One of the most useful Windows applications that I use daily.

There are several big apps that I use on a daily basis. These include things such as Google Chrome (and various other web browsers), Microsoft Office applications, Adobe tools that we use for design work and various others. There is however, a tiny and relatively simple tool that is insanely useful, and it makes our lives so much easier. This is why I have decided to write this article and share this tool with you.

The name of this app is Snipaste. It is a screen capture tool. Simple right? Well, yes… that’s all it is. It’s an app that takes screenshots – but on steroids. There are A LOT of tools that will help you do this. Windows itself, has it’s own Snipping tool, and it’s newer Snip & Sketch and there are loads of other applications that can do the same operation. But so far, I have never found a tool that fits so nicely into my work processes than Snipaste. Let me explain why.

First of all, this tool can be downloaded from here – Snipaste screen capture tool

After it’s downloaded and installed, you just need to launch it one, and it silently sits in the background waiting for it to be summoned.

Taking a new screenshot, is now a simple matter of pressing the F1 button on your keyboard. Once the F1 is pressed, the entire screen will turn dark to indicate that the screen capturing mode is on. All you need to do then is to drag a box with your mouse or touch-enabled device to capture the area of the screen that you wish to capture. It is insanely useful when you just really need to take a screenshot of a portion of the screen.

So far, there is nothing new or revolutionary. Every other screen capture tool can do this. What happens next is what sets this tool apart.

As you can see, below the captured area, there is a small toolbar that allows you to do various actions. Let’s start from the simplest ones. (excuse the quality of the image, iI zoomed in to the image a lot to show the icons properly.

The first four icons from the right, are copy, save, pin and close. These should be pretty self-explanatory. The one that I use the most is the “copy” button, as by pressing that button, you can then paste the captured image into a document, email etc. If instead of pasting it in your content, you want to save or attach to an email, then you can use the “Save” button instead. The “pin” button, allows you to pin that screen capture to your screen, and the “close”… well, closes this window.

The next set of tools is also REALLY useful.

As shown above, each icon in the toolbox has its own purpose. You have tools such as:

  • Shapes – to draw shapes over your screenshots
  • Lines – to draw lines
  • Arrows – to draw arrows
  • Pen – annotate using your mouse as a pen
  • Highlighter – highlight areas of your screenshot.
  • Blur – blur a portion of your screenshot
  • Text – add text
  • Eraser – erase what you have added

Below, you can see all the tools in use in one screenshot. Excuse the mess in this image, but please bear with me. As you can see, I have used this screenshot to illustrate what this tool can do. Let’s assume that you need to send this to someone else to carry out some changes to your website. The arrows can be used to point towards certain parts of the website screenshot below. The shape tool has been used to immediately highlight the ‘contact us’ button, and I have added instructions using the text tool so that the button can be changed to green. The first line of the paragraph has been highlighted using the highlight tool, and below the paragraph, I jotted down a simple pen/mouse annotation. You can use it to draw something. Last but not least, I have added a blur (pixelation) to hide any confidential information.

This is not all. There are some other extra features. When you are using the various drawing, shapes, and arrow tools, a second toolbar appears right below, that gives you some other options based on the tool you have just clicked. In this case, we can amend the thickness of the arrow, but also select between three different arrow options, and finally, also change the colour.

Last but not least, is the colour picker. This is one of the most essential tools for me. You may not be familiar with web colours. For us web designers, we rarely use colour names to refer to specific colours. We tend to use web codes to accurately point to a specific colour.

For example: If a client decides that they want something done in Orchid colour. The exact shade of colour that the client has in mind, may not exactly be what the designer has in mind. A quick Google search also reveals a lot of different options. Therefore, this can cause confusion.

With web codes, you can never go wrong, and Snipaste can help you pick the right colour that you would like to use. Once you activate snipaste, with the F1 button, the mouse cursor is able to pick colours, and as indicated below, the colour orchid colour code is now #db70db. Handy right?

I hope this article helps. I highly suggest you to download this tool and give it a try. It will make your life easier by allowing you to explain on-screen items with great ease, and avoid a lot of confusion.