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Screenshots are an important tool for any computer user. Whether capturing funny moments, recording error messages, or demonstrating a procedure, screenshots show what text can’t Multiple Ways To Capture Or Print What You See On Your Screen Multiple Ways To Capture Or Print What You See On Your Screen Print Screen is a term that lost its original meaning decades ago. Today, actually printing a screenshot takes several steps. Combined with shortcuts and software, you have a powerful 21st century tool at your fingertips. Read More . Of course, screenshots are far better than taking a picture of your screen with a phone, too.

The Snipping Tool built into Windows is fine for basic use You've Been Taking Screenshots the Slow Way All This Time You've Been Taking Screenshots the Slow Way All This Time Screenshots are slow if you're using Print Screen and Paint. Here's a built-in tool that's faster and more convenient! Read More , but it lacks the powerful features of other tools. We’ve already discussed how to take a perfect screenshot in Windows How to Take the Perfect Screenshot in Windows How to Take the Perfect Screenshot in Windows The best way to take a screenshot depends on the version of Windows you're on. We show you the subtle differences, give troubleshooting tips, and reveal the best keyboard shortcuts and tools. Read More , so let’s put the top screenshot tools head-to-head to find out which is best.

The Criteria

We’ll compare several free tools in this showdown. For fairness, we’ll run all tests by taking a screenshot of the Wikipedia entry on screenshots. To keep it brief, we’ll make a few comments on the best and worst features of each tool, and use a 1–10 scale for three key aspects:

The Best Free Tools

From our testing, here are the five best tools. All of them are free. Find the best one for you based on our ratings and recommendations.

5. Lightshot

Lightshot lives up to its name. It’s a lightweight editor, but still useful enough for quick screen grabs. You won’t find many options in Lightshot; just fire it up and grab a screenshot.

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What’s unique about this tool is that its editor takes place right after you grab a screenshot. There’s no separate window to manage. The on-screen editor allows you to add arrows, text, and boxes quickly. Unfortunately, there’s no way to change the size of items, and you can’t obfuscate.

When you’re ready to share, you can upload the image to Lightshot’s servers, copy, or save to your computer. Lightshot also allows you to reverse image search Search for Similar Images Online Using Images Rather Than Keywords Search for Similar Images Online Using Images Rather Than Keywords Read More Google for your screenshot.

Overall, while Lightshot lacks advanced editing features and sharing destinations, it’s a good tool for its size. Its editor makes it better than Lightscreen.

We recommend Lightshot if you want a lightweight screenshot tool and don’t often make advanced edits.

  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Editing Capabilities: 3/10
  • Sharing Options: 4/10

4. Snipaste

Snipaste is worth mentioning for one of its unique features. Once you’ve taken and marked up a screenshot as needed, you can pin the screenshot onto your screen 5 Simple Ways To Keep Selected Windows On Top [Windows] 5 Simple Ways To Keep Selected Windows On Top [Windows] Computers are made to multitask. As a result, we all have to juggle with multiple open windows to jump back and forth between various tasks. Sometimes, however, you just want to keep one window in... Read More for reference. This allows you to compare two versions of an image, program, or anything else you were working on.

Snipaste doesn’t have a shortcut for grabbing an active window, but will automatically select windows you mouse over. Like Lightshot, the editor for Snipaste exists right inside the capture utility. It includes a ton of options here, including multiple forms of blurring and drawing lines.

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Aside from this, we like Snipaste’s built-in help topics and the developer’s willingness to add new features expressed on the website. The app suffers by not allowing any export options aside from copying and saving, but it’s still worth a try if you don’t use those.

We recommend Snipaste for those who take screenshots for reference instead of sharing, or who want to try something a little different.

  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Editing Capabilities: 8/10
  • Sharing Options: 2/10

3. Monosnap

Monosnap is a great blend of a user-friendly experience and having the tools that you need when working with screenshots. Though it doesn’t allow you to quickly grab an active window, you can set shortcuts for capturing fullscreen shots, areas you select, or even set a delay of ten seconds. This is great for those times when you have to set up a screenshot just right.

