Best Free Screen Capture Tool

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On the standard Windows operating system, pressing the Print-Screen key will copy an image of the entire screen to the clipboard, holding the Alt key and pressing the Print-Screen key will capture the currently selected window. Some Windows systems come with a screen capture utility pre-installed. Other operating systems may also offer a similar utility for screen capture.

As an alternative to the utilities that come with the OS, the freeware products in this review cover most of the following useful features and functions which users might find they need:

  • Capture full screen or freely selected screen areas;
  • Auto detect windows and control objects such as button, box, toolbar, tab, etc.;
  • Snap scrolling windows, allow delayed captures;
  • Auto adapt to screen settings, such as custom text size;
  • Re-size screen shots or create thumbnails and other extra features.

This article's focus is on screen captures. If your priority is editing, after the capture, then check out Best Free Digital Image Editor. Several of the editors listed also perform screen captures.


Rated Products

Screenshot Captor  

The only capture facility that can take a self-portrait

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Donationware)
Supports snapping a Multimon (multiple monitors), Desktop, Active Window, Region, Windows Object, and Scrolling Capture using a hot-key or from the system tray. Editor. Delayed Capture. Output to clipboard, editor, printer, auto-save to a file, or automatic or on-demand uploading of screenshots to image hosting services. Scanner acquisition tools and scanner image correction. Capture Windows 7 partial transparency effects.
Requests for free registration on start up
Read full review...


Make screen capture easy with four capture modes

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Supports snapping a region, window or object, scrolling window and fullscreen using a hotkey or from the system tray. Output to clipboard, editor, printer, or autosave to a file.
No delayed capture. No simple image editor
Read full review...


Screen capture software with annotation tools

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Fullscreen or active window capture using either a hotkey or system tray. Outstanding editor and annotator. Supports clipboard, email, and FTP. Autosave to file.
No rectangular region, auto-scroll, or delayed capture. No direct print function.
Read full review...


An easy screenshot tool

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Open source)
Capture full screen, active window, and rectangular area using either hot keys or program. Delayed capture & autofile name. Output autosaved to file or clipboard only.
No auto-scroll, or editor. No printer output.
Read full review...


A screen capture utility written in C#

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Open source)
Capture full screen, active window, or rectangular area with either a hotkey or notification icon. Output to clipboard, file, or printer.
No auto save, delayed capture, or auto-scroll. No editor.
Read full review...

Snipping Tool  

A screen capture tool built into Windows

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Capture full screen, active window, rectangular area, and freehand region after launching program. Output to file or email.
No hotkeys, auto save, delayed capture, or auto-scroll. No printer output. Editor only allows highlighting and freehand line drawing.
Read full review...

Screen Grab Pro  

A screen capture tool features one-click grab of any screen

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Capture full screen, active window, and rectangular area from hot key or program. Delayed capture. Output to clipboard or auto save file. Can open file automatically with default image editor.
No auto-scroll or editor. No printer output. Lowers screen resolution when capturing rectangular area so most of right and bottom sides are unavailable.
Read full review...


A simple way to take a picture or video on the screen

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)
Capture rectangular area from hot key or program. Capture video of activity within rectangular area. Output to clipboard, file and
No full screen or active window capture. No delayed capture, auto-scroll, auto-save, or editor. No printer output.
Read full review...

More Screen Capture Tools

The following screen capture tools were brought up in comments here or noted from other sources. Some tools don't properly handle the text size setting thereby effectively cropping 225% of the screen with a 150% text screen setting. They may work fine if your text setting is normal (100%).

To be reviewed:



Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:



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Average: 4.5 (143 votes)


DuckCapture is WAY faster than Screenshot Captor. And Screenshot Captor is too intrusive, always asking you to get a new 60-day license with an obtrusive window that you cannot close.

Email refers to Nimbus Capture yet no link provided on web page.

Another good one is [mobile app] available free from the Google app store for free.

Mobiles apps are not covered in this review. Only Windows software.

Oh my, our thinking gets more and more limited to what MS and Google want us to think - it seems at least.

Screen Capture only when a browser is open? I beg you - even only to capture the hotkey the browser must have focus.

How is the poor extension to know which of the likely several windows is the confounding error message that the user wants to document so he can attach it to his email when he asks me about the message?

i firmly believe that Screen Capture should be independent of any given program being "open" and having focus. So for me it is either Windows (admittedly somewhat limited) or a specialized program's job.

