Jing The Free SnagIt

Published: 26-Aug-2019
Last Updated: 13-Sep-2020

Anyone that is serious about writing documentation, or communicating effectively with other team members, will know what it means to utilize the screenshot features built into our computers. You know that "Print Screen" button on your keyboard that hides in the top corner. That's the one we're talking about.

Screenshot Background

On a Windows computer, there are keyboard shortcuts that help you take a proper "print screen", or an image capture of your screen. The first keyboard shortcut is Shift + Print Screen (which is to take an image capture, or "screenshot", of your entire screen, which includes multiple screens or full screen). A more laser focused approach in your image capture is to use Alt + Print Screen (capture image for just the 1 screen or window you're working in). 

Using these keyboard shortcuts to capture screenshots are very useful for those times when you just want to "copy" and "paste" the screenshot. It's quite lacking when you want to actually create an image file of the screenshot. To be honest, the standard screenshots feature that is built into the computer is one of our favorite tools. This is even more prominent when creating official documentation, like Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). 

On a Mac, however, the screenshot tools are very different. You can use CMD + Shift + 3 to take a screenshot and create an image. Or you could use CMD + Option + Shift + 3 to capture the screenshot for "copy" and "paste" purposes.

Yet, neither the default Windows or Mac screenshot options allow for optimum flexibility. Neither operating systems have a snipping tool, or a screen capturing tool built in. It's just at the basic level to capture everything you can see. 

That's where the next level software, built by TechSmith, called SnagIt would come in. SnagIt is such a highly coveted tool, that many organizations buy the licenses for their employees. SnagIt is just that good, and very useful on a Windows computer.

SnagIt is a screen capture tool with a nice large capture button. With SnagIt you can edit images and has minor video editing. It also comes with a snipping tool that many people find useful.  

What happened to Jing?

As a web developer, we were subcontracted under another agency early last year. When we began to get started on the first project, one of the mandatory tools was for a screen capturing software called "Jing". I'd never heard of it, but I found out quickly.

Jing is the free alternative to Snagit, both of which are built by TechSmith . Prior to that project, we'd never used either of these tools. we were using a Windows computer, and even though it was a project tool, it's actual use during the project was minimal. That's because screenshots were easy to do, and we never really had a need for it.

In July 2019, we migrated to iMac computers. It took several months to get a handle on how screenshots worked by default in our new Operating System (OS). That's likely because we're still using an HP keyboard.

I personally can't stand the low profile keyboards. I learned to code on my HP keyboard and love how it's a perfect fir for my hands.

Jared Ledbetter
CEO @carbondigital

When I first migrated back to a Mac (the first computer I bought for myself was a MacBook in 2007) it was a fun challenge. Many of the features that I've grown to love in Windows are completely different on Macs.

Most notably, in regards to this post, I used the built in screenshot features religiously! So, it was a huge shock when I couldn't figure out how to do it on my Mac. And then I remembered Jing.

I quickly installed it and I've been using this thing like CRAZY. Every couple of days I've got this thing open to take some glorious screenshots. The best part about it, aside from being free, is that the software works the same on both Windows and Mac computers. The only real difference is the placement of the icon on Mac is in the top right corner, whereas on Windows, the icon was in the top center.

How does Jing work?

It's really super simple, and I'll give a quick breakdown of it here. When you open the software, (on a Mac) the below circle icon will open and be placed into the top right corner. (It's placed at top center on Windows).

Open Jing

When you hover over the icon, you'll find this top "+" button here. This is for capturing images and video.

Capture Image

Afterwards, you will see this yellow "+" spanning your entire browser. This will follow your cursor, but don't click anything just yet.

Here you can see the image area that we plan to capture. You will have to draw this box from diagonal corners. So, for example, you would click (and HOLD) in the top left corner, then drag your cursor to the bottom right corner and release the mouse.

If you miscalculated the capture area, you can hover your mouse over the border and change the size.

Once you're ready to capture the image, click on the "capture image" button in the bottom left corner of the visible border. Once the image is captured, you then have the option to edit the image, and ultimately save the image. And that's basically it. It's a super simple software to use. The best part...it's free!

Free Alternative to SnagIt

So, if you're in the market for a screenshot software that is similar to SnagIt, and it's FREE, then you're in luck.

Jing is the tool for you.

News For July 2020

In July of 2020, TechSmith decided to retire Jing and replaced it with a screen capturing tool called TechSmith Capture.

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