Hero image copyrighted and courtesy of ShareX.
Windows 10 has some very decent screen capture capabilities that are provided by the popular Snipping Tool and now the Snip & Sketch app.
Both of these have their pros and cons and currently Snip & Sketch is on track to replace Snipping Tool as the latter has been deprecated in the October 2018 feature update for Windows 10. It is still in the operating system after the update however, being labelled deprecated means it could be removed in a future update to Windows 10.
These utilities do just fine and the Snip & Sketch app is well integrated into Windows 10’s sharing feature of the OS and of course, pressing the Windows Key + Print Screen buttons gets you a full screenshot of your desktop saved to your Pictures > Screenshots directory. If you capture just the active window or a region of your screen, then those snippets must be saved manually or they are lost from your clipboard when you save the next snippet. Although you can manually save them using either of the current utilities, it adds a few extra steps to the process.
That is how I am putting ShareX, an open source screen capture utility which works with Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 through its paces on my Windows 10 systems. Don’t get me wrong, ShareX has so many options and configurations that it is mind boggling and at times overwhelming. I think that is part of the reason why I only briefly tried ShareX out in the past.
This time around, I am taking a different approach and just using ShareX to add the functionality I would like to see in Snip & Sketch – the automatic saving of snippets which I grab from the screen. In addition, I will let ShareX take over making sure any screenshots I take using it are also deposited in my main Pictures > Screenshots directory which is synced with OneDrive. Alongside of those uploads, I am also creating a new screenshots directory to take advantage of ShareX’s ability to create custom named folders which will help with organizing my Screenshot collection.
A couple of things you must be willing to do if you want to fully try out ShareX on your own system:
- Toggle off the Windows Settings > Ease of Access > Print Screen shortcut > Use the PrtScn button to open screen snipping which works with the new Snip & Sketch tool. The keyboard shortcut will be used in ShareX and otherwise would cause a conflict.
- Turn off OneDrive > Settings > Auto Save > Screenshots > Automatically save screenshots I capture to OneDrive as that also creates a conflict with the hot key settings in ShareX for capturing screenshots.
Those two steps should clear the keyboard shortcuts and allow new hot keys to be used with ShareX.
Note: Don’t worry about turning off the automatic saving of screenshots to OneDrive as ShareX is going to pick up that task for you instead.
So for clarity, I plan to use ShareX as follows:
- Capture screen regions, active windows, and full desktop screenshots.
- Automatically save those three types of screen captures to both a ShareX Screenshots directory and the default Picture > Screenshots directory that OneDrive usually uses for storage.
- Create unique names for all screenshots to differentiate them between devices and a folder storage structure that will organize ShareX screenshots by Month and Year.
To get started go ahead and turn off those two things noted above related to the Print Screen shortcut and OneDrive’s automatic saving of screenshots. Once you are done with those, come back here to continue.
ShareX Install and Configuration
- Download ShareX, install on your device, and start the program.
- From the main menu select Hotkey settings and verify there are no conflicts. Note: You would have been warned about conflicts when starting the program if the hotkeys are in use with other programs. This step is just verifying they are correct.
- Next go to Destinations > Destination settings in the left hand sidebar menu. Scroll down the list of destinations and find OneDrive below the File uploaders section. Click on it and you will be presented configuration options and just start with Step 1 to open a browser window and log into your OneDrive account. Once you validate your Microsoft Account a code will be displayed that you will then paste into the Verification code box. Click Step 2 to complete your authorization and connect ShareX to OneDrive.
- Over in the far right box labelled Selected folder: click the “+” sign next to Root folder and scroll down to find your Pictures > Screenshots folder (or your screenshots folder location if you changed from the default options). This designates that folder to get a copy of all of the captures you grab with ShareX. You can now close this configuration window as your OneDrive connection is complete for ShareX.
- Once again click on the Destinations menu item and change the Image uploader to OneDrive by following the cascading menu to File uploader > OneDrive and just click OneDrive to make it the default.
- Open Application settings and click on Paths. The first path is for your ShareX configuration files. I created a separate ShareX folder in my OneDrive hierarchy to store these items. Next you can also designate a custom screenshot folder to store all of your ShareX captures. I opted for a sub-folder in me new ShareX personal folder. Yes, this does mean a copy of each capture is sent to two folders but for now I am testing this out so I wanted the redundancy. If you choose not to have a custom screenshot folder then ShareX should use the default you selected in the Destinations configuration settings screen. The last customization to make here is for sub-folders to help you organize your captures. For me, I made this the calendar month and year such as “December 2018”. Each month a new folder will be created to sort and organize the captures. Go ahead and close this window once you are done with your customizations.
- Open up Task settings from the sidebar menu and then click on File naming to configure how your captures are named when they are saved. There is a very customizable selection of naming settings and all you need to do is click in the box to access them via a cascading menu on the right side of the input box. I opted to use the same naming scheme for captures whether they are full screen, windowed, or specific regions. For me this allows everything to stay in sequence with names that match when I sort the screenshot folders. The scheme I am using is “%cn Screenshot (%i) %y-%mo” and that results in file names like “MAINDT Screenshot (10) 2018-12”, For each separate device, I get its computer name at the beginning (MAINDT, SURFACE, etc.) and the number in parenthesis after Screenshot is incremented by one on each device when a new capture is made. The last two elements add the year and month the capture was made on that device.
Now you are ready to customize the actions ShareX takes when you grab a screen capture. In the main ShareX window click on the After capture tasks and you will see some items bolded. These are actions ShareX will take after you grab a screenshot or snippet. To select an action you just click on it and turn it bold. There are a few already selected by default but for my purposes here I just selected three of them Copy image to clipboard, Save image to file, and Upload file to host. Those three steps take care of what I need so I can paste my capture into Twitter plus it is saved and uploaded to OneDrive for retention.
Next, open the After upload tasks and deselect all of the options. These are needed to accomplish my intended usage of ShareX.
At this point, everything is configured for me to grab screenshots, save them to a custom screenshot folder, and upload them to OneDrive’s screenshot folder.
If you have been paying attention as we went through this configuration process, you have obviously seen that ShareX is capable of some really powerful options. At this point I recommend you dive in and experiment to see what else this utility can do for you beyond the straight forward image capture and saving we setup.
Have any questions? Just comment here or send them my way over Twitter plus have a look through the screenshots below where I have captures of some of these various configuration screens.
Let me know how your experience goes with ShareX and what creative uses you configure for this very powerful utility.
ShareX Screenshot Gallery