Windows has about a billion screen capture tools (give or take), but we dig PicPick’s huge list of options, built-in photo editor, ability to upload photos to FTP and its $0 price tag.
If you’re not familiar with screenshots, read our beginner’s guide.
- Take screenshots of your entire screen, the active window, a region and more
- Set up lots of customisable hotkeys
- Annotate your screenshots with arrows, text and more using PicPick’s built-in, ribbon-style editor
- Crop, resize and rotate images
- Add effects like blur, sharpen, colour balance and more
- Magnify your screen as you take your screenshots for increased precision
- Upload images to an FTP server after snapping
- Much more
PicPick offers you a stack of different options, both for taking screenshots and editing your photos. You can select your screenshot using seven different methods, each of which can have its own customisable hotkey. You can choose to include the cursor (or not), choose the output type and quality of your screenshots, and choose where they go -- including being uploaded to an FTP server of your choice. It also has an easy to use image editor built-in, perfect for annotating your photos with arrows, text, and more. Simply put, it's the most full-featured screenshot tool that you'll find for the low, low price of $0.
PicPick is far from perfect, however. Its annotations aren't the most attractive on the block (though neither are most Windows' programs), and its image editor has lots of tiny little annoyances that can get on your nerves after a while. For example, when you add text to an image, you have to choose its colour from a enormous colour palette, which isn't the same simple one you use for arrows and other shapes (making matching your colours a pain). It also doesn't remember all your settings for certain shapes, like arrows, so you'll have to choose its shape and add a drop shadow every time you draw one, if you like those settings. Also, after adding text, if you accidentally add a box around the text, you can't remove it. Which is kind of absurd. We also wish you could upload photos to more than just an FTP server, whether that be to services like Flickr or a simple sharer like Skitch's.
Snagit is about the most full-featured, well-put-together screenshot tool you can ask for, but it costs a whopping $US50. Unless you're need it in a professional environment, $US50 is a ludicrous amount for a screenshot tool, so we couldn't bring ourselves to put it up as the best. But, if you're just going by features and and the looks of the final product, Snagit takes the cake.
Jing, from the makers of Snagit, is also very popular. It's similar to PickPic, but with a better sharing feature that will send your image to Flickr, Twitter, or Facebook. It also does screencasts, which is a nice addition, but it also makes the program pretty slow -- which is annoying as heck when all you want is a quick screenshot. I also wasn't a fan of the way its text annotation required a white box around all your text.
Greenshot is a slightly less feature-filled, yet similar app to PickPic. We mention it because it's popular, but we don't see any advantage to using it over PickPic. Still, if you don't like PickPic for whatever reason, Greenshot is one of the most similar apps you'll find for free.
FastStone Capture is a $US20 program that brings a few extra features to your screenshots, like sending them in a Word or PowerPoint presentation, screencasting, and more formats. It isn't better than PickPic enough to warrant the $US20 price tag in our opinion, but it's a good alternative (with a free trial available) if PickPic isn't for you.
Lastly, if all you want is basic screenshot taking, you can try Windows' built-in Snipping Tool or the slightly more feature-filled Lightscreen. Snipping Tool lets you capture screenshots and that's it, while Lightscreen offers a delay before taking, the ability to choose your format and save location, and a few other basic features. Lightscreen is very lightweight, which is nice, so if you don't need features like a built-in editor, it's a great tool to try.
Many of you undoubtedly have your own favourite screenshot tool, so if we didn't mention it here, tell us about it in the comments.
Lifehacker's App Directory is a growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools across multiple platforms.