This content is 17 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

For the last few days, I’ve been writing a migration process for an Active Directory and Exchange migration that I’m working on.

It shouldn’t be necessary to cram documents for technical people full of screenshots but experience tells me that:

  • It’s what many IT team leaders expect.
  • If you don’t provide lots of pictures then people don’t follow the process correctly.

Unfortunately, experience also tells me that:

  • People don’t follow the process correctly anyway.
  • Adding many screenshots to a document greatly increases the time it takes to produce the process and the cost of maintaining it.

Anyway, getting back to the point, I’ve just written a document with a lot of screen shots in it. It makes very dull reading (and it wasn’t much fun to write either) but the process of taking the screenshots was greatly improved using the SnagIt screen capture software from TechSmith.

Why not just stick with Alt+PrtScr? Because that needs me to paste the screen grab into something afterwards (and before someone leaves a comment – yes, I do know that Linux and Mac users can just save a .PNG file to the desktop). SnagIt will let me select the region of the active window that I want to grab (e.g. just a particular menu), control output of the screenshot, name it for me, put it in a folder, etc. and generally save me a load of time.

6 thoughts on “SnagIt

  1. I prefer mwsnap: small, no installation, hotkeys, auto-saving, and all the good image formats are supported. I use it for my all my chock full o’ screenshot documents.

  2. Im actually a big fan of Cropper over snagit or just alt-printscreen.

    I found it easier to use screenshots with the instructions make the screen look like the documentation.

    Screenshots are also great the setup of programs, just so there is a record of what settings were used (when helpful install logs arent provided).

  3. Of course, if you’re running Vista, there’s a free alternative supplied as part of the Tablet PC Optional Features called Snip, which allows you to do at least some of what you want.

    (Apologies for the late reply, but heck, it’s been Christmas, I’m entitled to some time away!).

  4. Thanks for all the suggestions – especially for pointing out that I already have a tool available in Windows Vista (Doh!).

    I’m still not convinced about the need to screenshot every step in a process though… if it needs that much work then it’s worth scripting – as I’m sure Dave would agree ;-)

  5. At the risk of diverting this comment to a debate on the need to automate all parts of a build, I completely agree, but I’m generally of the opinion that scripting should be considered as the status quo.

    That said, there’s always a balance between ‘how many times are you going to do something?’, ‘how hard is it to do correctly?’, ‘how much faith do you have in the people doing it?’ and ‘how much does it cost me to automate the process’… Perhaps a topic for a future post Mark?

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