When replying to technical questions, I find that screenshots do the work so well for beginners. Then again, when I realize I should probably include screenshots to make my answer clearer, answering becomes more of a chore and sometimes I'll just skip altogether. I normally just do the regular print screen, paste in photoshop, crop and save to jpg then upload. I'm wondering though, is there a better tool for that specific type of situation for PC?

I've tried the Snipping tool a few times but found it not so straightforward. What do you use? Is there any way to have a similar shortcut as the one on Mac where you can select and it saves to desktop automatically?

  • 1
    Your printscreen then crop method is exactly what I do
    – JohnB
    Jul 17, 2014 at 15:18
  • 1
    I do the same, the only other work around I use is if I'm using multiple screen shots I'll arrange them in a single psd and crop that rather than cropping and saving several times.
    – Jenna
    Jul 18, 2014 at 13:14
  • I use the snipping tool 99% of the time as it can crop the exact area you need without the need for any further editing software. I only use the standard print screen if it is an element I need to keep the mouse hovered on.
    – SaturnsEye
    Jul 29, 2014 at 15:58

6 Answers 6


I would recommend the ShareX (FREE for personal and commercial use). It incorporates almost any method of screen capture you can imagine, like: Fullscreen, Active window/Control, Active monitor, Window menu, Monitor menu, Polygon shapes, Freehand and so on. Additionally it supports After capture, Uploading and After uploads tasks.

But what is the most important thing it has highly customizable settings: you can assign your custom hot keys, change the default output file name (using dynamic fields such as: current day, minute, random number) the default location for the images, default border style, and many many more! IMHO the best screen capture tool ever!

enter image description here enter image description here

  • Could you leave ShareX running in the background and have a shortcut similar to MacOS? (hit the shortcut, select the part to capture and file gets saved automatically to desktop?)
    – curious Mod
    Jul 28, 2014 at 16:26
  • yes! I have set it to start with windows (show ShareX window > Application settings > General > 'Run ShareX when Windows starts' + 'on start minimize to tray'). Then whenever I need I hit the hot-key, which is 'Print Screen' in my case (show ShareX window > hotkey settings). And yes, you can set any custom screenshot folder you like, e.g. desktop (Application settings > 'Use custom screenshot folder').
    – Pawel Kuc
    Jul 28, 2014 at 20:48
  • This seems to do the trick just fine, thank you so much!
    – curious Mod
    Jul 28, 2014 at 23:29
  • Wow, just downloaded this. I love the very simple screen record!
    – SaturnsEye
    Jul 29, 2014 at 16:11

Snipping Tool in Windows reference Use Snipping Tool to capture screen shots is the best option that I am aware of for PC. If you dont like the Snipping Tool the best alternative I've seen based on reviews is Greenshot but I've never used it. If you are on a Mac you would use cmd+shift+4.

  • 1
    --or, on mac, cmd-shift-3 for select area yourself, or cmd-shift-4-space, for the one active window.
    – benteh
    Jul 17, 2014 at 22:58

Best for quick tasks with few screenshots

Print Screen

  • Most Efficient: Print ScreenCreate a new canvas in Photoshop with the measurements of the clipboard objectPasteSave for Web..

    enter image description here

Snipping Tool

  • Most Versatile and Efficient: Open Snipping ToolSelect NewSelect what you want to screenshotSave Snip

    enter image description here

Best for longer tasks

Using Illustrator or Photoshop:

  1. Create a new canvas/artboard roughly the same size as you need the largest screenshot to be.

  2. Take a screenshot of each step, pasting each one into the AI or PSD before taking a screenshot of the next. Don't worry about arranging it until you have all of the screenshots you need.

  3. Arrange all of the screenshots, try to align them as consistently as possible; it looks, reads and informs for users better.

  4. Hide all layers except the first step, Save for Web... and iterate through, hiding and showing each step, saving them with the same name and an incremental number ie. artistic-effect-step-1.png; artistic-effect-step-2.png; etc.

    4a. If you need to highlight certain parts, now is the time to do it. Before saving each step add what you need to; it's easier than highlighting everything for every screenshot before saving, because then you might have a lot of objects to hide and show, and it can get confusing and messy.

