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Techsmith's Screen Grabbing Software called JingOverheard in our office today: “I seem to have lost my Jing again. I hate it when I lose my Jing.”

At the moment I said the fated words, I was working on a different blog and wanted to grab an image from my screen. Enter Jing. That’s when I realized I haven’t blogged about this handy – HANDY – program.

Jing is made by TechSmith and is represented by the Jing sun, which sits idly at the top edge of your monitor waiting for you to call upon it. Unfortunately, if it rests for too long, it simply fades away and you have to open the program again. Not a big deal really, but it’s at those times I can be heard saying “I’ve lost my Jing again.”

Jing takes both still and video shots of your monitor. It’s free software from a company that makes the popular Camtasia video editing software. Most of the screen shots you see in our blogs have been taken with Jing. Our videos are created using the Camtasia creation and editing tools.

You can move the Jing sun to anywhere at the top edge of your monitor so that you can move it out of your way if necessary. When you mouse over the sun, three rays appear which allow you to (1) capture an image or video, (2) look at your Jing history (that is, the images you’ve captured), and (3) do other things like change preferences, send feedback, get help or close the program. Until a few minutes ago, I’d only ever used the capture ray. I checked out the other rays simply to write this blog. That’s how easy the program is to use.

1. Mouse over the Jing sun.
2. Click on the capture ray.
3. Click and drag to draw a square around what you want an image of.
4. When you release the mouse button, the following options appear: Capture, Capture Video, Redo Selection, Cancel
5. If you want to…

• Capture the image within the square, select Capture. Jing then brings up the Jing Preview box, shown below. Notice the basic tools available at the left for editing the image. You can draw arrows, add text, place a square around something of interest, or add a highlight. The colored box allows you to change the color of your text, arrow, border or shading. At the bottom of the preview box you can name the image (by default it is named using the date and time), share it via Screencast (you must have an account), save the image, copy it without saving it, or cancel. When you save an image, it is saved as a PNG file, which can be used by most programs. If you can’t use the PNG, you can pull it into Photoshop or other image editing software and convert it to another format.

Techsmith's Jing Capture Preview Screen

Capture video that will occur within the square, select Capture Video. After doing whatever you want to capture video of, you can click Finish. (There are other options while capturing your video like Pause, Mute and Restart. Yes, Jing will also capture the audio.) When you click Finish, a video previewer appears and gives you the option to Share the video via Screencast (you must have an account), saving the video or deleting it. Anything that is saved goes into your History.

Redraw your square because its not in the right place or not the right size, select Redo Selection.

Give up, select Cancel, or just hit escape.

It’s that easy. It’s effective and it’s free.

TechSmith also offers a more robust screen grabbing program called Snagit, which sells for $49.95. Jing, Snagit and Camtasia are available for PC and Mac.

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