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How to take effective screenshots - using Greenshot

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Hi all,

I just wanted to share some tips on how you can take screenshots effectively, especially for when needing to take one for a forum post.

Firstly. the basic snipping tool functionality in Windows isn't bad but is very limited. As per this post, I am going to suggest an even better application which will take care of ALL your screenshot needs.


What is Greenshot?

Greenshot is a light-weight screenshot software tool for Windows with the following key features:

  • Quickly create screenshots of a selected region, window or fullscreen; you can even capture complete (scrolling) web pages from Internet Explorer.
  • Easily annotate, highlight or obfuscate parts of the screenshot.
  • Export the screenshot in various ways: save to file, send to printer, copy to clipboard, attach to e-mail, send Office programs or upload to photo sites like Flickr or Picasa, and others.

...and a lot more options simplyfying creation of and work with screenshots every day.

Being easy to understand and configurable, Greenshot is an efficient tool for project managers, software developers, technical writers, testers and anyone else creating screenshots.


It can be installed on:
- Windows (Open Source so it's completely free)
- Mac App Store ($1.99 / £1.44?)

URL to download: http://getgreenshot.org/downloads/


How to install it

I have only ever used the Windows version so this is what I am using this guide for:
(please note that your Infrastructure may have disabled your ability to install Applications. If so you should consult with them about installing Greenshot):

  1. Click on the URL above, and click on the link that says Latest Stable
  2. Either click Save to save the installation file somewhere (then open the file), or click Run to start installing it there and then.
  3. If you get a User Account Control pop up, simply click Yes.
  4. Press OK
  5. Accept the agreement and press Next >
  6. Press Next >
  7. Choose which Plugins you wish to integrate with and which Language you want to install for. In my case i am leaving the setup as Default. Press Next >
  8. If you want Greenshot to start when Windows start, simply press Next > otherwise untick the box and press Next > (note you will need to run Greenshot manually if you wish to use it after Windows start up)
  9. Press Install (I believe this installs Greenshot to the C:\Program Files folder)
  10. Once install Greenshot should be up and running.


Setting it up

  1. Greenshot will appear as an Application which sits next to your system clock in the bottom right hand corner. If you cannot see this icon, then you will need to run Greenshot manually by going to Start and typing "Greenshot" then run it.
  2. Right click on this icon and go to Preferences
  3. In the General tab you can specify the Keyboard shortcuts you wish to use depending on the type of screenshot you need to take. I've left mine as Default but feel free to set up your own shortcut combinations. Read the next section for information on each of the types of shortcuts


Types of screenshots

  • Capture Full Screen - This is the same as pressing Print Screen on your keyboard
  • Capture Window - This is the same as pressing CTRL + Print Screen
  • Capture Region - When using this, your screen will freeze allow you to draw a region over the area you wish to take a screenshot of
  • Capture Last Region - This simply freezes your screen and takes a screenshot of the last region you drew after
  • Capture Internet Explorer - If you have Internet Explorer open, using this will take a screenshot of the page, and if the page has a scrollbar, it will scroll down and take screenshots of the entire page and combine them into a single output.

Please note that whichever method you use, you will ALWAYS have a popup box asking you what you want to do with the screenshot. It is here you can choose what do with the image.


Save menu options

  • Save as (displaying dialog) - As it says, allows you to choose the Save Location for the screenshot that you have just taken.
  • Save directly (using preferred file output settings) - If you have amended the preferences in any way, you can specify which folder the screenshots will save to automatically. I believe the default would be your desktop.
  • Open in image editor - As it says, allows you to edit the screenshot in Greenshot's image editor
  • Copy to clipboard - Saves the screenshot to your clipboard. Useful for pasting straight into emails, or even onto a post on your Hornbill Instance
  • Send to printer - as it says, allows you to print the screenshot and output straight to a printer.
  • Microsoft ..... - Puts the screenshot straight into a blank document. If you've already done this once, then additional screenshots can be added to the same blank document over and over as many times as the screenshots you take.
  • MS Paint - Opens the screenshot into Microsoft Paint
  • Everything else is based on the plugins you chose from the installation.