03-monosnap-windows

Monosnap’s editor offers instant access to arrows, text, and blurring tools. You can change the size of these items with a slider instead of editing a numerical value, and the app lets you pick a photo-editing app (like Paint.NET Paint.NET: The Best Image Editor Available That You Should Download Paint.NET: The Best Image Editor Available That You Should Download We all edit images to some degree. Whether it’s a simple crop or resize, or maybe just adding some text, it’s nice to have an image editor that is reliable, fast, easy to navigate and... Read More ) for instant exporting. It supports uploading to the Monosnap cloud, or FTP/Amazon S3. You’ll also want to turn off the “dropzone” icon in the menus, which slaps an icon in the corner of your screen. Its upload options aren’t the best, but if you don’t use those, Monosnap will suit you just fine.

Because it’s flexible yet simple to use, we recommend Monosnap for those who often add quick annotations to their screenshots.

  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Editing Capabilities: 8/10
  • Sharing Options: 4/10

2. PicPick

PicPick is a full-featured screenshoot tool at the bargain price of free. It features all the keyboard shortcuts and capture methods you could want, including unique choices like freehand and fixed region capture. It also offers a variety of extra tools, like a color picker, pixel ruler, and protractor.

04-picpick-windows

Inside PicPick’s editor, you’ll find the typical shapes, arrows, blurring, and highlight tools. PicPick feels similar to Greenshot, but its editor tools aren’t as seamless as those in Greenshot. For example, arrows are thin and black by default, whereas Greenshot makes them larger and red. Thus, PickPick requires a bit more time for editing.

The export options are top-notch. You can send your screenshots to Imgur, cloud storage, social media and email, Office, or even pick a different program on your PC.

Overall, PicPick offers a similar package to Greenshot, but contains extra features and a slightly slower editing experience to Greenshot’s simple usability. Thus, we recommend it to power users who want maximum features inside their screenshot editor.

  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Editing Capabilities: 9/10
  • Sharing Options: 10/10

1. Greenshot

Greenshot is a longtime favorite in the screenshot world. Part of its strength lies in its multitude of sharing options. Once you take a screenshot, Greenshot presents you with over a dozen destination options. These include saving immediately, opening in Greenshot’s editor, uploading to Imgur, or sending it to an Office application Who Needs Photoshop? Amazing Image Editing Feats You Can Do With MS Word Who Needs Photoshop? Amazing Image Editing Feats You Can Do With MS Word If you don't want to face the steep learning curve of Adobe Photoshop but you still want to conjure up some imaging magic, you need to look elsewhere. Have you considered using Microsoft Word? Read More .

The editor offers a similar suite of options. The usual options like lines and shapes are here, but you’ll also find little numbered buttons that let you detail a process. You can even create a “torn edge” effect to easily combine screenshots.

05-greenshot-windows

Greenshot offers everything you could want in a screenshot application. With shortcuts for each type of window capture, instant sharing to any application you could want, and an easy-to-use editor with all the essential features, it’s hard to go wrong.

We recommend Greenshot for anyone who wants a full-featured screenshot tool to replace the Snipping Tool.

  • Ease of Use: 9/10
  • Editing Capabilities: 9/10
  • Sharing Options: 10/10

Apps to Avoid

We tried a few other tools that we can’t recommend. Here are the apps you shouldn’t bother with, in no particular order.

Bug Shooting

Bug Shooting offers a pretty standard screenshot experience. Its unique features include a Quick Bar you can attach to the side of the screen if you want instant access to its options. You’ll also find a Capture Series option which lets you grab multiple shots in quick succession.

The app also features plenty of unique services for output, many of them bug tracking tools that most people won’t use. The common options are GIMP, Word, the Clipboard, and email clients.

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This tool’s editor looks like a Microsoft Office application. It features the basic shapes and arrows, and gives more colors inside a drop-down box. However, switching between tools and changing the line thickness and font size requires more steps than they should. Thus, the experience ends up feeling like editing an image in Microsoft Word.

Bug Shooting is free for personal use, but requires you to request a free license after 30 days. This is an annoying step that other tools don’t force on you.

Because of the license requirement, lackluster output options, and somewhat clunky image editing, we don’t recommend Bug Shooting.

  • Ease of Use: 6/10
  • Editing Capabilities: 5/10
  • Sharing Options: 4/10

Lightscreen

Lightscreen takes a minimalist approach to screenshots. It lacks an internal editor, but makes up for it with a tiny footprint. By default, Lightscreen automatically saves all of your screenshots in a folder of your choice, and copies them to your clipboard for you. Depending on how you use screenshots, this is either a big time-saver or a big pain.

