Review: QuickSnap by Fastforward

A new screen capture utility that has great promise. (May 9th, 2007)

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Product Manufacturer: Fastforward Software

Price: $14.95 US

The Good

  • Set up location, file format and file name before taking the screen shot. Capture a number of different ways. It is easy to use. Inexpensive. Well designed interface.

The Bad

  • Reference Guide is limited. DVD capture seems to still have some bugs. Disappears from menu when program is closed.

A screen shot program captures pictures from your computer whether it is a full screen or a section of the screen, to illustrate a book, article, or tutorial. It is also used to capture images of dialog boxes that might be helpful for a repair tech. If you are at a website and find a rather nice photo, you may use a capture program to save a copy of the artwork.

Grab or QuickSnap

Apple's Grab program comes with Mac OS X and does all of this. QuickSnap is an alternative screen capture program that has extra options that might be handy for some people. The preferences let set the file name and the location where you want to save your screen shot, such as the Desktop or photo folder. Another feature is that you can set the file format to JPG, TIFF, PNG, Gif, BMP, or PSD (Photoshop Document). If you are doing a web page tutorial, this saves you lots of time converting all of your screen shots into a web-compatible format.

QuickSnap In Action

When you open the application, a rectangle appears on your screen. Within the rectangle are five buttons: Screen, Section, Window, Capture, and Options. Depending on what task you want done, press the screen, section or window buttons, and then the capture button. QuickSnap then takes the screen shot. You can also use hot key combinations to make your selection, but you must deactivate the System's default screenshot shortcuts in the System Preferences first. Other options let you place a menu item in your Menu bar or open QuickSnap when you login to your computer. (Editor's Note, when I closed the QuickSnap window, the Menu bar item also went away.) Unlike Snapz Pro, the Options button opens a separate dialog in which you set up your preferences from three screens. A Transparency slider lets you make the button window less obtrusive.

I use two monitors with my Macintosh. When I activated the screen capture, I only get a picture of the monitor with the Apple Menu Bar on it in QuickSnap. Grab allows you to take a picture on either monitor.

You can set QuickSnap to take a screen shot a number of seconds later, called a timed screen shot. We are talking like hours later. So, if you wanted a picture of the ball in Time Square on New Years Eve, you could go to a website with a Time Square cam and set up QuickSnap to take the shot. You can also have QuickSnap beep or say some text that you type into the Preferences when it finishes capturing the screen shot.

Grab a DVD Shot

QuickSnap lets you take a picture from a DVD, while Grab does not. This feature is not without problems though. Ilene tried JPG and TIF DVD captures and both came out as PNG files that would not open in Photoshop, but opened fine in Preview. In addition, her sound disappeared for a while. Using the timed feature, you can also take a screen shot of a menu item with QuickSnap.

Promising But Needs Work

Overall, this program does everything it says it can, but is still under development and has some odd bugs. The big question is do you need it? For most people the Grab program does everything you need. QuickSnap offers two advantages, because you set up the file format before you take your screen shot and you can screen shot DVDs. It is significantly cheaper than Ambrosia Software's Snapz Pro X, but it doesn't have a tenth the features either. If you want to try before you buy, you can download a demo from the site. It requires at least Mac OS X 10.4 and is Intel-compatible.

by Rick Curran and ilene Hoffman


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