I recently downloaded the free, 30-day trial version of FastStone Capture 7.1, a screen capture and editing tool, to help create diagrams for a project. I found it so easy to use and effective at creating diagrams (among other things) that I purchased a license.
While I am very satisfied with FastStone, I thought fellow technical communicators might find it helpful if I compared the features of FastStone Capture 7.1 and Snagit 11. This two part blog post will illustrate the pros and cons of both tools. In the first part, I will explore the interface, screen capture capabilities, and draw tool. In the second part, I will look at the effects tool, auto features, output, and screen recording.
FastStone’s interface is small, simple, and easy to use. It nicely features the core capture capabilities on the toolbar along with dropdown menus for output selection and settings. The discreet interface is one of this tool’s prominent features. With one mouse click on the toolbar, you can quickly capture multiple windows or objects, custom or fixed regions, scrolling windows, and video.
Snagit’s interface is large, clearly labeled, and easy to use. Snagit relies on preset Capture Profiles for image, video, or text capture using the “All-in-One” capture feature within Profile Settings for window, region, scrolling window, or video screen capture. Within Profile Settings, you can use Snagit’s Time-saving Profiles or create your own by preselecting input, output, effects, and capture modes to suit your needs.
Snagit’s interface is easy enough to navigate, but it takes multiple clicks of the mouse to achieve the same capture result as FastStone. Additional steps and a large interface, leaves Snagit feeling intrusive and impedes work efficiency when compared to FastStone. Snagit, however, does enable a One Click menu, which hides at the top of the computer screen when enabled. All profiles, the main Snagit interface, and Snagit Editor can be accessed with “one click” from this dropdown menu.
Screen Capture Capabilities
FastStone and Snagit both contain a full suite of screen capture capabilities including full screen capture, window and object capture, free and fixed region capture, scrolling window capture, and screen recording.
FastStone provides all capture capabilities directly on the toolbar for quick capture of a single active window, multiple windows, a fixed region, scrolling window, or video. For example, multiple windows are easily captured in one step. Capture settings can be further adjusted to achieve customization for fixed region and scrolling window capture.
Snagit, on the other hand, requires the user to take multiple steps to achieve the same capability. For example, users must select the Image Capture Profile from the interface, set the Capture Type, click Capture, and select the intended windows of the screen for multiple window capture in a three-step process.
Snagit, however, allows significantly more customization for window, object, and video capture as is achieved through the Profile Settings menu. Snagit also boasts useful screen capture features such as text capture with editing capabilities and time delay capture, which FastStone does not provide.
FastStone and Snagit’s editors offer similar draw tools for editing with the same level of customization for color, font, size, shadow, and opacity. Both draw tools are clearly labeled and easy to use.
Snagit’s editor affords a few more bells and whistles such as a customizable callout and stamp library, which FastStone does not have. However, FastStone does feature image import on the draw tool where graphics from an external source can be added to the capture.
FastStone’s draw tool is very clean, simple and easy to use which I like, but Snagit offers more design features to embellish your capture.
Snagit also allows you to open a previously saved file and re-edit text and design features. FastStone, on the other hand, allows you to open a previously saved file in the editor, but only allows you to add to the capture, not re-edit. This is a true drawback of FastStone’s editor as I do not want to have to recreate a capture to simply edit font size within the text box.
However, one minor annoyance I find with Snagit’s draw tool lies with the position of the text box editor. It constantly appears directly over the text box you are editing. This is quite frustrating as it obscures what you are trying to edit. You must move the text box editor over each time to clearly view your text box.
Part two of this blog post will explore the effects tool, auto features, output options, and screen recording. Let us know what you think about screen capture tools and what works for you.