture options. The first one is the simple Print Screen utility that you invoke simply by pressing the ‘PrtScr’ button on your keyboard. It grabs a shot of the entire screen and stores it as a bmp graphic file. The software stops there and to enhance the shot, the user has to deploy other graphic tools.

The second option is the Snipping Tool. Search for Snipping Tool from your Start menu if you have not used it before. This program allows you to capture all or part of your screen and then enhance it with coloured pens, highlighter and eraser. You can also copy, save or email the snip. The Windows 10 version of the tool comes with a very useful new feature – the ability to delay the snip by a few seconds. This is very handy when you need to snip previously unsnippable items such as pop-up menus.


The snipping tool that I use most frequently is Skitch published by Evernote. I have found this program to have far superior annotation options than the Windows software. These include the ability to draw arrows and shapes (rectangles, rounded rectangles, ovals and lines), highlight and pixelate as well as place coloured markers anywhere on the snip. Additionally, it gives you a colour palette of eight different colours so that, for example, you can draw red rectangles in one area and blue circles in another.

Unfortunately, as a cost cutting measure Evernote decided to stop development of this product from January 2016. However, this should not stop anyone from using Skitch. I am certainly continuing its use as it is still the best free snipping tool I have ever used.

All the three snipping tools described above are free but some of the more sophisticated ones cost some money.

SnagIt – a new level of play

One such paid software worth considering

is SnagIt (costs US$49.95 from which takes screen capture to a completely new level of play.

SnagIt is not just an image capture program. It also comes with a basic but functional video-capture package and is packed with a lot more annotation and special effects tools than its free-to-download cousins are. If you are finding that screen capturing is something that you use often, or if video captures of your screen are also of value, then I have no hesitation in recommending that you purchase SnagIt. It is a very professional and polished product and allows you to do a lot more.

Free Technology Audit

Alan, if you are interested in having HTG conduct a complimentary technology audit for Houston Technology Group Gmail to identify all the lowest hanging technology fruits at your business, please let us know by clicking HERE. Most clients who have had this conversation with us have been surprised by how much productivity they can gain through implementing simple, low-cost technologies and software training.


Alan Chew

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