BEST FREE SCREEN SHOT AND EDITING PROGRAM FOR BEGINNERS - Older Version of FastStone Capture: Review and Tutorial

Examples of Screen Shots

This is an example of a screen shot. I took a picture of it with "Stone Set", a free program that I make screen shots with.
This is an example of a screen shot. I took a picture of it with "Stone Set", a free program that I make screen shots with. | Source

What is a Screen Shot?

Simply put, a screen shot is a picture of whatever is on your computer.

  • It can be a picture of your whole desktop:
  • It can be a picture of part of your desktop.
  • It can be a picture of any part of a picture on a website.
  • It can be a picture of a website, that allows the viewer to see a whole web page at once, without having to scroll down.
  • It can be a picture of a small object, like an icon, that can help you illustrate a something.
  • With this tutorial, you will see how it can also be an image you can cut out as if using scissors.

THERE ARE MANY TYPES OF SCREEN SHOTS - THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF A FULL SCREEN SHOT

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EXAMPLES OF IMAGES YOU CAN TAKE WITH FastStone Capture

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What Is the Purpose Of A Screen Shot?

A Screen Shot has Many Purposes:

  • Get graphics to use on your web page
  • Clarify information to use on a web page.
  • Use an image you have made a screen shot of to modify, in case you want to draw or paint but don't have perfect drawing skills.
  • Take a screen shot and send the picture to a friend to help you with a problem you are having with your computer.
  • Basically, it works like a camera. Only it takes pictures with precision on your computer.

Why Do I Like This Program?

In my own quest to find a simple, effective, easy-to-use screen shot program, that was also free, I downloaded many programs, but they were either too complex to be fast to learn, or they were not cost-effective screenshot programs, or they did not have the basic functions needed to do what I wanted, which was to use graphics to enhance my blog articles.

Then I found a program called “FastSet Caputure” which is easy to use, has all the basic graphic tools I need to make interesting illustrations, and is totally FREE if you use the older version. I didn't even have to sign up for anything or enter my cell phone number or use a credit card.

For the purposes of this tutorial, I have downloaded an older version, which will teach you the basics. If you decide, after using this version, that you want to try the newer version, they give you a 30-day free trial, for a product that is a good deal at $14.99. I have purposely not provided a link, because this is a tutorial that is specific to the beginner, and a more advanced version will only get you confused. Once you understand the basics of graphic art, you'll find the rest is much easier, as almost all graphic programs use a lot of the same features, only some are big and complicated, while this one is small and doesn't freeze up your computer unless you don't follow the directions I've posted for installation, OR you have too many windows open, another common reason graphics programs have a tendency to freeze up.

Your first step will be to download the program called the  free, older version of FastSet Capture, which was the last version offered as free ware.

Below, I have provided a diagram to show you which link on the page to click on. I made the diagram after I made a screen shot with Stone Set Capture. It is important to use the same version I am using, or some features might not work. When you install this program, DO NOT put it into your folder program. Instead, be careful to install this directly onto your C drive. This is one of the most important things you can do when you use any type of graphics program.

You can edit images, like I did with this one, with the FastStone Capture. This took less than a minute to capture and edit this graphic.
You can edit images, like I did with this one, with the FastStone Capture. This took less than a minute to capture and edit this graphic. | Source

OPEN THE PROGRAM BY CLICKING ON IT'S ICON IN YOUR DESK TRAY IN THE LOWER RIGHT HAND CORNER (USUALLY) OF YOUR DESK TOP

FIND YOUR CAPTURE TOOL

Your Capture Tool, which is labelled "FastStone Capture, is the equivalent of a camera. You use it to snap pictures. The pictures can then be edited and then saved, all in a few quick moments.

THIS IS YOUR "CAMERA" ICON WHICH YOU WILL USE TO TAKE PICTURES WITH

WHAT YOUR CAMERA BUTTONS DO

They seem self-explanatory if you hover your mouse over each button. However, I found that I hit a few glitches, and had to think my way out of them. Therefore, I am going to give illustrations to show you what the confusing buttons do. They are the basic buttons that you will use over and over, and that I have found most useful.

