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TechSmith Snagit 13 Review: Still the Best Screenshot Capture and Editing Tool Available

TechSmith Snagit 13 reviewI’ve been using TechSmith’s Snagit for years, and it’s still one of my favorite applications ever. Even as a paid application adrift in a sea of free alternatives, Snagit is an application that just works so well that I feel almost evangelical about it. (If I’ve ever interrupted your dinner at a restaurant to tell you how much I love Snagit, then I apologize.) Snagit makes it easy to take screenshots of windows, regions, your entire screen, or even content that extends beyond a single screen (scrolling web pages, for example). It’s also got one of the slickest and most intuitive image editing suites built-in with a handy organizer for all your screenshots. As someone who takes hundreds of screenshots for dozens of articles, Snagit most definitely pays for itself in ease and productivity.

So, that’s the overall rave. Let me show you some of the main features of Snagit, how they work, and how they stack up to free screenshot apps. 

Pro Tip: Grab the free trial of Snagit and follow along as you read through my review. 

Snagit Capture

Snagit captures both images and videos from your screen. By default, Snagit uses the all-in-one capture tool that lets you do one or the other.

If you want a bit more control, you can choose to capture an Image or a Video on the left.

Each one has its own set of presets:

The hotkey is Print Screen by default. You can change it by clicking the hotkey beneath the Capture button. This is useful if you are using more than one screenshot tool.

snagit-change-hotkey

The Capture interface is busy but intuitive once you get your bearings. When you hit your screen capture hotkey, you get a pair of orange crosshairs. Snagit will automatically select regions inside a window, the entire window, or the entire screen depending on where you position your cursor. You can click once to grab that region or window, or click and drag to get the custom selection.

The arrows let you capture a scrolling window.

Also notice the magnifier, which lets you choose a custom region down to the pixel. Extremely handy for cropping out that pesky whitespace. This will save you hours of editing in the long run.

When you click, you get the option to capture an image or a video, if you haven’t already predetermined this. Once you choose, the screenshot gets sent to the editor by default. You can either continue snapping screenshots or edit right away.

If you choose to capture a video, the screen capture will begin with audio and webcam enabled, too. I’ll show you more on that later.

Snagit Editor

The Snagit Editor has gotten a major makeover since I first started using the application. The overhauls began in Snagit 12 and had continued in Snagit 13. At first, it looks a lot simpler, dumbed down even. But all the features are there, you just have to add them back to the toolbar. Click More to see what’s hiding from you.

Snagit Editor is quite a powerhouse. I use it for editing images I didn’t even take with Snagit. (For example, for this tutorial, I had to use Snipping Tool to take screenshots of Snagit itself, but I still edited them in Snagit.)

Snagit Drawing Tools: The Basics

First, let me show you the basics. Here you’ve got the main editing window in the middle, your toolbar on the top, your toolbar settings on the right, and the Almighty thumbnail browser on the bottom.

This should be a familiar setup for anyone who’s used another image editing application. But it really works for Snagit. I love that you can zip between screenshots with ease from the thumbnail browser or X out the ones you don’t want.

Each editing tool in Snagit has a Quick Styles menu. You can customize your properties and save it to Quick Styles. This goes a long way in quickly creating consistency in your screenshots.

The Tool Properties section shares real estate with the Effects tab. The Effects tab lets you quickly apply frequently used effects and edits from Snagit’s defaults or your custom presets.

It takes only a few minutes to master these few tools. After that, you can whip through screenshot edits, adding callouts, etc. at lightning speed. The basic tools that you’ll use in most screenshots are Arrow, Text, Callout, and Shape.

The arrow tool includes solid and dotted lines and customizable ends (arrows or dots).

The Text tool lets you choose colors and outlines to help text stand out on the screen. You can use any font you have installed on your system.

Callouts are faster and more stylized than an arrow and text combo.

Shapes are a clean way to highlight a section of your screenshot.

Those are just a few of the editing tools Snagit offers. There are much, much more. The full set of drawing tools includes Move, Crop, Callout, Text, Arrow, Shape, Step, Blur, Stamp, Line, Cut Out, Fill, Eraser, Selection, Pen, Highlighter, and Magnify.

Under Effects, choose from Border, Edges, Perspective, Page Curl, Shadow, Filters, Color Adjustment, Color Replacement, Spotlight & Magnify, and Watermark.

Snagit 13: What’s New?

The new Snagit 13 features include a customizable toolbar, panoramic capture, animated gif creation, and webcam support for screen capture videos.

Panoramic capture is much like the panorama feature on your phone’s camera, except for screenshots. It can be useful when trying to take screenshots of objects that are too large and sprawling to capture their full majesty, like a double rainbow or a Google map route.

snagit-panoramic-capture

For videos, you can switch between your screen and your webcam in the middle of a recording. With Snagit’s limited editing features, this is the best way to splice together intros and conclusions with your screencast.

webcam-recording

Once you capture your video, you can save it as an animated GIF or upload it to a video sharing site.

