sharex screenshot windows

How to take screenshots on Windows and write annotations

If you are a blogger then many a times you may have faced the need to take screenshots or screenclips of your screen in order to include it in your post for better explanation of the topic you are writing about. Today I am going to write about this great free tool called ShareX which is available for Windows and is capable of doing much more than just taking screenshots.

In my last post, I wrote a tutorial on embedding tweets in WordPress. You will notice that I included multiple screenshots with annotations written on it. I believe having annotations on screenshots is better way to guide the reader as he/she will be able to follow the guidelines just by looking at the screenshots. I made all those screenshots (as well as the ones in this post) using this free tool on Windows – ShareX. If you too want to include such screenshots in your posts then read on to find more about this free utility.

sharex screenshot on windows

ShareX for Windows

ShareX is a free and Open Source utility for Windows with advanced screenshot capturing ability. It is completely free from advertisements too. What I really like about ShareX is that it is multiple utilities combined into one. You can not only take screenshots of custom screen areas (see options in image above) but can also write annotations on the image and have the image uploaded to a cloud server such as Imgur or Dropbox for sharing.

This small utility is also capable of taking screen recordings and convert them into video or GIF files. Many other tools are included such as screen color picker, image editor, ruler, DNS changer, QR code generator, directory indexer etc. ShareX is capable of so many things that we can’t write about it completely in just one post. We will be just concentrating on its screen capturing part and writing annotations.

How to capture screenshots on Windows with ShareX?

Once you have ShareX installed, it will sit in your system tray and listen to the hotkeys defined. It will replace the default “Print Screen” feature on your system and is thus quite convenient to use. Out of the box following hotkeys are defined and you can easily change them if you wish to by going to the hot key settings.

Default hotkey for ShareX

Print Screen – Capture entire screen

Alt + Print Screen – Capture active window

Ctrl + Print Screen – Capture rectangle region

Shift + Print Screen – Start Screen recording.

There are many other capture modes available such as capturing circular or polygonal region and you can map them with hotkeys too.

Since it’s easier to keep the ShareX windows out of the way by using the hotkeys, I would certainly recommend you to use them for taking the screenshots. Once you choose one of capture options by choosing one of the hotkeys, you can capture the screen by using your mouse and defining the screen area. In case you are capturing the entire screen or active windows, defining the area will not be required.

There are multiple “After capture tasks” that can be configured with ShareX. Some of the noteworthy ones are open image in editor, upload image to host and copy image to clipboard. As seen from the screenshot below, you can define which tasks will be executed after the screen capture is done.

sharex-after-screen-capture

If you have defined “upload image to host” task to be executed after the screen capture, then there are multiple “After upload tasks” too such as shorten URL and copy URL to clipboard. This comes in really handy in quickly grabbing an area of your screen and sharing with others by getting it uploaded to an online image hosting service such as Imgur and getting the URL copied to your clipboard. All with just 1 click. Below, you can learn, how you can write annotations on these screenshots that you take.

How to write annotations after taking screenshots?

In order to write annotations after taking screenshots with ShareX on Windows, make sure that “Open in image editor” option is selected in the “After capture tasks” as shown in the image above. Once you have this option selected, any screen capture that you do, will automatically open in ShareX image editor before getting saved or uploaded. You can also manually open any image in ShareX image editor to write annotations on previously captured screens or on other images.

Annotating with ShareX Image Editor

In ShareX image editor which is called Greenshot image editor, you will find the options to draw rectangles, circles and arrows on the image. You will also find the options to write texts or create chat bubbles as shown in screenshot below.

sharex-screencapture-annotations

There are many other options too such as cropping, rotating or applying basic effects on the image. You can save the image to a new location from here or at the default location specified in ShareX settings.

Once you have annotated the image as per your liking, you can upload the final image to your Post or let ShareX upload it to one of the image hosting providers such as Imgur and use the URL copied into your clipboard to insert your annotated image in your post.

Screenshots & Beyond with ShareX

ShareX is a power tool and a must have utility if you are a Windows user. Capturing screenshots & making screencasts will be a breeze if you have ShareX. You can visit ShareX website to download it on your machine using the button below.

Do let us know if you use any other tool to capture screenshots on Windows and to write annotations and feel that it is better than ShareX. We as well as our readers would certainly want to know about it.

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