Are you looking for a fast, easy and reliable screen capture freeware tool? You will like FastStone Capture.
The first name that comes to mind in this field is SnagIt. It’s very powerful and packed with interesting features. But it’s not free, you have to pay 39.95$ for a licensed version, which is quite a high price if you are not planning to use all of them.
Recently, the guys at TechSmith made available the download of a full-licensed previous version (7.2.5) for free (with the possibility of upgrading to the latest version at half the price), but the offer expired on Jan 7th. Too bad!
The latest version (5.9) of FastStone Capture is now shareware (30 day free-trial and 19.95$ for a lifetime license), but you still can find easily the freeware version (5.3). I’ve been using this tool for several weeks and I must say I’m really satisfied. It’s easy and reliable and I’m seriously considering an upgrade to the paid version.
Let’s take a quick look at its features.
First of all the download size is minimal (only 1.3 Mbs) and it will run on systems equipped with every version of Windows, at least (!) 256 Mbs of RAM, 5 Mbs of hard disk space and a mouse.
When you run the executable you will see a floating Capture Panel (that will hide itself automatically when you enter in screen capture mode) with a collection of icons.
The meaning of the icons is very intuitive: you can capture the active window (Shift+PrtSc is the hotkey), a window or an object (Alt+PrtSc), a rectangular region (Ctrl+PrtSc), a freehand region (Shift+Ctrl+PrtSc), the entire screen (PrtSc) or an entire scrolling window (Ctrl+Alt+PrtSc). The hotkeys provided are the default ones, but you can customize them (as well as many other things) in the settings window.
I found particularly useful the Scroll Refresh Time option. Increasing this value (the default is 50 milliseconds) will be of help when capturing an entire scrolling window if you notice that the capture engine cannot keep up with the scrolling speed (blank lines in the screenshot).
As you can see below, another interesting feature is that you can easily define from the Capture Panel where the screenshot you are taking will be sent, as well as other things like the possibility of defining a caption, an edge or a watermark image or if you want to include the mouse pointer in the screenshot itself.
The included image editor is fast and useful for basic image editing purposes.
When FastStone Capture is minimized in the tray area, it will use very few resources (only 480kb) and you can always access its features from the menu that will be opened with a right-click on the tray icon.
From the same menu you can launch the Screen Magnifier and the Screen Color Picker that can also be added to the Capture Panel via the Settings window.
As I was saying before, FastStone Capture is no longer available as freeware software starting from version 5.4 but the features I showed in this article are all included in the freeware version.
The shareware version offers a number of enhancements like more edge effects, an enhanced screen magnifier, the possibility to send the screenshots directly to Word and Powerpoint, the possibility of capturing multiple windows and objects as well as multi-level menus, and a lot more. But if you are looking for a screen capture freeware tool the 5.3 freeware version will do a great job.
(and just in case you are wondering …no, WorthaWow is not affiliated with FastStone, TechSmith or any other website cited in this article, meaning that if you download this software we will not make money).