No matter who you are – software developer, technical writer, blogger, or just someone wanting to show off their cool desktop — you need to take the occasional screen capture. There are a large number of commercial, free, and Open Source screen capture tools out there. They range from bare bones apps to ones that are pretty powerful graphics applications. If your needs lie somewhere between those extremes, then you might want to give JShot a look.
JShot is written in Java. Before you install JShot, make sure that you have the Java runtime installed on your computer. Most operating systems come with it already installed, but it doesn’t hurt to check.
Once you’ve determined that you have the Java runtime installed, download the installer. There are two version: an executable for Windows and a .jar file for Linux and Mac OS X. If you’re using Windows, double click on the executable to launch the installer. If you downloaded the .jar file, crack open a terminal window, navigate to the directory into which you downloaded the file, and then run the following command:
java -jar jshotinstall.jar
Then follow the instructions on the installation screens.
Taking Screen Captures
If you’re doing a number of screen captures, it’s most convenient to launch the tray applet. Do that by selecting JShotTray from the Application or Start menu – for example, in Ubuntu select Applications > JShot > JShotTray.
Your capture options are limited: either a portion of a screen or window, or the full screen. Double click on the JShot tray icon to capture a section of the screen. Your mouse cursor will change to a plus sign (+) and you just click and drag to select the region. If you want to grab the entire screen, right click on the JShot tray icon and then select Capture > Full screen.
From there, you can save the screen capture (more on this soon), or edit it. To do the latter, click Edit with JShot. While I prefer to edit my images in The GIMP, the editor built into JShot doesn’t do too bad a job. With it, you can add shapes and lines to a screen capture, erase portions of the image, add text, and highlight text. Quick and dirty, but useful.
Saving Your Captures
If you want to be old fashioned, you can save your screen captures to your hard drive. Just click Save to file, give the file a name, and select the directory into which you want to save it.
But where’s the fun in that? Plus, you might not on you main computer, or might need to share the screen capture with someone else. JShot offers you a few ways to do that. You can upload a file to your Web site via FTP. If you have an account, you can also save your screen captures to any of the following services:
Just click the Share button in the JShot window to select the service that you want to use.
While not the most fully-featured screen capture program out there, JShot does a better-than-average job. It’s easy to use, has solid features, and runs on several operating systems. If you use more than two OSes, then this is a plus – you get a consistent experience, no matter which operating system you use.
Photo credit: LeWy2005