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Screen grab utilities: How to go beyond “PrtScn”

So you want to take a screen grab – can't you just use the "PrtScn" (Print Screen) key at the top of your keyboard? Yes and no. You can certainly take a basic screenshot using everyday Windows tools – hitting PrtScn, pasting the image into Microsoft Paint, and saving it out. But you can't capture moving video, portions of windows, or images too big to fit on your screen. If you'd like to do any of that for, say, training manuals, presentations, technical assistance, or just plain fun, you'll need a specialised screen capture tool.

One of our favourites remains SnagIt, a £35 download from TechSmith. You can use SnagIt to take shots of moving images, including DirectX games and full-screen video. But that's just for starters – you can capture individual windows, menus, or any other portion of your desktop with ease. You can also grab an entire web page – not just the part that appears on your screen – by capturing the image as you scroll through it. And you can edit your images easily, adding annotations with a virtual marker or inserting text comments.

Another good option for easy and versatile screen capture is FullShot 9.5 from Inbit. Priced at £30, this software provides a range of capabilities such as annotation, scrolling captures, and effects you can add to grabs such as drop shadows or glare.

Perhaps our top choice, though, when you take the price into account, is Ashampoo Snap 7 at £12. Despite its budget price tag, it offers annotation and drawing tools, timers for interval capture of shots, and all manner of other features all accessed via a nicely streamlined interface. It's the most beginner-friendly of the programs here.

Whichever option you plump for, you're guaranteed a vast amount more flexibility in your screen grabbing.