Snagit (for Mac) review

OS X has easy-to-use image capture features built-in, but Snagit is the best of the third-party screen-capture apps, with more options and fine-tuning than any rival product.
Photo of Snagit (for Mac)

Every Mac has screen-capture features built in, so why should you spend money ($50, no less!) on a screen-capture app like Snagit? If all you need are images of the full screen or a rectangular section of it, just press Ctrl-Shift-3 for full screen or Ctrl-Shift-4 for a rectangle, and if you want to crop or convert the resulting image, simply open it in OS X’s Preview app. But if you’re reading this, you probably need a lot more—for example, you want to blur confidential data like email addresses, or you want to add a call-out or arrows, or apply graphic effects like a border or conversion to gray scale. Also, you may want the ability to make a timed capture with a countdown so that you can get an application to show exactly the menus you need, or you may want to create a screen video, complete with sound. Snagit (for Mac) does all this and more, and does it better and more efficiently than any other screen capture program I’ve ever tried.

Like other advanced screen-capture apps, Snagit has two interfaces. One is a small dialog that you use to set capture options. The other is a larger window that you use for editing and managing captured images. Snagit’s capture-option dialog is accessed by a miniature tab, about an inch high on a typical Mac screen, that takes a sliver of space at the right edge of the screen. Move the cursor over the tab and a small dialog slides in, showing a red button that you can click to start a capture. Smaller buttons let you specify whether to create a single image or a screen video, and whether to capture the cursor in the image, whether to delay the capture after clicking the red button, whether to open the image in the Snagit editor, and more. You can also initiate a capture by pressing a user-defined hotkey.

By default, when Snagit captures a screen it displays a set of crosshairs that you can drag to define the area you want to capture, and a magnifier lens that enlarges the area under the cursor so you can position the crosshairs precisely. By default, a captured image opens in the Snagit Editor, a user-friendly image-editing app with the ability to draw lines and shapes, add captions, edges, and borders. If you capture a video, the Editor only lets you preview it or capture a frame, so you’ll need an external program for trimming or modifying the video itself.

The editor has built-in functions for uploading images and videos to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Evernote, an FTP or Secure FTP site, and other targets.

I recently reviewed Snagit 11 for Windows. Snagit for OS X does the same things that the Windows version does, but does it in a more efficient way. For example, I make heavy use of the Blur tool to hide e-mail addresses on screen shots. In the Windows version, every time I want to blur text, I need to open the Blur dropdown menu and select the percentage of blur I want. In the Mac version, I simply set the blur level once on a slider control, and simply click the blur button to produce the effect. Also, the Mac version includes a “Revert to Saved” menu item that lets you quickly undo all your changes to an image—a one-click convenience that’s lacking in the Windows version.

Snagit for Windows got our Editors’ Choice rating for Windows screen capture apps. Snagit for Mac easily wins the same prize for OS X screen capture.

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OS Compatibility Windows Vista, Mac OS, Windows 7
Type Business, Personal

OS X has easy-to-use image capture features built-in, but Snagit is the best of the third-party screen-capture apps, with more options and fine-tuning than any rival product.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc