The Best Browser-Based Screenshot Program I've Ever Used

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Screenshot or Screen capture utilities are programs designed to take photos of your computer screen and save the captured image to a file where you can view it or insert it in an email or document.

They are very powerful; anything that you see on your screen can be captured as an image whether the website owner or copyright owner wants you to be able to capture their text or images or not.

Screenshots are particularly useful where you can’t print a screen or where you only want to capture a particular part of a screen, such as a single photograph or an image. It’s also a great way to communicate computer issues to other people whether those issues are about a problem you are having or simply helping somebody to use a website or program.

Most of the best screen capture programs also allow annotation of the captured image. Annotating screenshots with arrows, underlining areas, captions and the like, further increases the value of screenshots.

Both Windows and Mac have basic screenshot capability built in. With Windows most people know that pressing the Windows key + the PrtScr key will take a photo of your entire screen and save it to a folder called Screenshots which is a subfolder in the Pictures folder. Less well known is the inbuilt Snipping Tool utility that can save screenshots of selected parts of the screen and do very basic annotation as well. To locate the snipping tool type “snipping tool” into the Windows search box.

With a Mac, Command+Shift+3 takes a screenshot of the whole screen and saves it to your desktop while Command+Shift+4 allows you to take a screenshot of part of your screen. Basic annotation can be handled by opening the screenshot in the Preview program.

All that is fine but these basic techniques cannot compare with the simplicity of use and rich features of a dedicated screen capture program. That’s why I recommend everyone should have a screen capture utility on their computer. There are dozens of dedicated screenshot programs available and we have a list of recommendations at Gizmo’s here.

Dedicated screenshot programs are great but I’ve recently been looking at screenshot programs that work as browser extensions. These offer ease of installation and great convenience as they are always accessible from an icon in your browser toolbar.

They also have a disadvantage in that they can only capture information within your browser window so they are of limited use for preparing training materials where you need shots of an app window or your desktop. But 99% of users are only interested in taking screenshots from their browser and for this group, browser extension-based screenshot programs are ideal.

I’ve been reviewing these extensions and have come with a gem. It’s a free extension for the Chrome browser called “Nimbus Screenshot and Screen Video Recorder". Being a Chrome extension, it will work on any computer that supports the Chrome browser and browser extensions. That includes all modern versions of Windows, Mac OS and Linux.

Why do I like Nimbus? It's design simplicity, it’s easy to use, it has all the features that most people need, and it is being actively improved. That’s probably why it is the most downloaded screenshot program at the Google Chrome Store.

To get Nimbus open your Chrome browser and then click the following link to take you to the Nimbus page at the Chrome Web Store: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/nimbus-screenshot-screen/bpcon.... Click in the Green box on the top right labelled “Add to Chrome.” The extension will then be automatically downloaded and installed in Chrome.

Once installed you should see a new ”N” icon in the Chrome extension toolbar on the top right: When you left click the icon you will see a dropdown menu. I won’t explain all these options as there is an excellent YouTube tutorial here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UVlaq8ivDc But, if you are like me, you’ll probably find the “Capture area” the option you most commonly use. This allows you to hold down the left mouse button to select any area on the screen you want to capture.

Whatever option you choose, once you have captured an image, you have the ability to annotate and edit it and save the result to either your hard drive or to cloud storage. And the editor is surprisingly powerful, certainly more than I need. It’s a wonderful tool that combines ease of use with great power. I strongly recommend you try it. It’s one of those programs that once you use, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.

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Comments

On the verge of installing, came the realization that nowhere in your long piece was there a discussion of the security and privacy concerns of a browser based capture process. That is not to say anything about this particular extension. But security should always be the first concern before convenience and utility. And being browser based, it leaves me wondering if we are just punching another hole in the patched up sieves that are our browsers.

Security and privacy are on my mind often too. Browser extensions and add-ons in Firefox and Chrome have both been used as attack vectors. Google recently restructured their web store and extensions so they are tested more thoroughly, and Mozilla did the same with Firefox a while ago.

Mozilla changed the add-ons to a different structure, the add-ons no longer have the same level of access to Firefox that they previously had, which increases security, and is one of the reasons that so many of the legacy extensions can't be ported over to the new format.

That said, I've been using this particular add-on/extension in Firefox and Chrome based browsers for a long time. At least a few years that I'm sure of, with no issues.

Now using as a Firefox add-on, and will be using often. Easy to get going with the included YouTube link. Thanks!

Lightshot is nice for me because it's simple for me to use and I don't really need anything fancy...just shots of those pesky error msgs. Love Print Friendly, but have found a few times when it couldn't pick up articles...maybe the site was blocked for some reason. However, found that Clean Print came through for those times...that will even catch Comments which is nice since I have found quite a few comments that have helped me to understand something. PF doesn't pick up any comments.

Thanks looks highly useful, especially RMB over some text at site & select Nimbus Screenshot instead of having to fish around on desktop. Can select any section too (free hand). The N is actually New until first clicked upon & then switches to the N.
small nits. The Chrome download button for me is BLUE on Windows 10 x64 Pro, not Green per review "Click in the Green box on the top right labelled “Add to Chrome.” The extension will then be automatically downloaded and installed in Chrome." Just saying because can't find a way to tell what version the download is from within Nimbus itself. Have to assume Web Store uses most recent & auto updates since several bug fix versions.
Bit larger d/l than usual Chrome extensions. Keeper.

The N opens a new tab instead of the interface every time there's an update to the extension or when just installed.

To find the version of Nimbus in Chrome, go to Menu/More Tools/Extensions/Nimbus/Details and the version is listed there. Similar process for Opera and Vivaldi - versions are listed in Extensions.

Since I am still a bit tech challenged I need something relatively simple to use and, for me, Lightshot is the one I use. Doing surveys I have found that it's better to send a screenshot of an error msg with my tech report. If I find I need more info I can use my print Friendly or Clean Print to capture entire articles/page and save to PDF. Doubt I would need anything with all of those options, but will keep this in mind for the future. Thanx.

I just tried Lightshot and a few other browser based screen shot add-ons again, and I found that the Nimbus interface is simpler to use for me.
Print Friendly is awesome, I've been in the process of writing it up along with a few other add-ons that do the same thing. :)

Also available for Firefox...

Thank you!
I'll be using it right now!
Peter

Looks great, but, how do they make money?