5 Ways to Use Screen Captures to Cut Down on Email

By the end of 2017 alone there will have been 269 billion emails sent worldwide. Billion, with a B. 269,000,000,000! Do you know how many of those emails include countless back-and-forths? Probably a lot! That’s a lot of time (think money) spent on clarification. In this post I want to talk about how to use screen captures (both still capture and video screen capture) to communicate visually and cut down on endless, back-and-forth email threads.

1. Shorten the feedback loop

It’s easy enough to leave comments or suggestions in a Google Doc, but how much context gets lost in those text comments? Instead, record a video walking through your comments so the author understands exactly how you meant things!

2. Show, instead of tell!

Which do you prefer?

email feedback


email feedback with screenshot


3. Teach a program or tool

One thing that wastes time is repeating yourself. If you regularly get asked to help onboard new hires and show them the ropes of your office’s myriad of software and technology, why not make a video walking through the steps, and post it on a central location like the company intranet where it can be referenced anytime!


4. Project result updates

You’ve just completed a big study and analyzed all the data. Now you want to present those results to your team. You can write up a big long email, call a meeting, make a PowerPoint presentation (complete with screenshots of graphs with important points called out), or you can make a video. A video is a great option because it can be referenced later, watched at one’s own pace, and shared with more people than you can pack into a meeting room.

Project Results Graph

5. Report bugs and product feedback

In tech support and the IT world, screenshots go a long way. Whenever possible, I take a screenshot of errors I experience so I can send them to IT for a quick diagnosis. Sometimes the response is “Oh ok, just do this…” and sometimes it’s “Ooh, that’s a new one… I’ll come take a look.” Either way, it communicates the exact issue you’re having, without having to type out a paragraph of descriptive text.

Sprout Bug

Notice some of these use cases still use email, but less of it! It’s pretty unlikely we’ll be able to eliminate ALL email, but we can certainly do our part in the fight against email pollution.

What are some ways you can start using screenshots to cut down on email? Let us know on the socials and be sure to subscribe to the blog for more helpful tips on visual communication!