RE: Screen Capture Software

Subject: RE: Screen Capture Software
From: Michael West <mbwest -at- bigpond -dot- net -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 22:20:00 +1000

> ... I was wondering what the best screen capture software out
> there is? I always have problems taking screen captures and then trying
> to resize them (after cropping them, they come out blurry). Any
> suggestions?

You want a simple answer, right?
Okay, here goes: It depends.

Unfortunately there is no simple
answer. The "best" screen capture
software is one thing, and the problem
of blurry results after resizing is another.
The two aren't necessarily connected.

Add to that the fact that "resizing" and
"cropping" are two different things, and
you begin to see the complexity involved.

And then there's the question of whether
you are optimizing for screen display or for
print, and the question of what application
you are sourcing from and what application
you are publishing in.

So if you want some really helpful answers,
you'll need to ask a more specific question.
There are some fairly thick books on this general
subject matter, so you'll need to specify exactly
what you want to do.

For example, I'm doing most of my publishing
in Word and PDF at the moment. I find that
Paintshop Pro gives me good screen captures,
as long as I capture them at exactly or close
to the final size. Cropping them is not a problem,
but resizing usually is.

If I'm publishing to the Web, I'll convert the *.bmp
files to *.jpg or *.png. If I'm publishing to print, I'll
leave them as they are.

The latest Acrobat PDFmaker usually does a good job
of handling Word documents with screen captures.
(This hasn't always been the case.)

But you haven't said what applications you're using,
and you may have completely different requirements
from mine. You haven't said what you are using your
screen captures for. Do they serve an instructional
purpose -- or is it just a no-brainer way of filling
pages? If they are actually illustrating a procedure, then
you will usually find that you don't really need to capture
a whole window or dialog, but just a small area of a window.
This usually results in a more helpful document than one that
just serves up whole screens willy-nilly, as if there some
value in reproducing on paper what the user can already see
on the screen.

Many issues to be considered ...

Mike West
Melbourne, Australia


sourcing tool for FrameMaker that lets you easily publish your content
online. No macro language required!

Mercer University's online MS Program in Technical Communication Management:
Preparing leaders of tomorrow's technical communication organizations today.
See or write George Hayhoe at hayhoe_g -at- mercer -dot- edu -dot-

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