Jing The Free SnagIt

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, the the screenshot keyboard shortcuts of Shift + Print Screen (screenshot everything visible on the computer, including multiple screens) or Alt + Print Screen (capture just the 1 screen or window you're working in) is 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. That's where SnagIt would come in.

SnagIt is such a highly coveted tool, that many organizations buy the licenses for their employees. It's just that good, and very useful on a Windows computer.

Edit: 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. It's just at the basic level to capture everything you can see. Screenshot tools like SnagIt allow you to utilize a significant amount of flexibility to capture exactly what you're wanting instead of having to crop the images later.

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
Founder & CEO, Carbon Digital

From the Owner:

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.

jing is the free snagit start capture

Capture Image

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

jing is the free snagit hover cross

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.

jing is the free snagit draw capture area

Once the image is captured, you then have the option to edit the image, and ultimately save the image.

jing is the free snagit capture image

Below is the image we just captured above.

jing is the free snagit our captured 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.

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