Snipaste

22 March 2019
author: João

PrtSc

The also known as 'Print Screen', or "why is this button on my keyboard"PrtSc key  is kind of like your father's old circular saw that's stored in that old box in the corner of the garage: it's really old, and nobody taught you how to use it. Whenever you try to turn it on nothing happens, so you just put it back in the box and go get the the Snipping Tool bandsaw  , which takes a lot more effort and produces a worse looking result.

Okay, I am exaggerating a bit. The printscreen key in your laptop does take a screenshot when you press it. But it does not show you any indication that it happened, nor does it offer you any option to edit it or save it. Instead, it stores it temporarily in the clipboard - the place where literally everything gets saved when using ctrl+c. Who would know? It is also very easy to "lose" a screenshot. Simply by copying some text, you'll lose access to it, unless you've memorized the shortcut to the clipboard history in Windows (there's a better app for looking through your copied content). It becomes a very long can of Pringles, and your arm can only reach the first one.

Features

Snipaste is a godsend. It's easy to use, and let's you set the screenshot key to PrtSc, so you don't have to remember a new shortcut (or another key combination, if you prefer). And it's full of features. Let's walk through them.

Window detection

Snipaste let's all agree: code is magic automagically  sees all the windows you have open, and creates an outline of the window (or element) you are currently mousing over. This is very useful if you just want to copy a particular window you have open. If you want to select something else, you can instead click and drag to create the area of the screenshot. And if you don't get it right the first time, you can just drag the handles around the sides or corner of the selection, to make it the right size.

Editing options

Let's say you want to send some additional information with your screenshot - maybe underline or highlight an important passage of text, or even place a red circle around a part of an image (perhaps you're an up an coming Youtuber trying to create a clickbait thumbnail) - Snipaste allows you do all that and even more with their inline tools. As soon as you've created a selection, a bar appears on the underside, displaying a bunch of options. You can:

  • create shapes (just the outline or filled in)
  • add lines or arrows
  • write or highlight
  • blur out sensitive information
  • add text
  • erase edits you've made

Use cases

Going through each of the features is a great way of know everything about an app, but a bit tedious. It's more useful to understand how it can be helpful in your daily life. So let's go through some hypotheticals. Feel free to read through the one is most relevant to you and disregard the rest.

A student 🎓

Saar is an Electrical Engineering student. Snipaste allows her to quickly transfer the circuit diagrams she worked on over to the report she has to deliver this weekend.

She went from:

  • finding the right menu option tree that allows her to export from the project to an image
  • choosing between the formats available (.jpeg .png .howmanyfileextensionsarethere)
  • trying to import the image to the report
  • repeating the save process because she forgot the directory where the image was exported (happens to the best of us)
  • finally adding the image to the report

To:

  • making a selection of the diagram
  • choosing the 'copy image' option
  • pasting to the report

Someone who does graphical work 🎨

Pedro is the social media manager for company XYZ. As part of his job, he has to edit images for the daily posts that go out. He also streams himself drawing every weekend on twitch from home. And here are a few ways that Snipaste has helped make him more efficient:

  • Whenever he needs to know the value of a color, he just presses PrtSc, mouses over the color he wants to know, and presses c to copy the color value (formatted as RGB or HEX)
  • While drawing, he likes using reference photos aside from the Photoshop interface. Instead of saving the image he wants to use, opening it in a window and setting it to the side of the photoshop window, he can take a screenshot, and then pin it. The image has no borders, and stays on top of every window until it is closed. This is great because it allows him to have the Photoshop window maximized.

Intelligence Agency whistleblower 🔍

As part of his mission to liberate the people from government surveillance, Headward Shnowden spends a good portion of his time parsing physical confidential documents using Scanbot's Optical Character RecognitionOCR . Additionally, he is very careful to only disclose relevant details, and censors the remaining sensitive information. Snipaste lets him do this in two ways:

  • by creating a black rectangle and place it over the confidential text.
  • using the mosaic/blur tool. It allows him to choose the size of the pixelization, and whether to "brush" it on or create a selection to be blurred out