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You can choose to upload all screenshots to Imgur automatically, as well as showing a preview of your screenshot after capturing it. The app doesn’t offer a lot, but it does allow you to tweak what’s here. Automatically saving shots to a folder and uploading them to Imgur is only so useful; you’ll need an external editor 10 Easy-to-Use Photo Editing Programs for Newbie Photographers 10 Easy-to-Use Photo Editing Programs for Newbie Photographers Some photos only look their best after a bit of editing. If Photoshop and Lightroom seem too complex for you, check out these easy-to-use alternatives. Read More with this one.

Overall, we don’t recommend Lightscreen unless you must have a lightweight tool and don’t edit your screenshots after taking them.

  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Editing Capabilities: 0/10
  • Sharing Options: 3/10

Snagit

Snagit is the luxury model of screenshot tools. This is true of both its reputation and price, as the tool costs a whopping $50 to download. TechSmith offers a 15-day free trial, which we gave a test. Like Jing, it requires you to sign into a ScreenCast.com account to use.

With a premium price comes premium features. Snagit contains a bundle of cool tricks, like the ability to automatically scroll the screen and capture a large region. If you need an all-in-one tool, it also features a video capture utility.

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Unsurprisingly, Snagit’s editor is top-notch. You’ll find everything and the kitchen sink to play with, like stamps, cut out tools, fill buckets, and all sorts of fancy effects. However, the amount of features Snagit packs into its editor is overwhelming. If you want your screenshot editor to only include essential tools, you’ll be put off. For heavy editing, it’s better to export your images to Paint.NET, GIMP, or another tool.

When it’s time to upload, you’ll find Office, cloud storage, and more.

No matter how great Snagit is, however, we don’t recommend it on price alone. $50 is a too much for a screenshot tool, especially when you can get most of its features elsewhere for free.

  • Ease of Use: 9/10
  • Editing Capabilities: 10/10
  • Sharing Options: 10/10

Jing

Jing is TechSmith’s free alternative to SnagIt. Unfortunately, it requires you to create a Screencast.com account before you use the application. Once you get past that barrier, you’ll find the Jing Sun, which serves as the launcher for the tool. It’s a bit annoying to have that little globe stuck to your screen all the time, so you can turn it off in the options.

09-jing-windows

Jing’s basic feature set is okay, but it’s mediocre in too many areas. You’re limited to just a few editing tools, and can’t remove the border from text boxes. There’s also no way to blur images or change the output file type. To top this all off, Jing is quite heavy (using about 80 MB of RAM in the background during our testing) due to its built-in video capture ability. This only outputs in SWF format, which is hard to work with.

Due to its lack of editing features, uploading restricted to Screencast.com, and heavy footprint, we don’t recommend Jing.

  • Ease of Use: 5/10
  • Editing Capabilities: 4/10
  • Sharing Options: 2/10

What’s Your Favorite Screenshot Tool?

After trying a lot of tools, we choose Greenshot as the best screenshot utility Capture & Share Screenshots In Seconds With Greenshot Capture & Share Screenshots In Seconds With Greenshot Do you still load Paint or Photoshop to edit and save a screenshot? No wonder you don't like it! With Greenshot, taking, editing, and sharing screenshots becomes a breeze. Read More for most people. PicPick barely misses out due to its editor being less streamlined than Greenshot’s. In our philosophy, a screenshot editor should allow for quick markups before saving and sharing. An overwhelming amount of features, or features that require many clicks, slows the experience down too much.

Depending on your needs, you might prefer a lighter or more feature-packed tool 4 Best Tools For Creating Screenshots Compared 4 Best Tools For Creating Screenshots Compared CTRL + SHIFT + 4. Three keys - that's all you need for perfect screenshots. It doesn't need to be a hassle! Try these advanced screen capturing tools and you won't ever look back. Read More . That’s great! With screenshot apps, you don’t have get stuck using something that doesn’t fit your workflow.

There are plenty of other screenshot tools that we didn’t test. What are your favorites? Let us know which tool you’re using and keep the list going down in the comments!

