Windows 7 & Snow Leopard: Snipping Tool vs. Grab

Here’s part 2 of my indepth look into both Windows 7 and Snow Leopard in my day to day use for work and for play.

I take lots of screen captures at work on a daily basis to give feedback on designs, layouts or just to point out errors in copy and screen caps are an important part of what I do. Which is why part 2 is gonna be focused on the bundled screen capture utilities that came in both Windows 7 & Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

Before Vista, Windows never came with proper screen capture tools and I remember having to resort to 3rd party software to grab screens more efficiently which was kinda annoying. If you’re writing a document that requires lots of screen captures, Windows XP or below would really annoy you. Apple on the other hand did quite  a lot of thinking and came with out of the box snapshot tools which came in handy for work. Snow Leopard comes with a more “canggih” tool called Grab which I assume takes a page out of Vista cos’ I never noticed any such tool in Leopard before my Snow Leopard upgrade.

Snow Leopard Grabber.

Snow Leopard's Grabber.

I’ve always hated the basic print screen functions that came with Windows so it was a joy to discover Snipping Tool (which incidentally comes in Windows Vista too) that  takes a page out of Apple’s default Command 3 or 4 snapshot feature.

Windows 7's Snipping Tool.

Windows 7's Snipping Tool.

Snipping Tool is great and has a number of options that allow you to take snapshots of your desktop and windows. The best part about it is that it saves all these snapshots in a variety of formats; the default being PNG. That’s pretty cool cos’ Snow Leopard’s Grab saves snapshots in *.TIFF format by default which is a bit cumbersome especially when I have to convert it back into PNG to be published online. I haven’t mucked around with it too much but I assume it can be changed to save the image in another format.

Snipping Tool options.

Snipping Tool options.

If you work on dual screens then Mac OS X Snow Leopard does a nifty thing when you hit Cmd 3 – it actually creates 2 TIFF files  of each desktop which is super handy if you need to take lots of screen shots quickly without having to crop the images. Windows’ default Prnt Scrn button doesn’t do the same unfortunately and the Prnt Scrn button just takes one big image that combines both desktops. Perhaps a future update could alter this behaviour within Windows but then again I don’t think that many people are addicted to dual screens like me for work.

Both OSes come with great screen capture tools and I’m glad to have equivalents in both OSes to use for work. All in all I think Windows has finally caught up with Apple in this respect which is a good thing for the large install base of PC users all around the world.

One thing to note about Windows 7’s Snipping Tool is that it’s able to save screen snapshots in HTML form too. I can’t figure out why I’d save a snapshot as a HTML page though but nevertheless I’m sure someone out there would have a use for such a feature.

If you’re curious as to where Snipping Tool is; just go to All Programs -> Accessories in the Windows Ribbon to access this useful function. It’s snapped on to my taskbar cos’ I take screen caps every day! Same as Grab which I’ve locked within my dock on my Macbook.

Check back later over the weekend cos’ I’ll be dropping a quick post from my Mac that’ll show more screens off my Macbook give everyone a better idea of what Snow Leopard’s Grab does. I’m too sleepy & a tad bit lazy now to go back & forth between my Dell Vostro 1400 and my Macbook. Besides I need my Saturday afternoon nap now after last night’s 4am karaoke with some friends.

Ta!

For more on Windows 7 in Malaysia visit the Windows 7 independent community site here.

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