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Screen Captures

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A screen capture, or screenshot is an image taken to record the visible items displayed on the monitor or another visual output device. It is often used in documentation and user guides to instruct how to use software to accomplish specific purposes.



Adding Screenshots in Help Topics

Here are a few tips for adding screenshots to your help topics.

HelpScribe (2009). Articles>Documentation>Help>Screen Captures


Auswahl eines Screen Capture Tools

Screenshots oder Screencaptures). Benötigt werden Screenshots in allen Formen von Software-Dokumentation, z.B. für Handbücher, Online-Hilfen, interaktive Demos und Tutorials, aber auch für Webseiten oder Broschüren.

Achtelig, Marc. indoition engineering. (German) Articles>TC>Help>Screen Captures


The Battle of the Screen Capture Programs

I spent a little time exploring two screen-capture software packages and found out that on the surface, they're a lot alike. Both programs offer the garden variety of formats for saving screen captures (BMP, GIF, JPEG, TIFF, and TGA), and in both cases special tools for optimizing output are available. For example, when saving an image as a bitmap (BMP) using either program you can select a bit depth anywhere between one and 32.

Caldwell, Karla. STC Northeast Ohio (2001). Design>Graphic Design>Software>Screen Captures


Brokedown Palace, Part 1: Why User Guides Don't Work  (link broken)

Software user guides use up an awful lot of space with screen shots. But I know what the screen looks like -- it's right in front of me. Any decent GUI design is self-documenting to some extent, at least. No matter how much we complain about them, GUIs have gotten pretty good. Children have them figured out in minutes. And then they start asking questions like, 'How do I make my stick man move around?' Computers are toasters or drawing pads to them. That's another reason user guides don't work: the average user doesn't need one anymore.

Knowles, Michael. Write Thinking (2002). Articles>Writing>Documentation>Screen Captures


Captivate: Change the Autotext for Captions

One small thing that’s annoyed me about Captivate ever since I started using it to create software demos is the default text. It starts off being a proper sentence, but doesn’t have closing punctuation (e.g. Select the [blah] menu). I’ve never bothered to investigate if I could change it--as I said, it’s a small annoyance.

CyberText Consulting (2009). Articles>Multimedia>Screen Captures>Adobe Captivate


Capture a Screencast with a Mac

While putting together a good tutorial movie for your blog or for an article you’re writing requires some thought and preparation, and would benefit from extra time spent on post-processing, the good news is that capturing screen shots and screen movies can be done inexpensively on a Mac. Although I take a glance at the wider context of preparing an entire tutorial and give you some tips along the way, my focus here is on the low-cost software you can use.

Jordan, Miraz. Digital Web Magazine (2007). Articles>Documentation>Video>Screen Captures


Choosing a Screen Capture Tool

Checklist of key criteria for selecting a tool to take screen captures (screenshots / screen dumps). Screen captures are used within all forms of software documentation, such as user manuals, online help files, interactive demos and tutorials, but also for web sites and brochures.

Achtelig, Marc. indoition engineering. Articles>Documentation>Software>Screen Captures


Creating Documentation that Shows   (PDF)

Advocates using screen shots, text balloons, arrows, and scannable text to create picture-like documentation.

Eaton, Janet M.F. Intercom (2000). Design>Documentation>Technical Illustration>Screen Captures


Do Screen Captures Still Make Sense?  (link broken)

Writing more simply helps keep content more manageable and can increase its usability. So why do we continue to litter content with screen captures, which can be difficult to manage and often duplicate what users already see in application interfaces?

Masalsky, Paul. Content Wrangler, The (2009). Articles>Documentation>Technical Illustration>Screen Captures


Empirical Proof for Presenting Screen Captures in Software Documentation   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

None of the previous studies on screen captures addressed the functions in the framework. There was no empirical research on any of the four functions of screen captures. This article presents our research on these functions. Each section starts with a brief explanation of the function. Next, we illustrate the screen capture designs used to test the function. The remainder of each section explains the setup and results of the empirical study. The article ends with some general conclusions about the functions of screen captures.