Image Credit: Greg Brave via Shutterstock.com

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  1. kailas
    May 10, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    While trying to open a game my computer shows "The program can't be start because d3dx9_30.dll os missing from your computer.try reinstalling the program to fix this problem "what can I do for this

  2. Tom
    January 26, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    EasyCapture is lightweight, feature-filled, and portable. I have used it for a long time to produce screen captures for user tutorials or troubleshooting evidence. It includes snapping images of open menus, which isn't always available. It has the basic editing tools I need to crop and add arrows or highlights. If I need something more than that, it's time to open an image editing program.
    I had tested quite a few screen capture packages, but EasyCapture was the one that met my needs. I'm now a very loyal user.

  3. Druuge
    December 31, 2016 at 4:44 am

    Uh. I see these articles about "best" screen capture tools all the time, at various tech-related sites and never see ShareX mentioned. It's really weird. Is it because it would be unfair to the other tools listed? Because ShareX infinitely destroys the competition for "Screenshot tools" in terms of features and customization. It even uses "greenshot" as it's baked in image editor, and offers all the premium features mentioned of SnagIt for free. Perhaps al l the options and features would bring the interface score down a notch because it might be intimidating at first for Aunt Ruby but it's far from being a mess. Certainly a "power user" screenshot tool and one than many readers of this blog would enjoy the most, I'd imagine.

    So again, I don't understand why it's rarely mentioned in these comparison articles or even message boards discussing free screenshot tools. I can't fathom it's due to lack of exposure because it's even on ninite.com for Pete's sake!

    • Ben Stegner
      January 2, 2017 at 6:45 pm

      My method for choosing tools to compare in this article was to use a few I knew about, and search for "screenshot tool" on CNET and similar sites to compare their most popular tools. It seems that ShareX is a fan favorite, and I apologize for not including it. I hadn't heard of it until now, and will take a look at it because you've intrigued me!

  4. sally
    December 27, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    I get your point about Jing, but why so low rating on ease of use?? Nothing is easier!

  5. Alex
    December 27, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    I personally find it strange that you mentioned Jing as a program to avoid and didn't put IrfanView and Icecream Screen Recorder in the list.

  6. Elio
    December 27, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Greenshot is the best one, filled with great features like integrate the capture to another app using context menu

  7. Flubber
    December 27, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Jing allow other upload system, i used it for years but it's quite heavy.

    For now i use imageuploader.

  8. ma_t
    December 27, 2016 at 6:14 am

    Seriously, where's ShareX?

    • Ben Stegner
      January 2, 2017 at 6:46 pm

      I never knew about ShareX until people started leaving comments on this piece, as I didn't come across ShareX in my travels when choosing tools for this article. I'll give it a shot for sure!

  9. Heinz Gehlhaar
    December 27, 2016 at 5:02 am

    I use IrfanView. It worked real well in previous versions of Windows, because you could have as many IfanView windows open as you wanted. Miserable Win10 does not do that ( and many other things!)

    • Tina Sieber
      December 28, 2016 at 10:43 am

      Heinz, how did you previously open additional IrfanView windows? I'm asking because it still works in Windows 10, but maybe your method is not available anymore.

      I keep a shortcut to IrfanView in the Taskbar. Right-click the shortcut and select IrfanView (version 4.38), and it will open a new IrfanView window. You can repeat that as often as you like. I'm on the Windows 10 Insider Preview.

      • Heinz Gehlhaar
        December 28, 2016 at 8:10 pm

        Tina,
        Thank you! Thank you!Thank you!

        Never thought of right-licking on the Taskbar-Shortcut. Works like charm.
        And I am always preaching to my friends: Use the right-click. Its free. Its amazing what it can do for you.

        Well, I am (very) slowly learning the benefits of Win10.
        Thanks again,
        Heinz

        • Tina Sieber
          December 29, 2016 at 11:33 am

          Glad I could help, Heinz! :) Happy New Year greetings from Berlin.

  10. Miaousse
    December 26, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I use screenpresso, the free version is enough for my need.

  11. valery
    December 26, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    I used to use Greenshot, but now I find ShareX much more better. Tons of customization options and quick actions make it very very useful.

  12. Maxence
    December 26, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    FastStone Screen Capture

    • Pow?zka Przemys?aw
      December 27, 2016 at 8:01 am

      Exactly. Best for me.

  13. Howard A Pearce
    December 26, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Any that allow you to append screenshots on the go - so as to for a mural-like combination of pics?

    Probably not

    • Ben Stegner
      January 2, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      I haven't heard of any that do this Howard; perhaps it would be best to use a tool that automatically saves screenshots in a folder and use another photo editor to make the mural.