Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Software Review - SnagIt 9 from TechSmith

Written by T. Michael Testi

SnagIt 9 is the latest release of TechSmith's screen capture program. With this version there have been quite a number of changes since the previous iteration, and this time it is really as much of a makeover as it is an upgrade. In fact, they have rebuilt SnagIt from the ground up.

SnagIt 9 runs on Microsoft Windows 2000 or later, requires Internet Explorer 6.0 or later, 1 GHz Processor (2.4 GHz is recommended), 512 MB RAM (1 GB Recommended), and 60 MB of Hard Drive space.

TechSmith originally started out in 1987 as a custom software company who developed for the Windows platform. Responding to a demand for screen capture utilities, they created SnagIt in 1991. Over time, SnagIt offered some video capture capabilities and these, in turn, became Camtasia in 1999. The current version of SnagIt (9.0) was released in June 2008.

SnagIt enables Windows computer users to capture anything they see on the screen. You can then edit and combine those screenshots and share them by using your favorite applications including Microsoft Office and via e-mail.

With SnagIt, if you can see it, you can capture it. Depending on the mode that you use it in, you can capture a small section of a screen, a whole window, multiple windows, or a whole scrolling webpage. There are 11 preset buttons that let you target what you want to capture, whether it's just a region, some text, or the whole enchilada. You can even create your own custom presets.

SnagIt lets you edit your captures by adding things like text and arrows, highlighting sections of your image. You can output to a printer, clipboard, file, e-mail, PDF, and Flash as well.

So what is new with SnagIt 9?

• New more fluid workflow – replaced the old linear workflow and now gives much more freedom to use SnagIt the way you want to. If you want to capture screen after screen, you can without having to save each shot before you go on to the next. If you want to capture and edit, you can. This is one of my favorite updated features to this version.

• Combining multiple images – now much easier using the open captures tray. You can drag and drop screen captures on to the canvas and make your edits, enhancements, and off you go.

• Auto store – a complement to the fluid workflow in that you can just capture, capture, capture. Everything is now stored for you. No longer do you have to save and rename before the next capture. When you are done, you can handle it all then. So much easier than ever before!

• Visual Search pane – now keeps track of what you have captured so you don't have to. If you can remember a detail like when you captured it or from what Web site, SnagIt will help you find it.

• Tags & Flags – lets you mark your projects so that when you are ready to put them all tog

ether you can find them. No need storing them in separate folders; just tag and flag them.

• New editing interface – heck it is a total UI makeover and makes it look and work in the new Microsoft Office 2007 ribbon style menu interface. One of the more challenging aspects of this version is figuring where things are now compared to the prior version, but once you get use to it, it is a snap.

SnagIt 9 is one of the most comprehensive and powerful screen capture applications available for Windows. It offers a lot of tools for organizing, simplifying, and editing your captures. It is incredibly easy to use, is customizable, and offers multiple views.

I work online a lot and I find that it is much easier to grab a screenshot, mark it up, and send it to someone than it is to try to describe something. If you prefer to try it before you buy it then there is a 30-day trial available. To purchase it new, it is $49.95 for a single user license. If you own a prior version it is $24.95 to upgrade. But until August 12, 2008, it is only $19.95.

If you find yourself capturing screenshots on a regular basis, then owning SnagIt 9 is a must. This is highly recommended.