When you've got an itinerary to file away, a photo to annotate, or a perplexing error message you can't decipher, what do you do? If you're us, you might reach for your keyboard's Print Screen button to pop open one of dozens of screen capture apps you can install to take a snapshot of your current display for later editing or reference.
Software-maker TechSmith hopes you'll make its new Snagit 10 your screen grabber of choice.
Snagit has remained one of the top screenshot apps in its class over the years, but while this latest model does indeed improve on the previous build, the changes are less drastic than they were with the previous edition, version 9. To be fair, not every version update is an overhaul. By the same token, since the core features remain consistent from version 9 to version 10, Snagit 9 owners may not feel compelled to upgrade. However, if you're new to screen-capture software, Snagit 10 is an excellent choice in the premium category.
What's new in Snagit 10
Just because we're not urging existing users to upgrade doesn't mean that Snagit 10 doesn't add interesting or useful new features. In fact, it does, and for the most part we like them (with one or two notable exceptions.)
In addition to refining the icon art on Snagit's launch pad (pictured above,) TechSmith has added a new default profile. All-in-One Capture rolls the full-screen, window, region, and scrolling captures into one. The profile also adds cross-hairs to help line up a shot and pushes the magnifying glass into the mess.
We'll admit the new capture profile looks like a confusion of lines and planes, especially as the capture borders jump from full screen to window to scrolling mode. But we soon saw the logic of combining the most-used profiles into one juiced-up super-capture mode. By floating the cursor around the page, you can change your mind about your capture area without having to switch up your profile every time you want to alternate between full-screen mode, for instance, and selecting a smaller area that you define yourself (see the video above for a demo).
Transparency is another theme. In the capture tool and editor, a checkered background replaces white as the default canvas color. In addition to making Snagit captures truer to form when pasting them into presentations or other programs, a transparent background also gives rise to a cool new page curl effect. In addition, you'll find blue and silver skin choices in the Options menu to vary up the black default color.
Snagit also gets a remodeled cut-out tool that makes it easier to select areas of an image you'd like to pull from being, but an inability to choose if you want the cut ends mashed together or separated by various styles of transparent space also strikes us as inflexible--we want choices, dangit.
Snagit's sister product, the freemium hosting service Screencast.com, makes a bolder appearance in version 10. You can now upload captures directly. Sharing said images with contacts via Screencast.com keeps large files out of contacts' in-boxes by sending recipients a link for online viewing. Each Snagit user gets a free Screencast.com starter account, nominal storage included.
While there are more enhancements, the last notable one comes from one of the lesser-known text capture tool. Text capture has been on our radar for years, but has traditionally produced inconsistent results, often in part because Snagit and other apps can't capture text from within an image. Words in a company logo, advertisement, or Flash Web site would count. Improvements to the capture software now transfer the formatting, like font and color, along with the text. That's the theory, anyhow, but it occasionally fell flat in our Firefox tests. You can apply the usual roundup of text-editing tools to reformat the text as well. Snagit's text capture, while still not flawless, performed best in IE and fair in Firefox. Chrome support is on the road map, and it also doesn't work in Opera and Safari browsers.
How much it will take to make Snagit 10 yours? If you like what you see after the free 30-day trial, the capture app costs $49.95 to buy new and $24.95 to upgrade from a previous version. If you're just entering the world of premium screen-capture software or have been hanging on to Snagit 7, for instance, then version 10 is a worthy purchase or upgrade. Again, we think it's close enough to version 9 that most existing users of that build won't find a need to jump ahead.