5 Alternative Screen Capture Tools For Your Mac

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free screen capture mac os x Taking beautiful screenshots is part of my job as a tech blogger. However, when I am on my Mac, I will always avoid using the inbuilt screen capture function as I find them to be rather limited in features. Instead, I use several other third party screen capture tools for Mac that allow me to take better images and at the same time give me more control on how the shots should be taken.

If you are like me, who are searching for alternative Mac screen capture apps, here are 5 useful ones that I have used and can recommend.

1. Capture Me

Capture Me features a floating translucent window that you can move, resize and take screenshots by clicking on it. To use the program, you simply drag and resize the translucent window to cover the area you want to capture, then click on any area within the window to capture the screen. Once the image is captured, you can resize and save it in various formats at different locations.

capture-me

Other than being a screen capture tool, there is one useful feature of Capture Me that is often overlooked by many. Sometimes when you are working on a project, you might need to reference several programs constantly. Since Capture Me has a window that floats on top of all other windows, you can use it as a image sticky where you take a snapshot of the necessary info and keep it always on top of the screen. In this case, you can save the trouble of constantly flipping through the windows. It can save you a lot of time too.

2. Backdrop

If you are tired of cleaning up your desktop everytime you want to take a screenshot, then Backdrop is the app for you.

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Backdrop is a screen capture enhancement tool rather than a screen capture app. It does not allow you to take screenshots, but it can set a nice plain background to cover up your desktop and save you the trouble of cleaning up your desktop.

backdrop

You can use Backdrop to set the background to any color (or images) of your liking. It also works even if you are using multiple displays, which can be useful if you frequently take screenshots on different screens.

3. Skitch

Skitch is more than a screen capture tool. It is an image editing tool with the ability to take screenshots, crop, resize, draw, annotate and sketch. When you take a screenshot with the SNAP function, the captured image will be sent to the editing window where you can resize, add some text to it or simply upload to the Skitch server to share it with your friends.

skitch

Other than the full screen capture and the define region capture mode, Skitch also has a frame capture mode that is similar to that of “Capture Me”. Upon selecting the frame capture mode, the Skitch editing window will become transparent and you can resize it over the image. Once you are done, simply click on the snap button on the right pane to capture the image.

Another useful function of Skitch is that you can save the image in various formats. At the moment, it supports :

  • .jpg – Most compatible
  • .png – Sharing fine snaps, drawing and text
  • .pdf – Printing on another computer
  • .svg – Importing into design applications
  • .skitch – Passing to another Skitch user
  • .tif – Sending to print publications

Check out Jackson’s post for an in-depth review of Skitch.

4. Jing

Jing allows you to do three things: take screenshots, record videos and share it online. (We have mentioned it earlier in 5 Free Screencasting Apps for Creating Video Tutorials) When you first load up Jing, you don’t see any window. Instead, Jing docks itself as a yellow circle in the top right hand corner of the desktop. Move your mouse to the yellow circle and you will be able to select if you want to take screenshot or screencast.

Jing

When you choose the screenshot option, the usual crosshair cursor appear and you will be able to define your capturing region. Once the screenshot is taken, the captured image will automatically appear in the editing window.

jing

The editing window allows you to do basic image editing such as adding texts, arrows, highlights, draw shapes etc. There are also options for you to upload to Screencast, your own web server or Flickr.

One drawback of Jing is that you can only save the screenshot in .png format.

5. InstantShot!

InstantShot! is useful in that it allows you to configure the screenshot setting even before you make the capture. This will ensure that you only need to do it once and get it right the first time.

instant-shot

Another feature of InstantShot! that is sorely missing in most screen capture apps is the ability to take multiple shots with one click. By pressing the hotkey Shift + Cmd + T, InstantShot! will start to take multiple shots at 5 seconds interval. During this period of time, you can shift the capturing window around to capture different region of the desktop. When you are done, simply press Shift + Cmd + T again to stop.

I found this function rather useful when I need to take screenshots of a file installation in progress.

The above are the five screen capture tools that I recommend. I am sure there are more useful apps out there that I didn’t mention. Tell me which are your favorite Mac screen capture apps?

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