Taking screenshots of programs and services is part of my job. When I started to write on the Web, I used the print-key to create the screenshots to edit the captured screen afterwards in an image editor such as Paint.net or Gimp.
Once you have installed your first application to handle screenshots, it is unlikely that you will ever go back to the print-key solution to take them.
Ashampoo Snap 7 is a brand-new version of Ashampoo's screen capturing software for Windows. It supports both image and video captures, and ships with its own editor that you can use to edit the captures before you save them locally or remotely.
The installation of Ashampoo 7 is straightforward and you should not run into any issues here. The installer is clean and does not contain any third-party offers.
Once the installation has completed, the program is automatically started and a small help text is displayed on the screen that informs you about the program's main functionality.
Snap 7 displays a bar at the top of the screen that is barely visible when retracted. It is basically a small line that you see there. Once you move your mouse over it, the bar is displayed and you can use the functionality it provides you with.
Tip: You do not have to use the Capture Bar if you do not need it. You can disable it in the program options under General. Here you can also disable the splash screen on start-up. The alignment of the bar can be changed here as well, so that it is displayed on the left, right or bottom of the screen instead.
The bar displays the various capture modes that Snap 7 supports, as well as options to launch a color picker and enable or disable the program's multi-shot functionality.
If you prefer to use keyboard shortcuts for that or the system tray icon, then you may want to disable the capture bar to avoid activating it when you hover the cursor over it in that area.
The program maps the print key automatically so that it invokes print functionality in Snap 7, and adds several other hotkeys to the process.
You can define hotkeys for all screen capturing variants that Snap 7 supports. Here is a short overview of what is supported by the program:
Basically, you can take a screenshot of anything that you see on the screen easily.Depending on the select type, Snap 7 will either open the editor automatically, or provide you with options to select the area that you want to capture manually. Freehand on the other hand puts a dark semi-transparent cover on the whole screen to highlight the selection that you make.
How that is handled depends on which type you select. If you select window for example, you can hop between all open windows using the mouse, and click to make your selection.
A new option that you have here is the ability to take a screenshot of multiple windows or objects visible on the screen at once.
When you take a screenshot, you are taken to the editor afterwards automatically which always opens in full screen. That's great for users who do not want any distractions while they edit images, not so great if you prefer to have more control over the editing window.
From here, it is possible to save or share the screenshot right away, or use the editing tools made available on the screen to modify it first.
The tools are aligned to the left, top and right border of the screen, with the screenshot displayed in the middle of it. The left and top icon bars display the majority of editing options. Use them to resize the screenshot, add annotations such as text to it, draw on it, or use the accentuate feature to highlight certain parts of it.
Changes made here can be undone either step by step, or by reverting to the original image directly to start over.
The tools that I use regularly, blur, resize, highlight and text are all there and work really well. Once you have made the necessary changes to the screen capture, or none at all, you can use the right menu to save it locally or remotely.
Here you find one of the improvements of Snap 7 over its predecessors. Sharing has been improved, with new services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive integrated into the program. The application detects the root folders on the system automatically and will integrate the services that it has discovered, so that you can save your screenshots to those folders if you so desire.
It is alternatively possible to share to Facebook, the company's own Webspace service, or to share screenshots via email. Email support has been improved in this version, as several webmail providers are now supported.
Ashampoo has built-in support to export the screenshot as JXR or PSD files which can be loaded in programs such as Adobe Photoshop for further processing. Besides that, you can also save images as JPG, PNG and BMP, as well as PDF and Snapdoc format.
You can access previous screenshots in the editor, as they are kept there unless you remove them explicitly from it.
Video capturing works for the most part just like screen capturing. You can select to record a rectangular region that you select, a fixed region that you specify, a single window, the whole desktop, or a webcam.
Snap 7 uses presets that define the quality of the output. You can either select one of the available presets, or customize the selection. If you do the latter, you get to select the video and audio codec that is used for the video recording, as well as the frame rate, bitrate and audio record format.
Once you have made the selection, the area that will be captured to video is either selected automatically by the program, for instance if you have selected desktop, or manually. Either way, you start the capture with a click in the recordable area, and stop it with a hit on the Pause key on the keyboard.
The editor is displayed afterwards, albeit with less editing tools. Only the sharing and saving options are displayed here, which you can use to save the video locally or remotely.
Videos can be saved as wmv or avi files, and you have options to encode them on the fly, or cache the recording on disk and process it once the capturing ends.
Ashampoo Snap 7 has a couple of smaller issues. There is for instance still no option to save screenshots directly to disk. When you take a screenshot, you are automatically taken to the editor even if you have no intention of using it.
Snap 7 leaves little to be desired. It offers all screen capturing modes that one would expect and then some, like the multi-window mode, that the majority of other screenshot taking tools do not offer.
The editor is powerful and easy to use at the same time, and while I'd wish that the program would offer an option to save directly to disk bypassing the editor, it is not as much of a nuisance as one would think, as you can do so with a single click in the editor interface.
The ability to capture video sets it apart from the majority of free screen capturing applications, and while others such as Snagit support the same, it is not as expensive as the popular counterpart.
If you are looking for a screenshot taking tool that supports image and video captures, a powerful editor and excellent exporting options, then you cannot go wrong with this one.
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