Snagit for Mac comes out of beta -- First hands on
Here at DownloadSquad, we're pretty heavy users of screenshot software -- whether it be an operating system's built-in tools, or a third-party app, taking screenshots forms part of our day-to-day routine. We've covered the PC version of Snagit extensively in the past, but now that the beta version of Snagit for Mac has hit release candidate it's time to take a look through what you can expect.
The main interface of Snagit revolves around a slide-out tab, which can be docked to one or other side of your screen for easy access. On the tab we've got the all-in-one capture button that invokes a unified screen capture mode. From there you get an intuitive interface that allows you to pretty much capture anything on your screen. Whether it's the whole screen, the whole window, the contents of a window including scrolling capture, or just a single pane in a window -- such as the live message view in Mail or just the list of emails pane -- it's all possible with the all-in-one capture. If you want to capture something more specific without having to edit it, then you can just drag-to-capture using the large yellow crosshairs. In fact, there's almost nothing static you can't capture with Snagit, save from Snagit itself, which can be excluded from any capture in the settings.
By default, Snagit will capture images into a built-in image editor, but if you want them copied directly to the clipboard or saved directly to a file, configuration options are available in the capture settings. You can also change to delayed capture, with anything from 1-10 second delays -- in case you want to capture something which needs invoking. Finally there's also an option to include or exclude the cursor from captures, should you want to highlight a clickable button or UI element.
Snagit includes a menu bar icon, where all of Snagit's functions can be accessed from a drop-down menu. You can turn this off in the program's options -- or you can turn off the side tab and just leave the menu bar icon. If you don't want either on your screen, you can do away with them both and just use the program in your dock, or via shortcut keys.
So, Snagit is extremely easy to use for screen capture, but on the Mac the built-in screen capture tools are pretty decent. You've got whole screen, just a window, or drag-to-capture tools all accessible from shortcut keys. In fact, built-in Mac screen capture will do something Snagit won't, and that's capture just menu bar items. So when it comes to a third-party screen capture tool on the Mac, it's got to add value somewhere, and do things easier, better and faster than the stock solution.
This is where Snagit for Mac excels. Screen capture is arguably simpler -- or at least nicer -- than the built-in screen capture tools. It's certainly a lot easier to be precise with Snagit's area magnification around the cursor, which aids precision captures. Once you've got your capture, it takes the image and throws it into a built-in image editor. Thankfully we're not talking Photoshop here, Snagit's image editor is a fast, highly tuned bit of software designed to get your screen capture trimmed, annotated, and formatted quickly and easily.
There's certainly an art to decent screen capture, it can often be difficult to indicate what the viewer should be looking at, and that's why decent annotation tools are vital. On offer here we have a plethora of arrows -- including bendable ones, which is a first for the Snagit series on any platform. The handy speech bubble tool is there, too, with all sorts of useful shapes and accents, as well as plain text addition. If stamps are your thing, Snagit's got you covered with a nice collection of cursors for both PC and Mac, keyboard keys, numbers and dialog buttons -- in fact if you wanted to mock up a program interface, you've pretty much got everything you need here, including transparency support. There's a good number of 'accents' too, including my personal favorite, the red ring of annotation. If there's something else you need, something that can only be created by hand, there are fill, erase, freehand and shape drawing tools at your disposal. Obscuring captured private data is also a breeze with the blur tool on hand, something that is important if you've got email addresses or other personal details in your screen cap. In fact there's very little that you can't do in Snagit's image editor that you'll want to do with a screen capture.
Once you've got your screen capture trimmed, annotated and ready for publication, getting the image saved for upload couldn't be easier. You can simply save it in PNG, JPG, TIFF, GIFF or BMP file formats, or save it for later editing as a Snagit Project file. If you want to upload it to a FTP, or send it using either Screencast.com or via email, the built-in share tools can take care of that for you. You can even drag-and-drop your finished creation directly into a document.
There's a lot to like about Snagit for Mac. From screen capture to editing and saving your image, it's about as quick and easy as it can possibly get. Because there's a decent set screen capture tools built into OS X, the screen capture element of Snagit probably wouldn't be worth it on it's own, but the image editor included with Snagit makes it well worth considering. In fact, the only thing I don't like about Snagit is that it seems to call home frequently when you load up the program, something I think is unnecessary and annoying -- especially as it sets off a growl notification while it's doing it.
The only snag I can see for Snagit for Mac, is that there are several good free third-party screen capture and edit tools like Skitch already available. Does Snagit on a Mac present a compelling case to actually pay for a screen capture tool? It's certainly good, but priced at just shy of $50, free might still win out.
Snagit for Mac is available from the TechSmith store for $49.95.