For all of you who are praising their capture programs scrolling capture ability, try a scrolling capture of this web page.

I tried DuckLink and it did not capture full page (Am I doing it incorrectly ?)
I tried PickPick and it is perfect.
PS if you ever have an image that is longer and wider than Texas, you will find that many image viewers do not display it in a manner that allows you to read it easily.
When you find such a situation, tell Windows to open the image in PicPick's Editor. It displays them perfectly.
PPS the size of the Faststone scrolled image is 5.72 mb
If you get into the habit of saving web pages directly (as .MHT file), the size of this one is 3.61 mb
I have saved hundreds of thousands of web pages as .MHT, That cumulative size difference would be substantial

I recommend ShareX 12:

also Steam version.

Thanks for an easy to read run down of your picks, I was directed here while doing a search to check out PicPick. I could not find it listed have you done a review on it?
I have not used any of the reviewed screen capture apps as yet other than Snipping Tool, I have found it usefull but it does not capture all screens I request. I find that screens that are associated with financial matters are greyed out. Is there away to sort this out?

I love PicPick.
I have never found it to have problems with what it captures.
What I like most is the fact that I can capture, and proceed to do other captures. They accumulate in Tabs, and you can go them later to 'edit' and to save.
You will find a few comments about the program below.

Snipaste is a simple but powerful snipping tool, and also allows you to pin the screenshot back onto the screen ...":

site.editor (can I call you site),
You should not be altering the text size out of proportion to the rest of the controls
Keep the DPI at 100% (normal)
I am old (memory and eyes) and what I do to solve that problem is -
- Get a bigger monitor (EG 40" LCD TV for $300 AU and probably much cheaper in US)
- Have a full screen magnifier that can double the magnification on/off with just a key stroke

Depending on your browser, you might be having an issue with the text size going wacky - I'm using Google Chrome and I've noticed that I've had occasional problems with some sites (I've probably got some setting off in the browser...)

It's easy enough to correct this issue, however by setting the site to 100% or higher using the Zoom setting of the browser.

Tried a bunch for just a simple screen capture that allows screen rectangle sizing of initial capture to clipboard then right mouse button copy so can paste into a web comment section. DuckCapture only one worked for me. Pasting others into the running web chat field produced 'bad size' msg in the chat window. Don't have to sign up for anything or limitedware.

For most average users Windows 7 Snipping Tool is sufficient.
Just use AutoHotKey to launch it. e.g.:

#1::run SnippingTool.exe

This will launch Snipping Tool when Win+1 is pressed simultaneously.

FastStone Capture is the best if you want a lightweight, very functional, easy to use screen capture and editor. I don't think a lot of people actually take the time to really test these programs before they review them. Believe me, it's the best because I've tried them all extensively. It's also available in a portable version. It's the only program that works consistently with scrolling windows from every application I've tried. Check out the [edited] in the editor. That is so valuable. Even the [edited] is pretty decent for doing a quick demo. [Commercial reference and features removed as per site rules]

FSCapture is indeed excellent, it's been my favourite for years. The last freeware version though is 5.3 and only later (licensed) versions have the functions that you describe.

Today, 14 May 2015. Just tried to download and save, and also just run the latest version of Screenshot Captor and received an error message "invalid certificate etc.". Has anyone else run into this problem? Can't download and save or just run the software. I am running a Windows 7 64-bit system. Thank you.


When available, I generally use the portable version of an application (one reason being that it will not, with very few exceptions, write to the Registry).

It turns out that there is a portable version of ScreenshotCaptor (which I have been successfully using on different Windows boxes, both Win 7 x64 & XP x32, for quite some time).

As I almost always download from either Softpedia or Major Geeks, here is the link to the former: .

Opening the folder that the "installer" creates, one can pin the app's launcher to the Start Menu and / or send a shortcut to the Desktop.

Hope this works for you.



Looking for a screen capture that specifically has a couple features / behaviors.
1) When adding multiple text boxes on one screen, it (can) remember the last selection whether to use "solid fill" on the text box background. Without having to re-select "solid fill"(color) - every time.

2) At least on the same screen, it can remember the last text box background color used & *not* make you re-select a background color each time (assuming you don't want to use white).

