Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
If you are reading this on your own “˜personal’ computer, you will agree that computers are indeed that – personal. Screensavers for many are maybe a thing of the past, once being needed to prevent phosphor “˜burn-ins’ on CRT and plasma monitors. Today we use it mostly for visual appeal.
And that takes us to the download pages of the many screensaver sites out there. The one problem? They aren’t too personal or one never knows which one could be a malware pushing host.
To have the best of both worlds, why not make some of our own? Here are some ways to make your own screensaver without all the coding mumbo jumbo.
The Easiest Way To Make A Screensaver
It’s right there in Win XP and Vista!
- Arrange your desired screensaver photos in a folder of your choice (or use the default My Pictures folder).
- Right click anywhere on the desktop to access the Display Properties applet. Select the Screen Saver tab and then drill down to Screen saver – My Pictures Slideshow – Settings.
- Configure the settings according to the options given and your first self made screen saver is ready to roll.
Vista makes it even easier to organize your photos through the Windows Photo Gallery feature. Within it are the tools to turn your pictures into a screensaver.
- Click on File – Screensaver – Settings.
- Choose Screen Saver list, and then select Photos.
- The Settings for the screensaver allows you to further customize the screensaver –
- You can show only pictures with a particular tag : Type the tag in the With this tag box that is associated with the pictures.
- Display only pictures with a particular rating : Click a star rating on the With this rating or higher list.
- Apply a slide show theme to your screen saver : Select one from the Use this theme list.
- Play your pictures and videos in random order : Check the Shuffle contents box.
The PowerPoint Way
We all get those high impact motivational PowerPoint attachments in our inbox sometime or the other. We can turn these into engaging screensavers quite easily with the help of PowerPoint 2007. I have one which shuffles around motivational quotes whenever my computer goes inactive.
- Open the presentation that will become your screensaver in PowerPoint 2007.
- Click on Office Button – Save As – Other Formats to open the Save As window.
- Through the Save As window, select an empty folder or create a new one to hold the PowerPoint images.
- Enter any file name you want. In the Save As Type dropdown scroll down to select any of the image formats (GIF, JPG, TIFF, PNG, BMP). Click Save.
- PowerPoint gives an option to save every slide or the current slide only as an image. Select one to click OK in the next dialog box to finish this part of the process.
- The screensaver can then be activated using the Display Properties – Screensaver tab as mentioned earlier.
Note: This method though fails to retain any animations, transitions and embedded rich media present in the original PowerPoint slide.
The Picasa Way
Picasa is one of the best free photo management apps out there and it has a nifty feature which allows you to set screensaver properties.
- Open Picasa and click on the Tools menu.
- Select Configure Screensaver. The system’s Display Properties applet appears with the Screen Saver tab active.
- The Settings button takes us into the configurable part of Google Photos Screensavers. Set the photo transition styles (collage, wipe, fade, pan and zoom etc.) from a dropdown, the photo duration (between 0 to 24 seconds) with the slider and photo captions with the checkbox.
- Google Photos Screensaver gives us many sources – Picasa collection, online Google Web album, public photo sites with photo feeds and specific folders to choose from. The Configure button for each source allow for individual settings.
- Click OK to save your changes.
The Flickr Way
You can get photo feeds from Flickr using Google Photos Screensaver. Another option is to use an open source tool called Flickr.NET Screensaver. This small application gets photos from Flickr and displays them as a screensaver. It enables you to select a wide range of photos, including your own, your contacts, and your favorites or from a group or global tag.
You can also get photos that are locked as private through an authentication which checks your permission to view a private Flickr album. The download is small at 423 KB and all it requires is .Net Framework 2.0 to install and run.
- The application can be run from the Display Properties applet. Choose Flickr in the dropdown list of the applet and to configure the Settings.
- Choose from the three – Per User, Per Group or Everyone, to source your photos. A few sub-options help to narrow down your choices.
- The Options tab is where you can play around with most of the screensaver display and duration settings. For instance, the three Drawing Methods (Plain, Postcard, and Moving) control how the photos will be rendered on the screen.
With 3 Billion plus images to choose from, that’s a lot of stock for your screensaver.
The Flash Way
If you want rich and animated content for your screensaver then Flash is the way to go. And InstantStorm fits the job. This free Windows only software helps you to create Flash based screensavers as executable files.
The user just has to choose the SWF file, configure the options and compile it into an executable file for installation as a screensaver. An integrated settings dialog designer allows you to customize the content of the screensaver’s settings dialog which is accessed through the Settings button in system display properties. Screensaver preview and settings dialog preview allows you to check out your work before you compile it into an executable.
InstantStorm is compatible with Microsoft Windows 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP, 2003 and Vista.
Even though I am among those who believe that the best screensaver is to power off the monitor, I have never resented a self-created and personal screensaver for myself.
If you’d rather leave all the work to someone else, why not download one of these awesome screensavers for Windows?