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Simple but not oversimplified

A well-featured screen capture app that's visual enough for nontechies to use and has enough features for sharehounds to easily distribute recordings and images that require limited post-capture modifications.

What began as a freeware project to easily share basic screen captures and screen recordings has grown into a solid application and capture distribution system with a premium component. Jing's attractive application takes a sound, simple approach to capturing; begin by dragging the crosshairs to define your capture field and then take a still or start a recording. When you're done, save it to your computer or upload it to Screencast.com (operated by Jing's publisher), an FTP site, Flickr, or YouTube (for a premium). If you've got Snagit or Camtasia Studio, TechSmith's premium programs for capturing and editing stills and videos, respectively, you can click a button on the post-capture toolbar to send the capture along for deeper editing than Jing's basics can supply.

Apart from sharing ease, Jing has some other clever features that don't diminish its conscious simplicity. The yellow "sun" icon that can be moved around the edges of your screen is what you hover over to get started, though in the brief preferences menu you can hide the sun and call up the crosshairs with a hot key. Two other hot keys now help Jing's capture crosshairs snap to common aspect ratios. Press Ctrl to maintain a 4:3 aspect ratio and Shift for 16:9 wide-screen proportions. While locked into a ratio, dragging out the crosshair shows you boundaries for common screen measurements within that ratio that you can easily snap to, like 320x240 or 640x480. This is a nice addition in keeping with Jing's visual, low-text-density design.

In the latest release, subscribers to the $15-a-year Jing Pro gain the ability to record from their Webcam. You can toggle between Webcam and screen recording during a screen capture.

Less convenient is the requirement of the Microsoft .NET Framework, which can take several minutes to install if it's absent. Once that's out of the way, though, you've got on your hands a well-featured screen capture app that's visual enough for nontechies to use and has enough features for sharehounds to easily distribute recordings and images that require limited post-capture modifications.

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