BUTTON NUMBER ONE - FIRST BUTTON ON THE LEFT

Button number one takes a picture of EVERYTHING that is on your computer screen, whether you want everything to show or not. Just click on that button, click or double click again, and the EDITOR pops up. From there, all you have to do to use the picture, like I did here, is save it in a place you can easily find it again. I happen to make one folder on my desktop for each tutorial I am doing. That way, I know exactly where to go to get my photos.

NOTE: If you take a snapshot of an image you don't like, simple CLOSE THE EDITOR and the program will toss away that image and be ready to snap the image you want.

EXAMPLE OF A SHOT WITH BUTTON NUMBER ONE

BUTTON # TWO - THE AREA IMAGE TOOL

Button number two differ from button number one in that it will let you take only a snap shot of a designated area. It works by making a square or rectangle of a little or big area, within a larger area, and collecting that image rather than cutting it, which means you can snap pictures of parts of your desktop, a part of a web page, etc., with precision.

ANOTHER SHOT MADE WITH THE AREA IMAGE TOOL

This shot was made with the IMAGE AREA TOOL and took two seconds to make.
This shot was made with the IMAGE AREA TOOL and took two seconds to make. | Source

ANOTHER SHOT MADE WITH THE AREA IMAGE TOOL

This is a picture part of my Google side bar. Since I always loose little scraps of paper, I use a Google App for my sidebar. I also have an App that allows me to quickly search for song lyrics.
This is a picture part of my Google side bar. Since I always loose little scraps of paper, I use a Google App for my sidebar. I also have an App that allows me to quickly search for song lyrics. | Source

BUTTON # 3 - BOX SELECTION TOOL

The BOX SELECTION TOOL, 3rd button from the left on your FastStone Captue Icon, differs from the other pictures in that it allows you to isolate a square area from it's background. In other words, say you have a picture with a lot of people in it, and all you want is a photo of one person. This is one of two tools to use. The other is the STAR SHAPED button, which I will discuss and illustrate next.

IMAGE TAKEN WITH THE BOX SELECTION TOOL

BUTTON # 4 - CUT OUT A PICTURE TOOL

Button number 4 will let you outline a shape and take a picture of it. I tried it (see below for my first attempt) and because I know how to edit images, I can clean it up. Since I use Gimp, another free program that is like Paint Shop Pro (which is very expensive and does not do everything Gimp does), I can see myself often using the cutout tool as the basis for more complex graphics, as it is faster to use, sits in your desk tray so you don't have to minimize windows or leave the pages you're on to use it.

Below is a picture I took, giving myself 2 minutes total to do. I cut out a picture of a girl, that was within a bigger picture. Notice that the edges of her hair, as well as some other unwanted effects are going on. The old, last free version of FastStone Capture, which  I used for this tutorial does not have an erase tool, but I will be showing you what you can do with an image like this, to clean it up, in my next tutorial: Editing with the free version of StoneSet Capture.

Image Taken With the Cut Out Tool

This image was taken with the Stoneset Capture Cutout tool, which allows you to cut out parts of pictures.
This image was taken with the Stoneset Capture Cutout tool, which allows you to cut out parts of pictures.

HINTS IF YOU GET STUCK

  • Although this version says it works for up to the Vista version of Windows, it works perfectly as well on Windows 7 (32 or 86) if you followed the directions I gave you for where to install StoneSet Capture in the first place.
  • If you need to get out of something, hit the Escape key, this is also true if you've used a tool and changed your mind about what you want to snap with button # 2
  • If you are in the EDIT window, this is where you will SAVE your image. If you cannot save your image, there are two things you can try. First, try toggling your windows. You might actually be looking at a picture you took instead of in the edit window, which is the only window in which to save your image. Secondly, you may not have installed the program in the right place. I had to uninstall the program from my PROGRAM FOLDERS and reinstall it directly onto my C DRIVE.
  • Sometimes you will find that you have taken a useless shot. Within the EDIT window, just hit CLOSE (right hand top of the screen) and it will thow away that image and let you take another without having to start over.

POST A COMMENT AND LEAVE A MESSAGE IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS

I believe in Google's corporate philosophy, which is that if you be of the most service to others, focus on what you do well, the money will come to you without focusing on money. So, if there is ANY way I can help you, just leave me a way to contact you. 

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