In the good old days we took screenshots using the Prt Scr/Sys Rq button on our keyboard. Some of you probably still do. When you push this button it basically takes a snap shot of your computer screen and copies it to the clipboard. You can then open some form of image editing software and either paste it or use Ctrl+V (shortcut/same as paste) into your program.
After it’s pasted into an image editor you might add some circles, squares, arrows, text, etc. to highlight and point out an area of interest so others understand what you are talking about.
There are also some great Firefox addons and Google Chrome extensions that can help you take a quick sreenshot with a few simple mouse clicks. Usually you still need to paste it into an image editor of some kind. These are pretty much the equivalent of pressing the Prt Scr/Sys Rq button. All they are really doing is making it a little easier for people by allowing them to use their mouse instead of the keyboard.
People like myself use screenshots for tutorials and other helpful tips. Screenshot examples are very helpful, but if you add highlights, text, and such they can be extremely time-consuming especially if you have several images or a series of Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, etc.
Enter Jing Screenshot and Screencast Software
A very nice program that helps save a lot of time that I have been using for a few years now is Jing. It’s a screenshot and screencast software program all in one. Jing used to be available in both free and paid versions, but they have since discontinued the pay version. So Jing is a free only program now.
I don’t find the screencast (record your screen) part of Jing as useful as I did a few years ago. Jing is limited to 5 minutes of record time, it adds a watermark to the lower left part of the capture, and the output save format is .swf (Shockwave Flash) only.
Five minutes is doable, and the watermark is not a big deal. Watermarks are fairly common in free video screen capture software.
The quality is great and certainly better than may others out there.
The biggest drawback is that you can only save the final output as an .swf file, which means you won’t be able to upload it to YouTube or many other video sharing sites as .swf’s are usually not supported or allowed.
If the Jing video screencast feature included the ability to save to a more common industry standard output it would be a lot more useful and popular for that matter.
I am not writing this to tell you about Jing’s screencast recording feature and abilities, but I thought I would mention it since it does include it.
Capture Amazing Screenshots in Record Time with Jing
Jing’s image screen capture ability and feature is where it really excels. You can take a screenshot image, add arrows, text, frames, and highlights with various colors in less than 2 minutes once you get the hang of it. It is a simple and easy to use program that shouldn’t take very long to figure out.
There is no way that I can take a screenshot, add arrows and text that actually looks decent with another image editing program as quick as I can with Jing. It would take me 10 to 30 minutes with an alternative photo/image editor to make something comparable that I was content with.
Here are a couple of example screenshots I took of this website using Jing:
This first one is just a simple screenshot before adding anything.
The second one I added arrows, text, and a highlight.
The third one is arrows pointing to the Jing editor features with a text box.
All three of these images combined took less than 5 minutes to make.
So if you write tutorials, how to’s, or post screenshots and you need to point out specific areas of interest then be sure to check out Jing. There are a lot of additional possibilities that you could use it for.
The Jing editor does not include a lot of advanced features like you would find in some photo imaging programs. However, it includes enough to make a nice spruced up screenshot in a matter of minutes.
I don’t know about you, but my time is valuable. I could spend hours editing screenshots in Photoshop or with an online editor for that matter, but when I need something nice in short amount of time I reach for Jing.
Jing Screenshot and Screencast Software by TechSmith
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