January 29, 2007 tools

Window Clippings 1.5

Capturing screenshots for a book used to be a piece of cake. Alt+PrintScreent and you were golden. However, sometimes I wanted to get the cursor, too, and neither Alt+PrintScreen nor PrintScreen does that, so I got myself a copy of SnagIt. Unfortunately, if I wanted to capture multiple screens, I was putting a maximized copy of Notepad in the backgrand, using PrintScreen and PBrush to do the cropping (although SnagIt has slightly more seamless multi-window selection).

Still, this all worked ’til Vista came along and Alt+PrintScreen left the shadows out! I was fine with that, but Ian correctly pointed out that the screenshots with the shadows looks *so* much better that I could hardly say no.” And I discovered the Snipping Tool in Vista, which let me do a selection on any part of the screen I wanted to, except that now instead of just doing Alt+PrintScreen, even for a single window, now everything is a selection, which means that somebody (hopefully not me!) has to trim the extra whitespace to make sure the pictures layout OK in the book.

I told you all of that so you could know that I envy folks that don’t have to do screenshots! It’s hard to make it look right, although, for visual technologies, I really can’t imagine not having them. Anyway, I was definately open to another screen capturing technology and that’s when someone turned me on to Windows Clippings.

When I found Kenny Kerr’s most excellent screen capture tool, it was so close to what I wanted (it did Vista shadows with no guesswork!), that I sent Kenny an email with my feature request (easy child+parent capturing support), fully expecting not to hear back (it’s clear from his web site that he’s a busy guy!). Not only did he reply, but he’d implemented my feature!

And it was such a time-saver, that I forwarded it along to Ian, who had his own feature request (keeping the transparency in the captured image w/o grabbing the stuff underneath), which Kenny promptly implemented (with some example code from Ian). Of course, that broke my feature (the constant animation of WPF apps + capturing transparency caused problems), so Kenny fixed that, too. By this point, Kenny’s app itself was notifying me of updates faster than he could send the emails.

All of this is merely to say, I’m really loving my Windows Clippings experience. Thanks, Kenny!