Snagit Screen Capture softwareHow to Use Snagit Screen Capture Software

by Marg McAlister

If you just want a basic screen capture program that will capture images and short videos, and give you the option of adding simple arrows and captions, then you can't go past JING, which is completely free. It's also unobtrusive and very easy to use.

If, however, you want to be able to do a lot more with your images, then it's probably going to be worth your while to buy Snagit. (If you're undecided, you can download it and try it free of charge for 30 days.)

What Snagit Can Do

Snagit is a feature-rich screen capture program that lets you capture anything you see on your computer screen. It will capture anything from a tiny segment of the screen to a long, long scrolling window - you don't have to be able to see it on the screen to capture it.

Screen Capture Profiles

You decide on WHAT you want to capture by choosing a capture PROFILE. (I find that the one I use most often is the 'capture region', which allows me to draw a box around any part of the screen I want and capture it as an image. I've set a hotkey for this: just by pressing CTRL + F12, the Snagit crosshairs pop up ready for me to drag the mouse over the area I want to capture.

Snagit Profiles

The Snagit Editor

When you have captured the image on the screen, it is sent to the Snagit Editor. This is where most of your work is done. In the editor workspace, you can do almost anything to your image: re-size it; add text; add edge effects; point out items of interest with arrows and callouts; or add explanations and instructions.

The image you can see in the Snagit work area below is actually a page from PowerPoint. I wanted to show authors how to create a PowerPoint for school author visits, so I simply did a screen capture of the PPT slide and then reduced the image size in Snagit.

In the image below, you can see the various sections of the Snagit Editor: 

  • the menus at the top: you access the ribbons by clicking on the tab you want
  • the file source area on the right: you can find the image you want by searching tags, dates or folders on your computer 
  • the workspace area - this is where you put the image you're working on
  • the open captures tray: this contains recent images. You can drag images from here into the work area, or just double-click an image to work on it.

The Snagit Editor

The two main tabs that you will use lead to the DRAW ribbon and the IMAGE ribbon.

The DRAW Ribbon

Here are all the different things you can do by clicking on icons on the DRAW ribbon:

The Snagit Draw Ribbon

The IMAGE Ribbon

Here are a few examples of what you can do to an image by clicking on icons on the IMAGE ribbon. (I've used the photo of one of Paula Beavan as an example - thanks for 'volunteering', Paula!)

The Snagit Image Ribbon


You can download your trial version of Snagit from the Techsmith site. There is an excellent PDF manual available, but you can also view free tutorials on the Techsmith site here, at the 'Snagit Learning Centre'. I recommend that you spend some time playing around with Snagit and seeing just what it can do.

We will be creating more 'how to' pages and videos specifically for writers - but this introductory article will give you a very good idea of what is possible!

Download your 30-day trial copy of Snagit here:

View the free Snagit Tutorials here:



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