Snagit Editor: Other Cool Features

Beyond the tools and effects you get, the interface and details of Snagit Editor are excellent. Here are a few things that I noticed when editing images recently.

Snagit supports layers and objects. When you create objects with the drawing tools or paste images into Snagit, you can continue to drag and drop them, resize them, group them, or delete them. When you’re done, you can re-order them and then flatten them. All of this is done from the right-click contextual menu.

If you choose to capture the mouse cursor, it’ll show up as an object, too. You can easily move it out of the way without retaking the screenshot. Nice!

snagit-editor-move-and-delete-mouse-cursor

 

When you take a screenshot, you have an opportunity to fine tune it. You can drag the edges or corners of the capture selection to get it just perfect.

The Snagit batch conversion feature can be immensely useful. It lets you batch convert image files or apply filters or effects to multiple files at once. I wrote up this feature in an earlier review. The feature is still there, and it’s still great.


The number of file formats supported is just bananas. If you’ve ever had someone send you 50 images, all the wrong orientation, all in the wrong format, and all needing a watermark, then you need Snagit and its batch conversion feature.


Organize

For me, having the recent screenshots in the thumbnail browser in the bottom is good enough. But Snagit has a pretty robust screenshot library feature that lets you tag and organizes your screenshots as you see fit. It automatically creates categories for a date, application, website, and type of screen capture.

From there, you can filter based on the usual properties: name, date modified, etc.

You can add tags to screenshots in the editor window. Then, it shows up in your Library under the appropriate tag.

Share

Snagit is flush with options for sharing your screenshots or screen captures. For me, my favorite is still copying it to the clipboard and pasting it into Microsoft Word.

You can also copy and paste into Gmail and Google Docs.

Aside from the simple approach, Snagit also lets you share to a wide variety of platforms. I see this being useful for videos, where you might want a hosted platform like YouTube or Screencast.com.

Video and Screencasts

Snagit has the ability to capture your screen and record from your webcam, a microphone, or system audio. For quick tutorials or how-to videos, this is pretty handy.

Admittedly, the reason you buy Snagit won’t be for the video capture. The editing capabilities for the clips you capture are pretty much nonexistent. You do have the option to save it as an animated gif, though.

For serious video capture and editing, TechSmith makes another fantastic product: Camtasia. I reviewed Camtasia Studio 7 way, way back. I’ll be reviewing the new version soon. Stay tuned.

Conclusion

TechSmith’s Snagit has definitely gotten a facelift. I’ll admit that I still haven’t gotten used to the new interface. I’m assuming I will, considering how often I use the program. The core features are still there, and they still rock. And as always, TechSmith’s attention to detail and intuitive design make Snagit a must-have for anyone who takes screenshots on a regular basis.

All that being said, the free screenshot tools are catching up regarding features. The built-in Windows Snipping Tool still works perfectly fine for the most rudimentary screenshots, like dropping a screenshot into an email or capturing an error message. The new Snip app for Windows 10 is worth a try, too.

But honestly, if someone is paying you to take screenshots and create professional documents, then you should invest in Snagit. The time it’ll save you and the consistency and clean callouts it gives you are well worth $49.95. If you have an upcoming project, I recommend giving the 15-day free Snagit trial a whirl. You’ll see how it turns taking screenshots into a pleasure instead of a chore.

If you buy Snagit, you can upgrade for $24.95. They release a new version number about every two years. I usually buy the upgrade, but the old versions are far from obsolete—I’d use Snagit 9 over any paid or free product any day.

Do you use Snagit? Do you love it? Tell us about it in the comments.

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17 Responses to TechSmith Snagit 13 Review: Still the Best Screenshot Capture and Editing Tool Available

  1. Kevin November 3, 2016 at 8:41 am #

    I am still on v9 and love the program.
    One of the issues I have with newer versions is that when I initiate a screen capture in v9, a pop-up box appears and gives me a magnified view of my cursor and its surroundings, but ALSO, it gives me the X & Y coordinates of my cursor on the screen. I find this information valuable, but it seems to be missing in newer releases of the program.
    Can you confirm this ?

    • Jack Busch November 3, 2016 at 6:13 pm #

      Hey Kevin – So, the magnified cursor gives you the size of the capture you’re taking, but not exactly XY coordinates. Is this what you’re looking for? You can sort of see it in my fifth screen shot.

      • Kevin November 4, 2016 at 7:42 am #

        Hi Jack:
        No, this is good info, but in v9, when you initiate a “region capture”, you can move the cursor around on the screen and it will give the X,Y coordinates, starting at 0,0 in the upper left of the screen. I use this all the time when I need to get the exact screen location for starting a capture. It also comes in handy when I need to know the location on the screen of a particular element or if I want to know the size of something on the screen, without doing a capture.

        Then, when you start the region capture, it still shows the X,Y coordinates but also shows the size of the region capture, at the point of the cursor… really good !

