TechSmith’s SnagIt 2018 is a product designed for those capturing images and video of software, perfect for creating training material. The company’s software is used by some of the biggest brand on the planet, so what makes it so appealing? Well without attention spans collectively decreasing, and everyone so time poor, grabbing people’s attention and delivering your message quickly and efficiently is vitally essential.
The newest version, Snagit 2018 makes a jump away from incremental version numbers, in favour of a yearly naming scheme (this hasn’t worked so well for Microsoft Office). The number itself matters little, its really the new features that make the difference of buying or not, and for those previous owners, if you’ll spend the money to upgrade.
Let’s start by talking about the process of capturing. After installing and launching the application, Snagit features a simple, easy to understand UI that lets you choose between image, video or an all-in-one capture. You then make choices like how large the capture area is, typically a defined region that you click and drag to select, the full application window, or fullscreen. When it comes to just image captures, there are several other choices, one of my personal favourites is ‘Panoramic’.
The Panorama capture allows you to capture, then scroll (both vertically and horizontally) around a webpage or document and the entire contents is collated into a single image. This is absolutely fantastic if you’re working on web design and need to capture and markup content below the scroll. There’s also the capability to choose ‘Grab Text’ mode which will essentially perform Optical Character Recognition (OCR) on the captured portion of the screen. In my testing, full words of typed text works great, but if the snip includes some lines that are cut off, the interpretation will contain errors. These are easy enough to delete and will still be faster than retyping, but future versions should be smart enough to skip the first line if you only captured the bottom thirds of the first line, rather than guessing at it.
A nice touch to captures is the ability to borders, filters, shadows etc, which if you’re creating captures for a book, or learning resource, will speed things up, avoiding the timely post-production as captures automatically add your defined enhancements everytime you complete the capture. If you’re looking for the really nice touches that set SnagIt 2018 above and beyond many of its competitiors, its features like the completely freehand mode, allowing you to simply draw a shape to capture it.
There are workflow options as well, like the ability to ‘Preview in Editor’ which is on by default and opens your captures in the companion SnagIt 2018 Editor App. This allows further tweaks and editing before finally publishing your captures. This isn’t photoshop, but with so many tools on offer, there’s a high chance you’ll be able to get the job done using 1 app instead of 2.
Another workflow feature I like is the ability to ‘Time Delay’ a capture. Windows 10’s native Snipping Tool does this tool, but instead of being limited to 1-5 seconds, you get to choose, providing ultimate control over the time you click capture and the time the capture occurs. This is particularly useful if you have to fold out a menu rollout, hover states, to open multiple documents or even to capture an error that only occurs after a set period of time. The feature goes deeper than this, by also allowing interval captures and even the ability to capture on a specific date and time. This really is a powerful selection of customisations to ensure you capture exactly what you need.
Capturing the screen is done for a reason, you generally have a goal in mind of what the end destination is and Snagit 2018 can help with that as well. If you always email a picture to a contact after capturing your screen, then you can set the ‘Share’ option to Email. This automates the process of attaching the capture to a new email message, which leaves you adding a recipient, subject and message, then hitting send. Like many of the features of this product, this is a big time saver for repetitive work.
Take that same principle and open your mind to it being used to Save a file each time, or to FTP it to a file server, or to send it to the Printer (this could get expensive). Personally I’d look more closely at capturing and having it sent straight to OneNote, OneDrive for Business or Google Drive or even Dropbox. For those creating Office Docs, you can have captures be sent directly to Word, Excel, PowerPoint as well. This works remarkably well and with ‘Preview in Editor’ turned off, you simply make the Capture, then the image is inserted into the Office document. If I was writing a book, this would be my workflow of choice. Naturally there’s support for TechSmith’s other capture tool, Camtasia, the industry standard for video captures.
When capturing video, you have a choice between showing the desktop and enabling the webcam, so you can put a face to the voice explaining what’s going on in the capture, while also being more engaging than a standard screen capture. There definitely aren’t as many options for video editing of the capture, basically a quick cut option to trim the capture is about the extent of it. That’s why Camtasia still exists as a product, Snagit will get the quick and dirty stuff done, but a full production will need a dedicated tool. When you’re done with the video, you can share it out to a similar range of services, with the sensible addition of YouTube.
One neat trick is the ability to convert a video capture into a GIF. One the export button, you’ll have a decision to make between quality and file size. Jump into custom settings for full control over the output, particularly useful when you’re trying to meet Twitter’s strict file size limits, without destroying the quality. Just keep in mind this is a 2-step process, its easy to convert to GIF, then forget you have the final step of exporting it.
CEO, TechSmith Corp, Wendy Hamilton said,
“After nearly 30 years as the market leader in screen capture, this is the most powerful version of Snagit we’ve ever created.
Snagit 2018 allows you to quickly and easily create compelling, easy-to-understand visual content thatclearly demonstrates processes, how-tos, and other information so that everyone can get more done in less time.”
About the only downside of Snagit 2018, and this is a very mild one, is the limitation of video recording to 30 frames per second. For your usual, everyday captures, this is more than adequate, creating smooth, interactions, great quality end results, but if you have a need to capture something running at 60fps, you’re out of luck.
In a world where Video cards, monitors and YouTube all support 60fps, this limitation may be the only step in your workflow that isn’t 60fps enabled. When we consider the output video from Snagit may very well end up as part of an Adobe Premiere project with After Effects title sequences, there will be times where ensuring a sequence contain all 60fps video. Like I said, this is a small one, but some users will hit this, as soon as you do, you may choose an alternate capture method because of it.
Price and Availability
TechSmith Snagit 2018 is available now at shop.techsmith.com for Windows and Mac for $A65.53. Most users will find their way to Snagit as part of their work, which means you’re likely creating content of value for your organisation, so the price of admission is actually really great value. This is particularly enhanced if you can create on-demand tutorials and how-tos that replace expensive face-to-face training sessions.
If an organisation determines this tool is beneficial to all of its staff, then volume discounts are available and the price per licence costs drops to just A$32.76 when buying between 100 and 249 copies. There’s also further discounts if you’re buying as part of a Government department or Education provider.
If you own a previous versions of Snagit, you can upgrade for A$32.73. Unlike many software purchases that are annual subscriptions, once you buy this, you own it. That said, if you’ve seen the trajectory of new features and want to ensure you’re guaranteed the latest, you can opt-in for a one year maintenance agreement for A$16.39.
For what you’re buying here, the value and product features is a great deal. Even for the casual user, the price is approachable so if you have any need to capture the applications you work with, then like Camtasia, Snagit is now your default go-to product.
Both Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Apple’s OSX feature free, built-in screen capture utilities, but they feel like a kids toy compared to the power of Snagit 2018. In business, time equals money and the workflow opportunities available here have the opportunity to save days of employee time each year.
Once you have established a need for a piece of software like this, the only questions is how far down the rabbit hole you go. Is what you’re trying to achieve better served by buying the bundle of Camtasia and Snagit ?
The developers at TechSmith have demonstrated that they understand the needs of users who capture their screens. Its features like the ability to create custom profiles that set you up to easily repeat processes that happen infrequently, but annually, so you can faithfully recreate and update training without starting from zero every time.
As someone who’s created many work procedures in word documents and how-to screen recordings, I can easily recommend Snagit 2018 as great tool to get the job done efficiently and reliably.