Free screenshot capture software run the gamut from the most simple and perfunctory to sophisticated programs rich in features and functions. Screenshot Captor belongs in the latter category, and is without a doubt the most complex and advanced free program of it’s kind.
This program is not new and in fact has has been around for a long time; however, a recent update added a slew of interesting features, such as perfect capture of Windows 7 partial transparency effects and a good scrolling capture tool for capturing entire websites. Other features include a powerful editor for image annotation, watermarking as well as the application of a slew of post-capture effects, multi-monitor support, repeat last capture, uploading to file sharing services, and others.
This program has everything you would expect from an advanced screenshot program, such as grabbing active window/ selected region/ windows object, keyboard hotkeys, etc., and many things that you wouldn’t. There are some features such as uploading to file sharing services which I don’t particularly care about. Below are some PROS and CONS which will cover the most noteworthy features.
PROS: Things I like about this program:
- The ability to repeat the last capture, because I use it frequently. Sounds like one of the simplest and most obvious functions to have, but only 2 or 3 free screenshot capture programs offer this, and Screenshot Captor is one of them.
- The ability to delay capture by x number of seconds: another hallmark of a good screenshot program. It is also extremely useful and in many cases the only way to actually grab the screenshot you need. You can request this in Screenshot Captor’s options (in pre-capture options). You can also request timed auto-capture screengrabs if you want.
- Capturing scrolling Windows (for example to grab entire websites or documents rather than the top visible section). A handful of freeware screenshot programs offer this, but in Windows 7 using Chrome I have found they mostly do NOT do a good job. Screenshot Captor claims to have one of the best tools around to do this. This may be the case, but I will say that it can be somewhat complicated and may require a string of experiments before you get a perfect grab. A winning feature nonetheless (for a tutorial, see this page).
- Good capture of Windows 7 transparency: in ‘grab active window’, although by default it will strip any background from the screenshot and use a white background with a black margin around the screenshot. This can be changed in preferences/Window capturing 1 and then changing the value of the margin around the window.
- Auto selection of foreground windows, which it does when performing a screengrab, and makes it easy to apply some of the effects nicely, such as dimming or blurring the background or highlighting the foreground, etc.
- The editor: once you’ve snapped your image, Screenshot Captor is remarkable in terms of what you can do with it, including background blurring, quick shadows, annotation, highlighting, applying watermarks, applying clip art, etc. I am usually in favor of a having pure screenshot taking app and using an external editor to modify the output; the editor in Screenshot Captor, however, is in a league of its own.
- The interface: given that this is a complex program with a lot of features, they generally did a good job with the interface design (see the screenshots above). Little touches here and there enhance the user experience (see screenshot below).
- It is constantly being improved and developed: and remains free (donationware actually).
CONS: Things I do not like about this program:
- Missing: a zooming/magnifying glass displaythan can deliver a large pixel-sized detail of the cursor position when grabbing a selected region. This is something that I find crucial for fine ‘selected region’ screenshots, and that many good free screenshot capture programs miss. Unfortunately Screenshot Capture is one of them. Of course, you could always over-capture the screenshot area and finesse it later in the editor section, but you shouldn’t have to. A pity.
- The user experience is a tad too complex: which might seem like it runs contrary to my praise of the interface – #7in PROS section above (It does). However, the editor and preferences section are a bit too cluttered and hard to navigate. This program is the best free screenshot taking program out there, and I am convinced that the interface could be better. Or I am being a picky reviewer, which is possible.
- You have to register with DonationCoder and get a free registration key, updated every 6 months. Which is not really a big deal, since we love DonationCoder.
The verdict: there are two or three free screenshot taking apps that are the best (PicPick comes to mind); but Screenshot Captor is undoubtedly the leader of the pack.
It may not be everyone’s first choice, though, precisely because it is so feature rich. I have been known, for example, to recommend the last freeware version of Faststone Capture to, for example, coworkers or family members who are not very computer savvy, and who just want something simple and good.
But, like I said, if you are looking for the best in class, get ‘Screenshot Captor’.
Version tested: 3.00.01
Go to the program home page to download the latest version (~7.87 megs). You will have to register with DonationCoder and get a free serial number.