"Open in image editor" save option

This is the best part of Greenshot. It's in here you can annotate, draw and even blur out sensitive text.

  1. The selection tool is the one you will use to move elements around the editor. It is indicated via the mouse icon.
  2. the Draw rectangle tool is used to draw a rectangle on the image, used for hightling an aspect of the screenshot. The settings can be defined at the top, then the rectangle can be drawn onto the image.
  3. the Draw ellipse tool is exactly the same as the rectangle tool, but allows you to draw circles instead
  4. The Draw Line and Draw Arrow tools work exactly the same way, except the different is that the Arrow Tool simply has... well an arrow on the end of the line.
  5. Draw freehand allows you to draw onto the image however you like. It's probably better to use if you have an electronic pen and pad... my screenshot should show how terrible it is with a mouse.
  6. Add textbox tool is used for adding text to the screenshot
  7. Add speech bubble tool allows you to put popup text on the page
  8. Counter tool allows you to put counters in. Useful for showing which steps to take in which order. This counter increments automatically.
  9. Highlight tool as it says on the tin, allows you to highlight aspects of your screenshot
  10. The Obsfucate tool is my personal favourite, this is what i use to blur out sensitive information
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3 hours ago, TrevorKillick said:

Getting a bit of competition here drawing on screenshots!

Well with this new-found knowledge, everyone can take part in the screenshot doodling wars :lol:

Maybe there could be a Hornbill Doodle Competition, where users are required to take a screenshot of a particular page on their Hornbill instance (competition rules) and doodle to their hearts content... within rules and guidelines of course :P

@Victor - What do you think? :rolleyes:

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31 minutes ago, TrevorKillick said:


This is the kind of thing we get on some of our defect notices ...

Hahaha that is truly epic, it uplifts the feeling you may have against the Defect notices I bet! :lol:

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@samwoo well... sometimes a reminder of the emotional impact caused by something is required... you should see the drawings of a rioting mob holding pitches and forks outside Gerry's office... just a way to express my feelings regarding some changes he might think of :D 

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3 minutes ago, Victor said:

@samwoo well... sometimes a reminder of the emotional impact caused by something is required... you should see the drawings of a rioting mob holding pitches and forks outside Gerry's office... just a way to express my feelings regarding some changes he might think of :D 

LOL you got me curious now! Any chance of producing an image of that mob? :lol: 

1 minute ago, DeadMeatGF said:

There is no way I'm giving the staff at my place the ability to free-draw on screen-caps ...

Maybe if you trial it, you will come around to... eventually ;) 

To be fair, there's only 2 extremely qualified screensot doodler's in my department... everyone else just uses Snipping tool and takes a screenshot of the whole screen rather than just the bits we need to see...

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11 minutes ago, DeadMeatGF said:

I doubt it. It would make it impossible to share customer screenshots on here if I needed help, for a start ...

Sounds like your colleagues / customers are very interesting people :P. Anyway I take screenshots for people if they have a problem with Hornbill, so I can share the issues here on the forums, i hardly annotate or doodle, but I blur (or Obfuscate) a lot!

Have you had a thought about maybe trying Greenshot yourself?

9 minutes ago, Victor said:

Something like this... on a quick draw...


Lmao @Victor that is truly epic, i'm trying to work out which stickman you are... i am assuming the one on the far left holding the brush? Who are the other stickmen? Anyone we know who is on the forums?

As for @Gerry in that picture, he must have something up his sleeve... this could turn out to be quite the story jus imagining it :lol:

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Haha I love the fact I leave the impression I am nice and calm in my ivory tower :) I have nothing to do, I leave the real work to the smart people here at Hornbill.  I look forward to the day when my depiction is surrounded by a beach rather than an office lol either my drawing skills or my Google Images skills are better than @Victor



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