Monday, September 6, 2010

Screen Captures

Many years ago, I learned about the screen capture button on my PC. I was delighted to discover that I could click the button and simply capture a picture of almost anything that I was looking at on my computer screen (This is very similar to taking a snap-shot).

Screen capturing has become more versatile than the simple "Print Screen" button. Many web-based and software screen capture offerings are available; ranging in price from "free" to approximately $80. The differences between them are the types of captures one can do, the degree of editing capability, in addition to the ability to download for private use or share globally. This is a MUST have tool for the nurse educator because of the wide-range of applications that it can be used for.

I use screen capturing software (SCS) to enhance pictures, words, and to make videos that I use in slide-show presentations and learning modules. I like using SCS to create video tutorials that are "voiced-over" such as explaining a new form that needs to be in-serviced to everyone in the hospital. Backup video screen captures have also come in handy when Internet access was unavailable in rooms where I was giving a presentation. What I like about this tool is that it is relatively simple to use, inexpensive, and the results are quite impressive.

Types of screen captures:

■ Full screen: Only what appears on the screen
■ Full window: Only what appears on the screen minus the tool bars and ribbons
■ Region: A selected portion of the page
■ Scrolling region: Everything that appears on a page including sections where it is necessary to scroll to view all content
■ Screen video with recording: Capture or create videos with audio

I use Snagit by TechSmith, which is a commercially sold SCS. Captures are simple to accomplish. The Snagit editing tray is easy to use and offers a broad range of functions including resizing, coloring, adding words, and even more options to enhance the screen capture. Snagit version 10 is affordable and at the time of this writing, retails at $49.95. An education price is available at $37.95. I am still able to use my print screen key and it automatically defaults to Snagit!

For nursing education departments that currently do not use SCS, I strongly recommend trying one of the free versions or download a free trial for commercially sold SCS to determine which one best meets the needs of the department (See comparison chart). Note: Many SCS are available on the web, I am listing those that I have used.

Screen Capture Comparison Chart


  1. Welcome to the blogging world. Hope you have much success!

    I have been using Camtasia 7 for about 3-4 months. Finally getting the hang of it. You need a very fast processor. Got the new i7 from Intel in my new laptop. Works like a dream!

    Good luck
    And will add you to my nurse blogger blogroll!

  2. Thank-you very much Dr. Dean for the warm welcome and for placing me on your blogger blogroll! I've been using Camtasia for over 3 years for producing in-hospital learning vids in a variety of formats. I plan to blog about all the tools I use!