        It may sound silly, but I really like this option. I wish there was a way to toggle between showing the X.Y coordinates and showing, as you have said, what you see it in your fifth screen shot

  2. Kevin November 3, 2016 at 8:49 am #

    Also… not sure if you mentioned or are aware… AND, not sure if this is the case in newer versions of the program, but in v9, ALL captures EVER made are stored as .SNAG files in the following location (Windows 7).

    C: / Users / <> / Appdata / Local / Techsmith / Snagit / Datastore

    I have over 6,000 files stored here, ready to be imported back into the SnagIt Editor very easily…
    This could pose a security risk.
    Does TechSmith have a method to manage these files.

    As far as I know, these captured images do not show up in the Library…

    Can you confirm?

    • Kevin November 3, 2016 at 8:50 am #

      Path should be…

      C: / Users / “User Name” / Appdata / Local / Techsmith / Snagit / Datastore

      • Jack Busch November 3, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

        Kevin – I can confirm I’ve got a bunch of SNAG files in that folder. These are my “unsaved” captures. They show up in my Library. If I delete them from File Explorer out of that folder, they disappear from my library. If I double-click them, they open up in SnagIt Editor from that location.

        • Kevin November 4, 2016 at 7:45 am #

          Hi Jack:
          The files I have in this folder are ALL of the captures I have taken.

          Even when I save the capture, as a JPG or other, the SNAG file remains in the folder.

          Is there some option I have not set which will delete these SNAG files when I save the capture???

          • Kevin November 4, 2016 at 8:08 am #

            Hi Jack:

            After testing, again, I can see that you are correct… the SNAG files disappear after I save then capture as a JPG.

            Just to note, when you alter a capture (I Resize the Canvas to crop captures quite frequently), Snagit saves a copy of the original capture as a SNAGundo file and creates a new SNAG file. If the original capture is required, the user can always rename this SNAGundo file to a new SNAG filename and open it up in Snagit.

  3. Jack Busch November 3, 2016 at 9:19 am #

    Good questions Kevin – I will look into it and let you know

  4. DEAN COLLINS November 3, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    Having owned Snagit for (seemingly) 2 decades, and knowing long ago how freaking impressive Snagit is, especially as a time-saver, I have just one thing that is either missing or hidden from me. That is the quality of the image that has been snagged. This didn’t seem to be a factor 10 years ago, but is apparent in 13 and 12. When snagging a UPC, for instance, the instrument has difficulty reading it. The issue lies not with my printer as a snipping tool image does not have this shortcoming.
    I should have stated this at the beginning, this article is over-the-top. A new user could become an intermediate user having perused just this one superb tutorial. TechSmith take note. Thanks

    • Steve Krause November 3, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

      Hi Dean,

      Not sure if this answers your question or not but, when you SAVE the image you took, you can choose the quality of the .JPG. Just click Save As > .JPG and Click OPTIONS. This is where you can adjust the quality of the saved file.

      Does that help?

      Oh – and I agree — AWESOME article Jack. 😉

      -Steve
      groovyPost

  5. Richard November 3, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

    Thanks for the post. Will definitely give it a try NOW! Thank you!

  6. Scott Schmerer November 4, 2016 at 4:56 am #

    I agree with the other commenters, awesome write up on 13 Jack. As a former Snagit 13 developer and current Camtasia developer, I am really excited to see what you think of Camtasia 9 🙂

    And to answer your question, I do know Snagit and I do love it! Panoramic is usually what I have wanted from a scrolling capture, so that feature has been a big win for me.

  7. Mike Curtis November 4, 2016 at 5:28 am #

    Hi Jack, Thanks for the thorough article! Nice work.
    I work at TechSmith and sometimes have to take screenshots of Snagit. It turns out there is actually an option that lets Snagit capture itself. In the Capture interface, click: File > Capture Preferences > Capture (tab) > Uncheck: Hide Snagit while capturing

    Another thing I didn’t know for a while is that when you’re looking at the magnifier and trying to get pixel perfect precision to avoid capturing any white space or border, you can use the arrow keys to adjust the capture size one pixel at a time.

    I can’t take credit for discovering these two tips. I think someone here showed me these tricks. 🙂

    Mike Curtis
    Business Development, TechSmith

    • Kevin November 4, 2016 at 9:40 am #

      Hi Mike:

      I found out about using the arrow keys for precision after using Snagit for quite a while. I used to struggle to get the perfect capture !

      Thanks for the Tip about capturing Snagit, itself. Very useful !

      And thanks to Jack for the great article !!!

  8. DEAN COLLINS November 4, 2016 at 6:04 am #

    Thanks Steve. Just tried it. The default settings were responsible. Greatful for gP and the contributors,

  9. beergas November 6, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    Just me but for a solid, everyday freebie my fave remains DuckLink.com v 2.7 which hasn’t been updated
    since Nov 2011 but excellent on Windows 10 x64 Pro. There’s also a Mac version. Region, Polygon, Window, Scrolling, FullScreen. Clipboard & Save as file. Has Advanced Options w/ select settings like
    Include Cursor, Close to system tray icon, etc. so be sure to look their esp for Output File (save location) and Keyboard (assigns).

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