Geeks With Blogs


Join Zipcar and get $25 in free driving!


Vitamin CH Chocolate: that substance without which we would get nothing done

Do you love SnagIt? I do! We can't live without it here at my place. I use it for everything from creating screenshots for books and blog posts to for touching up graphics. In fact, I use it so much that I almost always have it open on more than one machine!




If you are a regular reader of my blog, you already knew how much I love SnagIt. What you may not know is how much my husband loves it too. He's used it even longer than I have. He started using it to grab text out of reports on the screen, and went on from there. He's used it for over a decade!



Most of his use of SnagIt now is for creating information for the Phoenix PC User Group newsletter and for documentation for work. But even there, he sometimes amazes me with what he can do with it. He makes complex computer topics understandable just by adding a screen shot or two.


Today, I want to share one of our favorite sneaky tricks for SnagIt. When we have a computer process going that we need repeated screenshots of, we use timed shots to take them.


Step 1: Set up the timing.

Open SnagIt and click the clock in the options area. This will bring up the Timer Setup dialog. Change to the Capture Timer tab:


By default, this takes a shot every hour. This setting is great if you are watching a process that takes a long time to complete. More frequently, I want to take shots of a process that takes only a short time. This is where the power here comes in. Change the drop down from hours to seconds. SnagIt will take a shot every second. Before you close the dialog, check the box for discard identical captures. This will ensure that you only get the changes, not all shots.


Step 2: Set up where you want your shots to go

When you are taking repeat shots, you aren't going to want to see a preview of each shot. Instead, you want to make sure that you are filing the shots in a folder. Click the Output drop down arrow and unselect Preview in Editor. Click the Output drop down arrow again and select Properties:


Make sure you have set your format (I use PNGs). In the right side of the dialog, select the radio button for Automatic file name. Click the Options button and set up the file name to  use for the screen shots. In the bottom right set of options, select Always use this folder. Use the browse button (the folder icon) to select the folder for your screen shots. (You can even create a new folder from there.)


Step 3: Start the screen shots

Initiate the screen shots the same way you would any other shot: Either click the button or use your hot key (usually the PrintScreen button). Once the screen shots are started, start up the process you want to document.


When you are done with your process, click the SnagIt button in your task bar or press your hot key again. You now can navigate to the screen shot folder and work with the shots you took.


What do I document with this?

I started doing this process to take quick shots of animations for clients so that they could see what I was doing. Now, I do that mostly via screen casts. But, once we had this process, we discovered another use for it: Documenting things that happen too fast to capture by hand. I had a piece of software I was testing and kept getting an error that was disappearing before I could see it. I started the automatic screen shots, ran the software again, captured the error, and was able to report the bug.


Another great use for this is if you are doing something on one machine, but can't watch it directly. Start up the timed captures, start your process, walk away. When you are done, the shots will be there for you to check out for problems and issues. (I have been known to use this to verify that a client is having back up problems. I start it up at the end of the day, tell them to let it run overnight and come back to check the next morning. Screen shots tell the whole story, without anyone having to babysit.)


Why talk about this today?

Because TechSmith  wants your help! They want to know if you love SnagIt too! If you do, take a picture of yourself, much like the one of me at the top of this post.  Instructions for sending in the picture can be found on the Visual Lounge at


So take those pictures and send them in! Let the world know how much you love SnagIt!


Update: Betsy Weber has posted the video of the original set of pictures up on YouTube. Check it out:



Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 3:32 PM TechSmith | Back to top

Comments on this post: I <3 SnagIt - Do you?

# re: I <3 SnagIt - Do you?
Requesting Gravatar...
Smart tip, thanks!

I especially like the part when you have a very fast error that you are unable to see, great tip!

Left by Peter - Snagit Guide on Jun 09, 2008 12:37 AM

# re: I <3 SnagIt - Do you?
Requesting Gravatar...
You beat me to posting! I had a problem with MindManager sync to Outlook failing on one topic/task (of about 450). MindManager displays the task names as the sync but way too fast to read. I snagged the sync, stepped through to the last "good topic" and found a date conflict (start after end) on the next one which caused the problem. Without Snagit it would have been impossible!
Left by Robin Capper on Jun 09, 2008 12:46 AM

Your comment:
 (will show your gravatar)

Copyright © Kathy Jacobs (CallKathy) | Powered by: