Mac utilities are fun to collect and use, and there are plenty for Mac OS X.
Take screen captures, for example. How many ways are there to capture a screen on a Mac? More than you might think.
There’s always been a need to capture and print something from a screen, Mac or PC. Both have the feature built in, OS X or Windows.
There’s also many different items from a screen that may need to be captured before saving or printing.
There’s the whole screen, regardless of size. There’s any single open window, regardless of content. There’s also pieces of windows.
Mac OS X handles all that with ease, using just a few standard keystroke commands. Click here and there, and everything on the screen is captured and saved.
Click a different combination and an open window’s contents are captured and saved. Mac OS X makes the process utterly painless and ultra simple.
So why are there about a dozen different Mac utilities that do pretty much the same thing—screen captures? I’m rather certain there are more ways to capture pieces of a Mac’s screen than there are Mac word processors. Or browsers. Or graphic applications.
Seriously. Do the math. A recent search on MacUpdate came up with a surprisingly long list of utilities that do surprisingly the same thing. Screen captures.
Some are superb, some are crummy, some haven’t been updated for a year or two or three, but all do about the same thing the same way. Screen captures.
My favorite screen capture tool is, and has been, and probably will always be, SnapZ Pro; probably because it does more and does it well. More than likely it’s because I can remember the keystroke combination, and I forget all the others.
All the others is a healthy list of Mac utilities to extract from your Mac’s screen what you see so you can save it and see it again later.
I like what’s free and was immediately attracted to CaptureMe from Chimoosoft. With a name like that, it’s gotta be good. Actually, it’s no better or worse than any of the other dozen or so screen capture utilities on the Mac.
There’s also AlphaCapture, which, at $25 is pricey, but still a mid-range product with features that go beyond Mac OS X’s screen capture utility.
It’ll hide the Desktop, trim edges, and, well capture the screen like all the other utilities.
How many such utilities does one need, free or otherwise?
Another favorite is FlySketch, from Flying Meat Software. With a name like that, it’s gotta be worth $25, right? What’s it do? Capture screens. Try to keep up.
FlySketch adds that cute “sketching” capability to screen captures which makes it more handy and useful than what comes with Mac OS X.
Among the free and the brave screen capture utilities is the cleverly named and equally free ScreenCapture X. Some of these screen capture utiilities do away with the keystroke combinations that I have trouble remembering.
I just installed another utility called InstantShot which resides in the menu bar. It has a nice “shot” sound when it captures something, but it doesn’t do much more than what comes with Mac OS X Tiger.
SnapNDrag is also free and also captures—ta da!! The Mac’s screen. I’d list all of the utilities which do something similar to screen capture except that 2006 is rapidly coming to an end and I’m afraid I wouldn’t finish before Macworld 2007 in January.
Some screen capture utilities also capture screen and mouse movements as a movie, which is great for training or instruction videos. SnapZPro shines there, but so do many others, including iShowU, ScreenRecord, and ScreenMimic, which does the same thing but saves the movie as a Flash file.
It’s remarkable that there are so many ways to do what amounts to the same thing—record screen images, either as files or movies. Granted, screen capture is neccessary and a good way to preserve a web page, or a graphic, but why so many utilities with the same function?
Do you capture screens or portions of screens on your Mac? What’s your tool of choice and why? Do you capture screen movements as movies? If so, why so?
As always, share your experience, taste, and consideration with other Mac360 readers in the Comments section below.