Finish with a few tips

Maximum Width and Scaling

  • The maximum width that an image is displayed at on SE is 630px (scale that up for devices with higher pixel density, but still relatively the same). If you upload something that's 1531px wide, the browser will need to scale it down and it might not do so well, depending on the factor it's got to scale by.

    It's better to scale the image in a graphic editing software when you save the image; specifying a width of 630px, 1260px, 1890px or even possibly 2520px (no idea why you'd need to do the last two), so that it is scaling down with a comfortable ratio such as 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 etc. instead of something awkward like 24:7 and also because graphic software are much better at scaling than browsers.

Images in Lists

  • If you're creating a list and adding screenshots to numbered or bullet pointed steps, add a space before the image to align it with the list, and to avoid breaking your numbered steps (if you don't add the space, the next numbered step will start from 1, even if you wrote 5).

    • Also, if you want to add comments in between screenshots, add a single space before them to keep them aligned with the list, and again stop number sequences from breaking.

Getting Hover Tool Tips in your Screenshots

  • If you want to show hover tool-tips in your screenshots, you have to use the print screen method. You need the cursor to hover over the element, so you can't use the snipping tool.

Creating Thumbnails or Specifying a Custom Size for your Images

  • If you want to create thumbnail versions of an image, that can be clicked on to view the image full size in a new tab you need to use a mixture of HTML and markdown like so:


    [<img src="https://i.sstatic.net/blah.png" width="100" title="Click to see a larger version">][1]
    [1]: https://i.sstatic.net/blah.png


    • To set the width of an image it must have a title="" attribute or an alt="" attribute but it cannot have both.

      • I personally opt for the title attribute because you can show a custom message when they hover over.
    • To get an imgur link to add to the html <img> tag, just upload it in the normal way, and copy the newly generated link at the bottom.

Making Images Sit Inline

  • If you want to place thumbnails or small images side by side, remove all space between them, like so:


    [<img src="https://i.sstatic.net/blah.png" width="100" title="Click to see a larger version">][3][<img src="https://i.sstatic.net/blah.png" width="100" title="Click to see a larger version">][3][<img src="https://i.sstatic.net/blah.png" width="100" title="Click to see a larger version">][3][<img src="https://i.sstatic.net/blah.png" width="100" title="Click to see a larger version">][3][<img src="https://i.sstatic.net/blah.png" width="100" title="Click to see a larger version">][3]


That's all for today folks, I'm sure there's things I missed but I'm out of time at the moment. Hope it helps.


There's a free tool called Jing, made by Techsmith (makers of Camtasia and SnagIt), which is what I use. It's simple, can be set up to work with a keyboard shortcut (I use Ctl-Alt-Shift-F10) and is very smart about selecting windows, dialog boxes, panels, or arbitrary selections. The screenshot can be saved or copied to the clipboard, and can be annotated prior to saving/copying.

You can record simple movies with it which are saved as .swf, but can be converted with Adobe Media Encoder to anything you like.

The only thing it won't do is copy open menus or the cursor, which SnagIt will do.

  • I use snagit as its better than jing in some aspects but i agree both are worth their salt. Snagit seems to be the bread and butter of our CAD tutorializer as it allows you to easily do highlights etc. I off course sue photoshop.
    – joojaa
    Jul 24, 2014 at 10:05
  • SnagIt is superb, no question. Jul 25, 2014 at 2:35
  • I use Jing sometimes for student corrections but I didn't know it could take screenshots, thanks Alan!
    – curious Mod
    Jul 29, 2014 at 12:41

I personally use Window Clippings for it's aero support, and ability to upload to ftp/image hosts automatically, dumping the link into your clipboard.

But as I said, the aero support makes full window screenshots look fantastic.

enter image description here



I really like Gyazo for quick easy screenshots, especially for this site because when you take a screenshot, it automatically uploads it to the web for easy URL image embedding. You can just add it to your taskbar or dock and just drag to select a region and then it uploads to a secure, private, unsearchable URL for secure screenshoting. Also you can use it while right-clicked to show a menu (good for Photoshop users) It supports GIF shots up to ten seven seconds as well. Also, with a cookie, you can see a history of your previous screenshots for easy access later.

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