Take better screenshots
Most modern operating systems and games have some sort of basic screenshot or clipping capability built in, but sometimes, you need more advanced tools. Some capture apps and plugins (most of them free) allow you to refine your capture by selecting the active window, a portion of the screen or even an entire Web page (beyond just what appears in the browser window). From simple capture and edit tools to nimble portable programs and feature-packed professional suites, there's sure to be something here to fit your needs.
Awesome Screenshot (Chrome, Firefox) is a feature-packed freemium browser-based screenshot tool that does a good job of covering your web-based screenshot needs. Users can take screenshots of the visible portion of their browser window or the entire web page, and then use the built-in image editor to add annotations, blur sensitive data, and share the screenshot to social media, cloud storage, or saved to your drive. Awesome Screenshot also offers free support for uploading to Google Drive and the ability to capture 30-second screencasts; subscribers to premium plans unlock more cloud storage options and collaboration tools, depending on the subscription tier.
Windows Snip & Sketch
Before you go looking for an external screenshot app, consider one that may very well be already baked into your OS if your using Windows. Windows Snip & Sketch has been available as part of an October 2018 update, and you can also pick it up through the Microsoft Store. Snip & Sketch is a step up from your basic printscrn button, with built-in annotation and sharing tools. To snip a screengrab, press the Windows key + Shift + S, opening up a quick toolbar for quickly grabbing a rectangular, freeform, window or fullscreen snip. That saves the screenshot to your clipboard, with the option of launching Snip & Sketch to add annotations and highlights, as well as options to save or share your screenshot. You can also open external images to annotate with Snip & Sketch’s tools, or just use Snip & Sketch’s selection tools to create screengrabs that you then edit in your favorite image editor.
Like Awesome Screenshot, the Fireshot utility for Firefox and Chrome allows users to take screen captures across the visible area of the browser window, a selected area of a page, or even an extended screenshot of an entire Web page. Screenshots can be saved in a variety of formats or uploaded to several social media sites. With Fireshot's internal editor you can add arrows, shapes or text, or draw on the image. Additionally, you can set Fireshot to automatically open your favorite external image editor when you take screencaps.
Ashampoo Snap 11 ($25)
Ashampoo Snap 11 is another powerful photo and video capture tool that's aimed squarely at professional users. You can capture screenshots of the entire screen, regions, windows, and also record video from the screen, video game, or a webcam session, Skype call, or other video stream. You're then able to quickly annotate or edit the resulting output. Snap comes with a wealth of selection and editing tools for applying effects and annotations; it can also call up external apps like Photoshop so you can quickly switch to your preferred editing suite. Snap 11 is a solid premium screenshot app, but if you’re looking for a free option, you can also consider checking out the older Ashampoo Snap 2018, available for free.
Another good browser-based option is Nimbus Screenshot, available on Chrome, Firefox, and as a Windows and Mac application. Users can take a screenshot of the entire browser window, a selected region, or an entire webpage. Built-in tools allow users to annotate and edit screenshots. Images can be printed out, saved to your drive or clipboard, or uploaded to cloud storage services for easy sharing. The desktop version adds screencasting functions for recording video clips.
Screenshot Captor is a pretty feature-packed piece of freeware with a variety of screen capture options and a built-in editing tool. Users can take captures from the entire screen, active window, a selected region, or even pull images from a scanner. From there, you can crop, rotate, blur, annotate, and apply other special effects. The app is also available in an install-free portable version. Screenshot Captor is freeware, though you will need to sign up to DonationCoder's forum for a free license key.
Faststone Capture (30-day free trial, $19.95)
Faststone Capture is a shareware screenshot capture tool from the same team behind the really neat FastStone Image Viewer. A floating toolbar lets you get at all the quick capture modes, or you can stick to hotkeys for one button screencapping. The app supports capture of multiple windows, multi-level menus, and video capture, and users can annotate images with text, objects, arrows, and special effects. Users can save images in a variety of formats, acquire images from a scanner and more.
Snipaste (from "Snip and Paste") is a multipurpose screen snipping and pasting tool that allows you to capture entire windows or selections. You can then either use, edit, or annotate it like a normal screenshot, or paste it back onto your desktop as a floating image window. The snipping tool comes with a magnifier, and color picker, and the image editor comes with basic annotation tools such as shapes, markers, text and blur effects. Snipped content can also be pasted to the desktop as image windows, and transparent or click-through windows for easy reference.
Monosnap first made a name for itself as a flexible screen capture app on macOS, with built-in annotation and editing tools making it a great desktop productivity aid. Users can capture entire windows or selections (with a magnifier aiding in pixel accuracy), while annotation tools allow you to add arrows, shapes, and blur effects. In addition to editing screenshots and saving them locally, users can also upload images to Monosnap and share them with provided URLs. The app has since expanded to include a browser-based Chrome extension as well.
