The Best Free Screenshot Tool for Windows

Tanner Lytle
Tanner Lytle
July 12, 2021

One of the most important skills someone can have in the IT industry is the ability to write intelligible and valuable documentation.  We see new problems every day and the fixes need to be recorded, so it can be remedied anytime in the future by any technician we have.  A tool that I found that has revolutionized how we here at Honorbound IT do this free, open source, and incredibly easy to learn.

ShareX is an application that allows us to screen capture both images & videos, edit what we capture, and share with others.

The free download of ShareX is located here: https://getsharex.com/

Setting up ShareX

Once we have the application downloaded and installed, we will need to setup a few things.  First thing we do is set where we want our screenshots to be saved to.  I create a new folder on my desktop called "Screenshots" and from the Applications settings > Paths, point the application to use a customer screenshots folder and select the folder on my desktop.

Once we have ShareX setup to save screenshots to our chosen folder and have customized any additional settings to meet our needs we can get started using the application.

Using ShareX

I have found the best way to use the application is through it's keyboard shortcuts.  This allows me when working to quickly capture what I need without having to click around.

The keyboard shortcuts are setup by default as followed:

Capture Region - Ctrl + Print Screen

Capture Entire Screen - Print Screen

Capture Active Window - Alt + Print Screen

Start/Stop Screen Recording - Shift + Print Screen

Start/Stop Screen Recording (GIF) - Ctrl + Shift + Print Screen

I find that the main two shortcuts are use are "Capture Region" & "Start/Stop Screen Recording (GIF)".  Since I use 3 monitors in my setup, capturing the entire screen will capture all 3 of what is currently displayed on my monitors. The capture region has this great feature where it will adjust itself based off the area I may want to screenshot within a window, it also allows me to precisely draw the region I want and has a little magnifying glass that lets me select down to the pixel.

Once I have captured the screenshot a copy of it is laved to my screenshots folder as well as copied to my clipboard.  This is makes it super easy for me to then paste the screenshot right into any document I'm currently working on, or have a saved copy in the screenshots folder that I can import from later.

A game-changer for us in our documentation is the use of animated GIF images.  By using the keyboard shortcut - Ctrl + Shift + Print Screen - we can create a zone we want to record, start the recording, perform our actions, and once we stop the recording the ShareX application will have an animated gif processed and saved to our screenshot folder.  Rather than having to create many different screenshots to show steps in a process, one of these GIF files can be used to clearly document the process.

Once a screenshot is captured we also have the ability to edit it.  I use this a lot to add labels, numbers, or any other visual indicators to the image that helps communicate what steps should be done in the documentation.  From the ShareX application, right click on the screenshot to edit and select "Edit Image".

Here is an example a few of the things that can be done editing a screenshot.  NOTE: Always make sure to save once completed with editing the screenshot!

Conclusion

ShareX is an extremely valuable tool that I use everyday when creating documentation, taking notes when doing training, writing articles like this one, or just seeing some awesome thing I want to save!  What is also incredible is that it's a free, open-source tool that anyone can add to their arsenal of Windows tools!

Tanner Lytle
Leading the Sales Department of Honorbound IT, Tanner is the main point of contact for a new and existing customers. When not working with others, he is busy updating the website and creating articles and videos!