Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Greenshot Screen Capture - The best

Utility: Greenshot Screen Capture

When I need screenshot illustrations for this blog or for documentation at the office, I use a utility called Greenshot.


Greenshot is a free, no advertisement, no registration, no-strings-attached utility.  The authors ask for a donation; they do not nag.  I recommend this program

How it works:

After installing, note the "Greenshot" icon in the "G" system-tray, meaning the program is running and waiting.

At any time, press the keyboard's Print Screen key and draw a box around the part of the screen to capture.  (Other keystrokes will capture the entire screen, the same area as last time, etc., as well as other options to boring to list here.) 

For example, her is a screenshot of Windows Explorer.  Notice the size, in pixels.  The program can optionally capture the mouse pointer and it can show a pixel magnifier. 

Then it prompts for a location:

I typically choose "copy to clipboard" or "Open in Image Editor".

"Open in Image Editor" is my favorite destination -- This option is slightly misnamed.  By default, it opens in a small Greenshot editor -- not in your photo editor.  From here, you can manually copy to the the clipboard, where I then paste into my favorite graphic editor.

I like the "Open in Image Editor" because it opens a new window with each Print Screen, acting like multiple clipboards.  I might have a dozen of these open, then, as needed, I copy the image to the Windows clipboard and manually paste into my graphics editing programs.  This helps keep my work organized.

You can also write automatically to a numbered file-folder; a feature I have not used, but understand its usefulness.

The Image Editor even has click-to-place counters!  Oh, my heart, be still!  As well as line-drawing and shape tools....


Because of new security with Windows 8 and newer, you may find the PrintScreen key does not work on all screens you are trying to capture (pressing PrintScreen does not activate the highlight).  I made the following changes:

A.  From the System Tray, select the Greenshot icon, Preferences.  In the General tab, set the program to not [  ] Launch Greenshot on startup.

B.  Then, from the Start Menu, type the letters, "Greenshot".  When the program is found, other-mouse-click the icon and "Pin to Start"

C.  Launch the program manually by "other-mouse-clicking" the Greenshot desktop tile, choose "More" and then "Run as Administrator"

With this, you will have full control, on any screen.  Greenshot's FAQ explains the reasoning behind this.

I continued with these other preferences, set one-time: 

From the System Tray icon, set preferences. 

a.  I like to change the default Output Destinations to "Open in Image Editor":  This gives me multiple clipboard like functionality.


Download the utility from the Vendor's site (link at the top of this article); do not download from SourceForge or other sites because many have re-packaged the program around banner ads, browser changes and other nefarious stuff.  I learned this from personal experience.

Other comments:

The source code is available for the curious and there is a good FAQ section on the website, which will answer any other questions you might have.

Related Links:

My favorite graphics/photo editor:  Corel Paintshop Pro - used for all illustrations here.


  1. Tim, I use this tool a lot! It indeed is effective and very easy to use. The "send to printer" function is useful too. In my case I don't have a paper printer, so I use that choice to print to PDF if I just need to keep a copy of a purchase confirmation screen or directions, etc.
    It makes reasonably sized files too, unlike other utilities that can end up creating really large files - unfriendly to mobile email users.

  2. I see on their website they are now offering a OS X version. It does cost $1.99. They say its different than Windows version. Might try it.
    Have used some on my work PC.


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