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Snag Me a Little Rapid Development with Snagit

March 22, 2012

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that most individuals in the learning development world are familiar with Snagit®, the popular screen capture tool created by TechSmith™. If you’re one of them, you are probably well-versed in snagging basic screenshots, annotating with arrows and text, and applying special effects to add a jagged border or drop shadow. What you might not be aware of are some of the capture, output, and organization options that make Snagit® 10 a rapid development tool also.

There are three interfaces for capturing: the Normal View, Compact View and Snagit® OneClick. Each view serves a different purpose and function. The Compact View is the one I use about 90% of the time. It’s great for when I just need to quickly show/hide the cursor, or toggle on/off the Multiple Capture option. SnagIt® OneClick is the view I use in conjunction with my custom profiles to rapidly switch back and forth between settings. The Normal View is where I go to access all features.

Compact View

Snagit OneClick

My standard Input setting is the All-in-One profile. I’m able to choose on the fly whether I want to capture a window, a scrolling window, a region or manually select the area. I also prefer to keep the Multiple Area option toggled on, so if there is a button with an options menu that I want to capture as one object, I can cleanly grab both without having to switch profiles. I also prefer to keep the Include Cursor toggled off. Why? Because this enables me to repurpose and reuse the same screenshot for other topics. I also prefer my default Output Properties to be in PNG format with Transparency turned on.

Since the introduction of the Ribbon interface, a point of frustrations in writing curriculum has been that the standard capture profile in versions 9 and 10 do not snap to buttons on the Ribbon. With a little digging in the Normal view, I came across the Other capture profiles (from version 8) section and discovered that the Object profile solves that problem. During my investigation, I also discovered some rapid development tools I had yet to explore.

One of my favorite new development tools is the Multiple Outputs option. SnagIt® allows multiple outputs to a variety of programs. When enabled, I can snag a screenshot and insert it into a Word document, a PowerPoint slide, an Excel worksheet, an Outlook e-mail, and the Office Clipboard, all with one click. I can even choose to bypass the Preview in Editor option and send the capture directly to my designated output locations. While I prefer to apply borders and scale objects after output, the option to automatically apply special effects to screenshots upon output is also available.

In addition to being able to capture images, Snagit® 10 also has the ability to capture text. This feature is useful in times when text cannot be captured using standard selection methods. This includes capturing text displayed in the Microsoft Word 2010 Navigation Pane, the Microsoft Outlook Navigation Pane and the Windows Explorer pane.

Snagit® can also capture video with or without audio. This functionality, however, cannot be compared to Camtasia® or Captivate®, and has significant limitations. For instance, I could not get it to work with any Microsoft Office 2010 application, but could record short videos on Internet-based programs—LinkedIn, Facebook and more. For a just-in-time short video tutorial on using an Internet app, Snagit® could be a viable and inexpensive helpdesk solution. The audio was low-grade, but again for a $50 solution it may just serve its purpose.

Finally, the Library feature in Snagit® 10 automatically organizes and stores captures by date, application, and web site. It also includes flag and keyword options. Flags help me to organize my research and product development ideas, while my keywords are generally interface-related:  ribbon, button, gallery, dialog box. By entering a keyword in the Search field, the Snagit® Library serves up a hit list of captures, sorted by application and by date. In one click, I can rapidly access and reuse captures. My Library dates all the way back to October, 2010!

These are just a few of the features available in Snagit® 10 that I find useful. I’d love to hear about the tools you use that make development a breeze.

For CLASSclub members only! For a live demonstration of these features and more, catch my CLASSclub webinar Streamlining Curriculum Development Using Snagit on Tuesday, March 27th at 12:00 pm CST.

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