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How often do you take screenshots? Probably not too often because the whole process of taking one can be pretty annoying. Not that it’s hard, because it isn’t, but sometimes it just isn’t worth the effort. Well, not anymore. With Greenshot, you’ll be able to take and share screenshots at the click of one button, whether it’s to highlight a funny IM conversation, record a glitch, or just save a snapshot for later.
The usual way to take a screenshot, at least on Windows, is to print screen (which essentially copies the screen to your clipboard) and then paste the captured screen into a program like Paint. Then, you have to manually save it. And if you want to share it, you’ll need to upload it somewhere. Greenshot consolidates all of those steps, so the next time you want to take a screenshot, it can be done within seconds.
To be fair, Greenshot isn’t the first of its kind that I’ve used. My default screenshot program for the past year has been Puush (our review), although I’ve dabbled a bit with ShareX (our review) which is a bit more advanced. So, honestly, I had high standards as I gave Greenshot a test run and I can say that I wasn’t disappointed.
The way it works is that Greenshot will sit in the background of your computer, not really doing anything until you issue a command. By default, the commands will involve some combination of Ctrl, Alt, and Print Screen, but you can always change the hotkeys in the settings. There are multiple screenshot modes and Greenshot can upload to an image hosting service on your behalf.
Greenshot is only available on Windows, but it’s completely FREE and open source under GPL. I consider Greenshot to be feature complete in that it does what you’d expect, but not much more beyond. It’s light on resources (it only uses 20MB RAM when idling), so it’s a good choice for older computers and laptops, too.
Taking A Screenshot
When Greenshot is installed, you can take a screenshot by clicking on the system tray icon and selecting the type of screenshot you want. Otherwise, the faster way is to just press the hotkey combination for the screenshot mode you want.
- Capture Region. Under this mode, a cursor will appear that allows you to drag-and-select a region of the screen that you want to capture. The cursor comes with horizontal and vertical lines (easier to line up with screen elements) and a magnifier (for precision capture).
- Capture Last Region. If you want to take multiple screenshots of the same region, e.g., to monitor change over time, this one will do as the name implies: screenshot the same region that you selected last time.
- Capture Window. Under this mode, you can pick which window to capture with a single click. This mode is pretty awesome as it can capture the whole window, just the contents of the window, or even just the title bar of the window depending on where you click.
- Capture Window From List. For those cases when you want to screenshot a window without selecting it, this mode comes in handy. Due to the nature of it, there is no hotkey. You have to click on the system tray and pick the intended window from a list. All open windows are included in the list.
- Capture Full Screen. Under this mode, the entire screen’s contents will be captured. Note: If you use multiple monitors, this mode will only capture the active monitor! The active monitor is the one with the mouse cursor in it.
- Capture Internet Explorer. If you use Internet Explorer, this mode will screenshot the entire web page that’s currently open in the browser. Very useful for when you want to capture a web page that’s too long and requires a lot of scrolling. Unfortunately, other browsers are not supported and I don’t know if there are future plans for that.
Once a screenshot has been captured, a popup menu will appear at your cursor asking you what you’d like to do with the capture: save, discard, open in an image editor, upload to an image site, etc. Really nifty, if you ask me.
Other than taking actual screenshots, there are a few other cool things you can do with Greenshot:
- Format and Quality. Choose the output format that you want for the capture: GIF, BMP, JPG, PNG, TIFF, and Greenshot format. If you select JPG, you can set the quality and reduce the color palette to 256 colors if you so wish.
- Save and Export. Screenshots can be saved directly to your computer, copied to your clipboard for pasting elsewhere, sent directly to your printer, inserted into Microsoft Office, opened in MS Paint, or uploaded to an image service.
- Plugins. When you install Greenshot, you’re given the option to include a few different plugins, each of which interfaces with a popular image hosting site: Imgur, Box, Dropbox, Flickr, Picasa, and Photobucket. If you want to instantly uploaded images to one of those services, be sure to enable the plugin at install.
- Interactive Mode. If you enable this option and you use the Capture Window mode, Greenshot will dynamically show you which region of the screen is going to be captured. This is immensely useful for knowing exactly what you’re going to get and you’ll see just how powerful Greenshot can be.
- Image Editor. Greenshot has a built-in image editor that you can use to edit captured screenshots. Features include: annotations, highlights, obfuscation (to hide sensitive data), cropping, rotations, add lines and shapes, and even visual effects like drop shadows and color inversions.
Screenshots don’t have to be difficult or inconvenient. Greenshot takes care of all of that, leaving you with nothing more than a few hotkeys to press. Other screenshot programs might have a bunch of flashy bells and whistles that may or may not be useful, but if you aren’t interested in any of that, Greenshot is exactly what you want.
If you need something more powerful than simple screenshots, you’d probably do well to look into free screencasting tools. Screencasting is a recorded video capture of your screen, so basically a video screenshot, but these tools often have powerful screenshot functions as well.
How do you like Greenshot? If you don’t use it, what other screenshot tools do you use? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!