3) For basic drawing / annotating / text boxes, the prgm will allow going back & editing *most* objects - at least if the screen (file) hasn't been saved & closed.
Certain capture proggies, if you even leave the separate "drawing" mode (but the file's still open), there's no editing anything.
Like Faststone Viewer - once you click OK in "Draw Board," (opens a separate screen), NO more editing objects.

4) Better if it's not super complicated prgm (just to add simple text boxes, arrows, etc.)
Screenshot Captor may ? do most on my list, but for fairly simple annotation, it's way overkill & I don't find it intuitive (on many things).

I used a bunch. I liked PicPick in the past, but it won't do the # 1 & 2 above (not sure if past versions did). It's time wasting - reselecting the same text editor options you've used every time.


"... A Thousand Words is a screen capture wizard with an editor. It's intended use is to allow less tech-savvy users to point out exactly what's wrong to helpers on forums and the like ...":

there seems to be a relatively new browser extension, with heaps of favourable reviews, seems compatible with Firefox, Chrome, and Android browsers called Nimbus

have to agree with Anupam. even though a lot of time is spent on browsers these days, I have little use for a browser only add-on, when another good tool will do it all on my screen without a browser. however, I often look in the comments section like this for other ppls ideas. and will check out that add on.

Thanks for the suggestion, but I don't think browser add-ons will be considered for this review, as the review is for stand alone software only. Maybe when an editor takes over the category, and decides to include add-ons as a side note or something, then it can be added, but otherwise not. It can be a good suggestion for hot item though, as a separate article. You can suggest it to rob.schifreen, our hot items editor, and see what he thinks of this.

Are you the editor? If not, I think such editorial comments should be left to a proper editor. The difference between "addons / extensions", apps, and programs is becoming increasingly blurred, and artificial, given cross-platform / cross-OS tools, esp. like Nimbus; especially where such cross-platform tools can be converted by users to run on different OSes and change from one "form" to another, through something like Chrome APK packager -- are such Windows 8 "apps" apps, or programs? Precisely where such material "should" be included remains to be decided imho.

I am not the editor, but am a moderator, and also editor of other articles. So, as a team member, I know how this site works. You will understand that if we start bundling apps, extensions, and everything into one category, it will be increasingly difficult to handle the reviews, specially when there are so many programs in one category, such as this one. You can already see the long list. It's because of these reasons that we have separate categories for Android, Linux, Mac, and even Firefox add-ons. Keeping them separate makes it easier for editors, as well as for users, as things are organized.

So, how will the site be handling things that don't fall into those neat categories? Or will this spell the end of this site, as it fails to list materials that are useful, but exist across those categories. Must admit, I'm using the site less and less for that reason.

We are open to suggestions regarding this :). You yourself can contribute useful suggestions how to handle this. One way is by posting Hot Finds items, which is done on a daily basis. We have a Firefox add-on category too, where you can contribute this suggestion of yours. Which other materials are there, which this site has failed to list? Please open a thread here on this issue: where you can offer suggestions, criticisms, or open up issues for discussion. Let's do this in a constructive way. And I didn't say your suggestion wasn't useful, didn't say that at all. I am sure many will find such a suggestion useful, who want to capture webpages without the use of a software that they have to fire up. I just said that it's not in the right place. Suggestions are always welcome. You can post about such suggestions in forum too, in appropriate category, like this suggestion of yours could be posted here:

When others suggest other programs (or in this case extensions), I am tempted to ask -
"Why is that better than PicPick ?"
I was an Analyst in IT for 20 years, and I cannot fault it.
It is easy to capture anything.
It has TABS (brilliant feature)
You can annotate.
And I just tested it on a web page, and it scrolled to capture the whole web page.

I reckon that PicPick should be the benchmark for which we compare other contenders, and the proposer might elaborate on why their contender is better ?

My 2 cents,
PS I was not happy when they 'fan boy' followed MS with a flippin Ribbon. But that can be toggled via the little down arrow head.

You are putting your individual preference forward here. While you may find PicPick as the best and go-to program for screen capture, others may not. Others may prefer some other program like DuckCapture, or Screenshot Captor over PicPick, and ask other programs to be compared to them. Different people like different software, and therefore, there are so many software out there. You can't just ask others to compare every suggestion they make to PicPick, or other software. That's unfair, and I might add, a bit ridiculous. For comparison, we have the reviews, which people can read, and form their own opinion, and choose their own software.