Screenshots have been described as the most important thing on the internet. And if you’ve seen them in tutorials, or even just used them in everyday communication, you already know how powerful screenshots can be. Screenshots are becoming valuable online currency for communicating more effectively. Knowing when and how to use right ones can help set you apart from everyone else. The info below shows why you should know, appreciate, and use all the different kinds of screenshots.
Definition: A single picture of a computer, smartphone, or tablet screen captured and saved as an image file.
It all starts with a basic screenshot. You don’t need to have any special applications or software to take a simple screenshot. This functionality is baked into virtually all Windows and Mac computers and smartphones at this point.
Quickly Show Data
2. Screen capture
Definition: The action of getting all or part of the current screen and turning it into an image or video.
While they may seem similar, a screenshot and screen capture are a little different. A screenshot only refers to a static image. A desktop screen capture involves grabbing anything on your screen, including images, animated GIFs, or videos. It sounds a little bit like arguing semantics, we know, but it can make a difference depending on what end result you want.
Say you want to capture an entire spreadsheet. Now it gets a little trickier.
Normally, you’d only be able to capture what you see on your screen, but if you want to capture anything beyond that, like wide, horizontal spreadsheets or infinitely long web pages, you’ll need a screen capture tool built for that. Snagit has built-in Scrolling Capture and Panoramic Capture features that make it simple to get all the content you need in one image, rather than piecing together several screenshots. (Even if you don’t have a copy of Snagit, you can get Snagit free for 15 days.)
Capture a scrolling map
Capture a large spreadsheet
Capture a multi-page PDF
3. Animated GIF
Definition: A moving picture in GIF format. A series of image frames is displayed in an animated sequence.
While animated GIFs aren’t exclusive to screen content, they can be a handy (and underutilized) way to share your screen.
Instead of taking individual screenshots to show someone a process, you can just capture a single animated GIF of what’s happening on your screen. Animated GIFs are also a lightweight file size and play automatically so they’re quick and easy to share on sites like Slack, JIRA, and Trello.
Submitting Helpdesk Tickets
Show a Series of Steps in a Process
Onboarding and Walkthroughs
Definition: Turning screen content into a video to teach an application or to promote a product by demonstrating features.
If you want to get more in-depth than just a simple screenshot or even an animated GIF, screencasts might be for you. If you’ve ever gotten help online for a piece of software or an application, chances are that you’ve come across a screencast.
These are videos that show your screen and usually include some sort of narration to help walk you through what you’re seeing.
Screencasts can be polished videos used by professional trainers or quick recordings to show a co-worker how to submit a ticket to IT. The idea is all the same.
What’s your favorite type of screenshot?
As you can see, there’s a lot more to capturing your screen than just screenshots. All these screenshot types can be created in a few minutes using Snagit. I’d love to hear about what has been most successful for you!
What types of screenshots do you use and where do you use them most often?