For most of us, performing a screen capture just doesn’t happen often enough to justify buying a dedicated application to do so. We usually do a quick search on Google for a free utility and just use it for whatever project is on hand at the time. Then the screen capture tool either gets deleted immediately or we leave it installed until one day we don’t even know what it is or it’s trial is expired. Then the process is repeated until we find another free one. There are tons of screen capture tools out there and they for the most part they do the job and are easy to come by. Sure, some of the paid tools have super cool features and once you see one in action it’s kind of like “I’d like to get it, but damn. $50??”
PicPick – The Best Free Screen Capture Tool
PicPick is a free utility that not only does screen captures, but has a good variety of extra tools to go along with it. While not a professional grade utility, it definitely has some horsepower. Here are just a few of it’s features.
- Take screenshots. Either fullscreen, region, active window or even a hand drawn area.
- It can be customized to use just about any hotkey for all its functions.
- You can add annotations like arrows and text.
- Has a built-in editor to crop, resize and edit images.
- You can apply image effects like blur, color balance, etc.
- Extra tools like a color dropper, pixel ruler and a whiteboard.
It really is a feature rich tool. A couple of my favorites are the pixel ruler and whiteboard. The pixel ruler will pop up on your screen and can be moved anywhere. It does exactly what its name says. It measures pixels. This has so many uses and not just for screen captures. I actually used it the other day to help with a CSS layout for a website.
The whiteboard is just plain awesome. It allows you to draw on top of your screen. This is great when you need to lets say, circle an icon or bring attention to a certain area. Usually you have to take the screenshot, then load it into an editor and add the circle, line or text there. With PicPick’s whiteboard you can draw on top of your screen beforehand, and then take the screenshot. Once done, simply hit the erase button. Pretty awesome!!!
You can download PicPick from here.
This is the homepage for PicPick. There are actually two versions, a free one and a commercial one. The download for the free version will actually take you to CNET.
While the installation is pretty straightforward, there are couple things I would like to make you aware of.
During the installation you will see a couple of screens that look like this:
Don’t get tricked into clicking “Next”. These screens have nothing to do with PicPick. They are just bloatware that will get installed by an unsuspecting user. Simply click “Decline” on both screens and your installation of PicPick will continue without a problem. (One of the downsides to free software)
Once installed you’ll probably want to configure some options. Depending on how often you might perform a screen capture, one option you might want to activate is to Run the Program at Startup. That way it will sit in your system tray ready to use. The second thing you’ll definitely want to setup are hotkeys, to make things even faster and more convenient.
That’s about it. The program is easy to use and I think you’ll really like how easily it is to create screen captures. It now resides on my Windows system permanently and is a definite keeper.
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