Greenshot Review – The awesome free alternative to Snagit

Greenshot is a superb free open source screenshot capture and editing program for Windows PCs. Every IT Pro should have this program installed. Greenshot is like the Snipping Tool built into Windows but on steroids, with almost every imaginable feature.

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The program can be downloaded from the official web page - http://getgreenshot.org/.

Greenshot comes with a range of options when being installed, with different plug-ins that you can enable or disable accordingly.  This includes Microsoft Office, Dropbox, Photobucket and Imgur.  I have never needed to use these plug-ins but they are available. 

Greenshot features

Here are the main features of Greenshot:

  • Take screenshots with pixel precision, with a magnified scope view
  • Capture by region, window, full screen, Internet Explorer page, list of running applications as well as opening an image already in the clipboard or from a file
  • Grenenshot image editor, edit and apply effects to screenshots, providing instructional guidance or draw attention to parts of the image as well as lines, arrows and shapes
  • Editing includes counters (numbered steps), highlight text or areas (blurring out the rest of the image), highlight greyscale (everything turns grey except the area chosen) or with magnify, add a textbox
  • Add effects with border, drop shadow, torn edge, greyscale and invert
  • Capture mouse point to provide context, which can be moved and resized
  • Crop, resize, rotate and add text bubbles or text boxes to your screenshot images

Using Greenshot

All of these features combine into an easy to use but powerful package. The program is well maintained, works great on Windows 10. The only prerequisite is Microsoft .NET Framework, with any version from 2.0 up to 4.5 should work.

There are plenty of options for controlling hotkeys, I use Print Screen to immediately bring up the Capture region option as a useful shortcut. You may need to do configure this if you get a message saying some hotkeys can't be registered as another program is already capturing the same hotkey. 

Greenshot Hotkey Options

These options are available from the image editor, Edit menu and then Preferences.

As well as the hotkeys you can bring up Greenshot from the system tray at any time, with quick access to the various controls.

Greenshot system tray options

Greenshot image editor

The image editor is functional, it's great for quick annotations.  It comes with the basics like crop and resize, which are handy.   You can add boxes, text, arrows, lines etc very easily.

I use the effects often, torn edge for example is useful for showing a tear, which is good for indicating the screenshot is an extract.  You can even control which sides have the effect, for context. 

Greenshot in action

Greenshot is great for documentation, user guides etc.  Also for servicedesk calls, where you are quickly trying to show how to do something.  How about when showing colleagues some new features or some sequence you have spotted or want them to follow for example.

Here is a demo I have done to give you a bit more of an idea with what Greenshot can do.  I have gone overboard adding more elements, just so you can see them in action. This is Inoreader, the RSS content reader that I have used as the subject to illustrate Greenshot.​

Greenshot - A must have

There may still be reasons to buy commercial tools like Techsmith Snagit but there isn't any reason I can personally think of. I thoroughly recommend Greenshot, even if it's not a function you need that often, it's well worth installing and having at your disposal.

The program is that good, I have to give it top marks, five stars!