Gadwin Print Screen
Gadwin Print Screen is a light and simple screenshot tool with configurable hotkeys for capturing the entire screen, a chosen window, or a screen selection. Users can apply a watermark and low-key effects like a shadow; the tool also lets you transform your screenshot into grayscale as you save the image to the clipboard. Post-capture, you can automatically save screenshots in a target folder with your own custom naming scheme. The $25 pro version of the app comes with its own image editor for annotations, but you can also configure the free version to automatically launch your favorite image editing application, making for a handy way to speed up your workflow.
PicPick is an all-in-one screen capture and image editing tool available free for personal use. PicPick allows you to snap the whole screen, a select window or a region of the screen. It includes a pixel ruler, protractor and crosshairs for easy selection. A built-in editor lets you add arrows, shapes and text annotations, as well as apply advanced edits. Screencaps can be saved to a file, opened in an external editor, or shared to social media. Additionally, PicPick is a portable program that can be kept in a flash drive to plug and play anywhere without requiring installation.
Lightshot is another tool that lives primarily in your system tray till needed. Just hit up a hotkey, and the program will take a screencap of the entire desktop, or a selection. The app comes with a miniature editor for adding annotations, notes and highlights, that exists just at the edge of the selection panel. Additionally, users can create a free account in order to upload their screencaps to printscrn.com, providing an online gallery for easy reference, link sharing and online backup.
Greenshot is a lightweight screenshot capture tool and image editor that comes with numerous convenient integrations and a built-in image editor for annotations, highlighting and obfuscating sections of your screenshot. In addition to saving an image to local storage, Greenshot can be set to export the output to a variety of sources, such as straight to your printer, to your image editor of choice, copy to clipboard, attach to email and more. Otherwise, Greenshot sits in your system tray, where you can access and configure its settings.
MangoApps' TinyTake is a versatile all-in-one screencapper, video recorder, and image manipulation tool. Users can capture entire windows or regions of the screen either as still shots, or as videos (with support for webcams), and then annotate the resulting video or image with arrows, shapes, text, and special effects with the built-in editor. You can also just use Tinytake to edit existing media files in your local storage. Images can be stored in an online cloud gallery for easy access and sharing. The free version is limited to 5 minute-long video captures, a 2GB online storage cap, and is ad-supported, with a variety of subscription plans adding extra features and storage, as well as removing ads.
ShareX is a feature-packed screenshot tool that comes with a variety of automation features, as well as integrations with online services such as Imgur, Flickr and a spread of cloud storage providers. Users can capture the contents of entire windows, monitors, shapes, Web pages, and even video captures; they can then automatically configure ShareX to do a variety of tasks, such as saving to local storage or annotating with Greenshot's image editor
LightScreen is a lightweight, open source screenshot tool that eschews extras like built-in editors and annotation features for a fast and nimble screengrabber. Available as a portable installation or as an app that runs on startup, LightScreen can capture the entire screen, windows, or selected regions and output them in a variety of formats. The app does come with some nice extras in that lean feature set, such as the ability to set screenshot naming conventions, automatic uploads to Imgur, and a preview window and integrated image viewer. If all you need is just a quick screengrab without any extras and annotations, LightScreen is a nimble and effective tool.
Screenpresso is a freemium screenshot and video capture tool that you can either install or use in portable form. It comes with easy-to-use editing and transformation tools for still images and watermarked video. Shortcuts or a drop-down menu allow you to easily capture the whole screen, the active window, or select regions (complete with a magnifier tool for accurate selections), which are then saved into the app's workspace for easy editing. The built-in editor handles your everyday annotation options, from text to shapes and arrows, with a step-by-step tool for creating automatically numbered diagrams. Upgrading to the premium version adds more tools such as OCR, system audio recording, and removes video watermarks.
Video Card Software
Many big budget triple-A games are visual spectacles, and a well-made screenshot can be great for showing off your gaming skill or using as a wallpaper for your desktop. While some games and game management software like Steam already come with screenshot features (in lossy jpg) baked in, you might want to check out your graphics card's software and driver package if you want to go grabbing pixel-perfect screen captures with a minimal performance hit. Both AMD's Radeon Adrenaline 2019 and Nvidia's GeForce Experience can be set to capture lossless PNG screenshots of your screen, and if you tinker around, you can enable additional graphics enhancements such as super sampling. Another popular tool is MSI Afterburner, which works with AMD and Nvidia cards.
SnagIt 2020 ($49.95)
For something a bit more heavy duty, try out SnagIt 2020, a standalone screen capture tool that can snap the entire screen, active window, selected areas, objects and video. The OneClick tool can be pinned to the top of all windows for easy screenshot controls. A variety of photo editing and annotation tools — as well as sorting, tagging and sharing features — let you make sense of your collection of screenshots. It's overkill for the average person, but loaded with a ton of useful tools for pro users looking to spruce up reports, presentations and other documents.
Screen Capturer is another minimalist screen capture tool that focuses on grabbing images and short video clips. Users can grab the full screen, select regions, or an active window, and the resulting image can be pasted to the clipboard, saved as an image file, emailed, or thrown straight to the printer. Screen Capturer doesn't come with a built-in editor, so you'll need another program if you want to add annotations, but Screen Capturer is a serviceable tool for quick screen grabs if you need something more versatile than the basic "print screen" button.