We all have tools that we depend on to make our jobs as online marketers easier. When one of these tools betrays us, all hell can break loose and some mild expletives might be heard coming from our desks. Such is the tale of Skitch – our handy, supposedly trustworthy screen capture tool. I love free screen snap tools that have markup functions. They are super helpful for troubleshooting with clients (client: “I don’t see that random thing on our website that you are talking about” me: “here is a handy screenshot with an arrow pointing to the issue”) and in client presentations.
Skitch. Oh, Skitch. At one time you were our life saver and now you freeze our computers, rendering our laptops unusable until we restart. Half of our office did not do the latest Skitch update so they can still use our preferred screenshot tool. I hate them.
This is why I loved Skitch so much (the below screen shot is courtesy of a co-worker who didn’t have Skitch ruin his computer):
The above is clearly overkill, but I wanted to show you all of the features that Skitch has (had? sigh…) to offer. It can pixelate select areas, place text, arrows and arrow markers, highlights, and places boxes. I love the look of the arrows in Skitch and I like that the text has a shadow making your notes stand out.
But now, the hunt for the next big FREE screen capture tool continues. The requirements? The screen capture tool that will grace our office’s presence must be user friendly and great for pointing out important items to clients.
Throughout my search, I was directed by many people to Greenshot. Greenshot is great because it has several more markup options for your screenshot images. I like that with Greenshot you can choose your fonts, line thickness and several other effects – although I still strongly prefer Skitch’s arrows and shadow effect on the text. My only complaint here is that sometimes it is a bit finicky to use and, in a strange way, there are too many options. Check out the marked up screenshot below and to see Greenshot’s options and full menu:
Another screenshot tool I tried was the Nimbus Chrome Plugin. Almost everyone uses Chrome, so the fact that you can only take screenshots on Chrome is slightly limiting but as a Chrome Plug-in it’s easy to access. While I could see myself using this tool when making personal notes, I don’t love this plug-in for client use because it is not as professional looking in my opinion. It has more features than Skitch, but less than Greenshot. You can change fonts, colors, line width, etc. so it is fairly customizable. Check it out for yourself in the marked-up picture below:
The arrows are not my favorite (maybe they are yours) but it is user friendly and easy to access from the Chrome extension bar so, in that sense, it’s a great option.
While this is by far the most simple screenshot tool with markup capabilities I have found, I have started favoring Jing now that I can’t use Skitch anymore (did I mention I can’t use Skitch anymore?). Jing is the easiest to use because it has a tiny yellow circle that you can access at the top of your screen that opens up the Jing menu without having to go to your desktop or looking for a menu. Unlike Nimbus, which is also easy to access, you can use Jing on your entire desktop.
The only thing that Jing doesn’t have that I miss is that it does not pixelate – but that is a feature I personally use the least. I prefer the arrows in Jing to the arrows in Greenshot and Nimbus and you can also choose your fonts on Jing as well. If you notice in the picture below, while the font does not have a shadow, the arrows and the box have a bit of shading which I like.
So there you have it – Jing is my new go-to free screenshot tool because it’s easy to access, easy to use and has my second favorite aesthetically pleasing markup tools. Which one do you like best? Please let us know!