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2014 Donald R. Snow

My Freeware Corner Notes are printed in our Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group monthly newsletter TAGGology and posted on my Family History Class Notes webpage , sometimes with updated information there.

This month I'll describe two free screen capture programs.  These can be used to copy and/or print anything that you can see on the computer screen, e.g. photographs, census records, tables on websites, scrolling files in windows, pedigree charts, family groups, etc.

Version 5.3 of FastStone Capture was the last freeware version and later versions are shareware, which isn't very expensive, but the free version does everything I usually need.  The free version is available from several websites, e.g. and you can find other download sites by Googling "faststone capture 5.3".  With it you can capture the full screen, active window, rectangular section, free-hand section, and scrolling screens.  This last feature is one that I use a lot since many articles or webpages continue on down off the screen and you have to scroll down to see them all.  Most other screen capture programs only do what you can see on the screen without scrolling down.  this program saves screenshots in several formats including jpg, tif, png, and pdf.  I've found that saving scrolling windows in pdf format works best, since if I save them in any other format, it saves them as tall skinny files that have to be expanded to be read.  Saving them as pdf's gives files with scroll bars at the side so you can scroll through it like on the original.  Screenshots can be saved to the clipboard for pasting into an email or document, saved as a file that you name, saved as a file that is automatically named sequentially with the date and time, or sent directly to a printer.  I've found that printing things with FastStone Capture directly to the printer frequently gives me better results than using the print command in the program since you know exactly what the print will look like and it can be done at full size.  There are keyboard shortcuts so you can tell FastStone Capture to save images without having to use the mouse and you can set it to include or exclude the mouse cursor in the capture.  You can use it to do a sequence of screen captures where it names the files automatically so you don't have to stop and name the files yourself each time, or you can have it stop and ask you what to name and where to save the file each time. Another helpful option is a sound that plays when it does a capture, so you know it has done it. There is an option to add captions to the images saved and you can have the images opened automatically in FastStone Editor which comes with the program. This Editor program allows editing the file, adding captions later, and several other things.  There is also an excellent freeware image viewer, FastStone Image Viewer, available from the website , but I usually use the Photo and Fax Viewer in Windows or else Irfanview from .  There were some earlier versions of browsers that FastStone Capture 5.3 was incompatible with, but it seems to work with all browsers now.  It also works with some other programs where you can't print the reports you want, but you can see them on screen.  For example, in Ancestral Quest, to do a screenshot of a family group, I saved it as pdf, and then OCR'd it (Optical Character Recognition) with the free PDF-XChangeViewer from , and then had a searchable family group sheet as a pdf.  But not all features of FastStone Capture seem to work on programs other than browsers.  I use FastStone Capture nearly every day and have tried other screen capture programs, but keep coming back to this one since it will save what I want in the format I want.  It has both installed and portable versions.  The portable version allows you to use it on a flashdrive at a FHC, for example, and you can save the captured images to your flashdrive to take home.

Occasionally I need to do a screenshot of something where I can't use FastStone Capture, e.g. needing a picture of FastStone Capture in operation for an article about using it.  For this I use another screen capture program and one that I have used extensively is ScreenHunter Free from .  In fact, I used this program for several years before I discovered FastStone Capture. This is only one of many screen capture programs that work well.  It is simple to use and gives good results, but doesn't have the features that FastStone Capture has, unless you pay for the commercial version.  Various keystrokes will start the program to do various types of screenshots, e.g. to capture a rectangular area or else to capture the entire screen.  This one also has the option of producing a sound when it captures so you know it has finished.  The free version is a good and simple program without all the bells and whistles that others have and I use it occasionally when I can't use FastStone Capture.

These are two screen capture programs and both have many uses in family history.

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