Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Ultimate Print-Screen Setup

Who knew that the Print-Screen button on your keyboard could be so useful? In Windows, the ability to capture a screen shot at the press of a button is really handy. It's great for bug reports, blog posting, sharing with clients and even doing design work (thanks to Paul Arce for teaching me this one!).

The annoying part of the print screen functionality is that usually Windows just copies the screen capture to the clipboard. This means opening up some application to save it as a file, or crop it.

But not any longer. I finally got fed up with having to start Photoshop every time I needed a screen capture, and decided to look around for a better solution.

Without looking too hard, I found Gadwin PrintScreen. Gadwin just does The Right Thing. You configure it once, and then it hides away in your system tray. I initially set it up so that hitting the Print-Screen button would store a snapshot of the current window on both the clipboard and in a PNG file.

This was a good start, but I found myself wanting to open up the images and easily crop them. Gadwin allows you to kick off a program with the newly created file. I suppose I could have connected this up with Photoshop. However, the thought of opening up Photoshop at every screenshot seemed nothing short of painful.

I decided I wanted a much lighter weight solution - so I had Gadwin kick off IrfanView (a nifty little app). Because IrfanView is so tiny, it serves as both an image viewer and a crude editor. It's more than powerful enough that I can crop and be on my way.

See, check out this example that took seconds to make:

Perhaps the next level of coolness will come when I can rig saving the screenshot to a networked server, so I automagically get a URL to the image. That would save some time on the upload side of things. One can dream, anyway.

1 comment:

  1. SnagIt is also a good alternative to the print screen button. In addition to the screen shot, SnagIt will also output video for demonstrations, etc. and allows