Gellevij, Mark and Hans Van Der Meij. Technical Communication Online (2004). Articles>Documentation>Graphic Design>Screen Captures


A Five-Click Solution to Publishing and Uploading Screen Videos to SharePoint

The quickest video solution for uploading Jing videos to a SharePoint directory. This process requires a few minutes of setup, but once you set it up, it literally takes just five clicks to initiate, capture, and publish a video to SharePoint.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2009). Articles>Content Management>Microsoft SharePoint>Screen Captures


Four Ideas to Organize Your Technical Document Images and Screen Shots

Most technical writers would include at least a few images to illustrate a point, or screen shots that accompany the description of a certain step-by-step procedure, etc. Organizing such images can really become a problem, especially when you have dozens and hundreds of them. Finding, editing, and importing them can quickly become a logistical nightmare, especially when a technical writer is working under a deadline pressure. Here are four ideas to organize and name your images for higher productivity.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2009). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Screen Captures


Green Screen on a Shoestring: Part I, The Process

This is a four-part series featuring green screen or transparent-background video production for Adobe Captivate. We will focus on achieving high quality and instructionally sound results while keeping a small budget and a minimum time investment.

I Came, I Saw, I Learned (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Screen Captures


Green Screen on a Shoestring: Part IV, Captivate Implementation

In this fourth and final section we outline the process and best practices for using a produced green screen video in an Adobe Captivate 4 project.

Gillmore, John and Bucky Dodd. I Came, I Saw, I Learned (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Screen Captures


How To Capture a Screen Shot of your Desktop or the Active Window in Windows

Have you ever pressed the PrtScn (print screen) key on your Windows keyboard and wondered why it was there since it never seemed to do anything? Well, it does do something! It copies an image of your screen onto the "clipboard," ready to paste into any graphics program. These steps show you how to use it along with Windows' standard image editor, Microsoft Paint, to save an image of your screen.

Chastain, Sue. About.com (2005). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Screen Captures


How To Create an Effective Screencast: 18 Tips

Screencasts are quickly becoming an essential component of software documentation. They combine visual and auditory learning with text to provide a balanced learning experience. Here are some tips on how to create a screencast that engages viewers and provides maximum results for your efforts.

HelpScribe (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Screen Captures>Screencasting


Introduction to jQuery

The popular JavaScript library jQuery is an amazing way to extend the design possibilities of your site beyond what CSS can do. But luckily, if you are already comfortable with CSS, you have a huge head start in jQuery! This is a very basic introduction to including jQuery on your web page and getting started writing a few functions.

Coyier, Chris. CSS Tricks (2008). Articles>Web Design>Interaction Design>Screen Captures


An Introduction to Screencasting

If you provide end-user technical support, people likely ask you about the same software tasks over and over again. What's more, you've probably discovered that not everyone responds well to text or verbal instructions. What if you could send those people a brief video showing the procedure, accompanied by your voice walking through the important concepts?

Kanter, Beth. Tech Soup (2007). Articles>Documentation>Video>Screen Captures


Marktüberblick Screen Capture Tools

Überblick über empfehlenswerte Tools zum Erstellen von Bildschirmfotos (engl. Screen Captures, Screenshots oder Screen Dumps). Screenshots werden in allen Formen von Software-Dokumentation benötigt, z.B. für Handbücher, Online-Hilfen, interaktive Demos und Tutorials, sowie auf Webseiten und in Broschüren.

Achtelig, Marc. indoition engineering. (German) Resources>Software>Help>Screen Captures


My Rules of Screencasting

Others have written about how to do screencasts most effectively. Like I said in a previous post, much of it is very useful. I just thought I'd add my own rules that I use when creating screencasts just in case anyone is interested.

Rae, Alasdair. Under the Radar (2009). Articles>Documentation>Screen Captures>Screencasting


Review: Review of Screen Capture Tools

Describes the important attributes of a capture tool and examines and compares the features of five popular products.

Ellison, Matthew. WritersUA (2005). Articles>Reviews>Software>Screen Captures


Review: Review of Screen Capture Tools

This article describes the process of capturing screens and reviews some of the leading capture tools available. It is revised annually to take account of new releases, and was last updated in February 2009.

Ellison, Matthew. WritersUA (2009). Articles>Reviews>Software>Screen Captures


Screen Capture Software: Better than Print Screen   (PDF)

Everyone knows that detailed pictures are a necessary supplement for technical documentation. For those who create software manuals, this means screen captures—images of what users see as they look at the monitor.

Wardin, Carla. Intercom (2003). Design>Graphic Design>Software>Screen Captures


Screen Capture Tools Survey

Market overview of recommendable tools for creating screen captures (screenshots, screen dumps). Screen captures are required within all forms of software documentation, such as user manuals, online help files, interactive demos and tutorials, but also for web sites and brochures.

Achtelig, Marc. indoition engineering. Resources>Software>Help>Screen Captures



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