Freelance technical communicator to the stars. Podcaster, video maker, writer of interactive fiction
I ran a live stream a while back where I looked at new features in Snagit 2021 and how they can help those writing technical documentation or explanatory content generate great screenshots. And then I had a deadline, another deadline, and all sorts of other chaos, and somehow I only got around the blog post to accompany that livestream… now.
Well, on the positive, in the meantime, I have had much more time to get my hands on Snagit 2021 in a real-world context. So, if you need to create, edit, and manage screenshots, how can Snagit 2021 help you?
When to Upgrade Your Screenshot Tool
Wait! I hear you say. I can already take screenshots with macOS/Windows/Linux/command line/some other random tool! Why do I need Snagit? That’s a good question, and there is a possibility you don’t need something like Snagit in your screenshot toolchain.
Here are some reasons you might want to consider an upgrade to your screenshot tool if you:
- Need better management of screenshots beyond keeping them in folders in your desktop environment
- Want to be able to edit changes, overlays, and annotations to a screenshot
- Want to remove window chrome or simplify other UI elements from a screenshot
- Need to take screenshots larger than a window allows
Frequently when using other screenshot or image editing tools, you forget which style of annotation you used last time. Was it an arrow or a line? And what color or font did you use?
Snagit 2021 lets you create multiple themes that define the colors (up to 8) and style of annotation elements that you can toggle between for relevant screenshots. You can export and share these themes around a team.
Simplified User Interface (SUI)
Coined and created by TechSmith, the SUI concept has grown beyond the company. It refers to the abstracted interface you often see (more) in the documentation for GUI-driven applications to remove distractions from the concept you are currently explaining. A SUI is not relevant in every use case, and sometimes a cluttered user interface looks cluttered no matter how much you abstract it.
Snagit 2021 brings tools that attempt to generate a SUI automatically from a screenshot and new tools to touch up that automatic generation.
Below is an auto simplified screenshot from Discord and Spark on the Mac. As you can see, there’s a little work needed to make the SUI useful. For Spark and Discord, I removed the simplification from the main interface elements and left it for the emails and messages.
Creating animations from images
I have typically used Snagit to create animated GIFs from video recordings of my screen (Snagit is one of the few tools that makes this easier), and Snagit 2021 brings new features to do the opposite, create videos and animated GIFs from static images.
You can add a voiceover as you step through the images created, flip back and forth between the images and a webcam, add a background, and trim and cut segments. I will probably still record animated GIFs and video myself as it feels more “natural,” but it’s a good way to repurpose images you already have.
Combining images into instructional handouts
I have always worked documenting developer software, so I never had much of a need to create one-pager type docs that people can print out or send to customers. But if you do work documenting that kind of product, then Snagit 2021 offers a set of templates (and you can create your own) that you drag images to and add any relevant text.
The fixed page sizing can be limiting, and as you can see from the rough example I assembled below, you need to ensure that the images fit the spaces predefined for them. I have no real need for this feature, but I can support and customer success teams finding it useful to hand to customers to handle common questions.
In addition to your manual organization and tagging of screenshots, Snagit 2021 automatically organizes images for you by application and source (for example, animated GIF, from a template, etc.) I have found this increasingly useful to filter images I forgot I had taken.
Not necessarily related to the 2021 release, but other features I frequently find useful are the following.
Presets for screenshots
Taking a screenshot or recording in Snagit allows for a dizzying array of effects, parameters, and post-processing options. If there are combinations you use frequently, you can assign them to a present, and even better, trigger a preset from a custom keyboard shortcut.
Taking Screenshots of Menu Items
While I found that Snagit couldn’t handle some menus (probably more due to however the application was programmed), it’s generally straightforward to grab a neatly isolated screenshot of a menu by selecting the appropriate selection option from the Snagit Capture panel.
Inter-application sharing extensions are one of my favorite features of macOS that few developers leverage. Snagit supports that feature and also adds a plethora of customizable other sharing destinations that you use frequently.
Previously published at: https://chrischinchilla.medium.com/whats-new-for-documentarians-in-snagit-2021-24ce729fa87e
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