Jeff Barr's Blog

Things I Like..

Taking Great Screen Shots

I use a lot of screen shots on the AWS Blog. I think that the screen shots make the blog entries more attractive and informative, so I like to take the time to set them up, take them, and format them.

This is usually pretty easy — I load up the application, hit Alt-PrtScn (Print Screen), paste the image into The Gimp, reduce it to 300 pixels wide (using the Cubic method, for best results), save it out as a PNG, and the load it up into TypePad. Occasionally, the application is too tall to show in a single browser page. If I really want to show the entire thing, I will do take multiple screen shots and then cut and paste until I have what I want. I also find that taking the time to float the images and to put nice borders and margins around them is worthwhile.

This is really tedious.

Earlier this week, my friend TDavid had a really tall screen shot in his story about Netscape’s Digg clone. Taking a screen shot this tall using my method would take me at least 20 minutes, so I figured there had to be a better way. I posted a comment on his blog, and he told pointed me at Andy Mutton’s Screen Grab utility for Firefox. Installed it and restarted, and it seemed to work pretty well. I started getting some weird errors (perhaps because I have a really wide screen and was snapshotting some very tall pages).

I found a reference to GraphicsEx in another comment, and installed it instead. It worked perfectly, and took the screen shot at right. It is pretty tall, mostly because I got a bit too verbose when I was writing about Vista, BitTorrents and Amazon S3 earlier this week.

The picture at right shows this blog (before I posted this entry). The picture at left is the home page of Syndic8, my RSS and Atom feed directory.