Screenshots are one of the easiest and most powerful ways to save data, organize information, and communicate with teammates. They only take a few seconds to create, and anyone can use them.
Here’s our comprehensive guide to choosing the best screenshot tool.
How to choose the right screenshot tool
There are many different screenshot tools that support a wide variety of use cases and skill levels. Some are better for marketers, some are better for power users, some are free, some allow you to record videos, and some offer more powerful functionality for sharing.
It would take days and days to try out dozens of different screenshot tools, and we did it so you don’t have to! From our research, the best screenshot tools generally do the following things:
- Take screenshots quickly and easily. Ideally, there are simple shortcuts and workflows to initiate a screenshot and then put it in the right place
- Have a great user interface and experience. The best screenshot tools look great and make it easy for new users to learn, as well as expose advanced features to power users
- Offer options for customizing your experience. Full screen vs. window capture, GIF vs. video capture, instant copy to clipboard. Well-designed screenshot tools allow you to customize the app for your workflow
- Offer options for annotating or editing your screenshots. Depending on how you will use your screenshots, you may want features like the ability to add a blur or watermark
- Organize and share your screenshots however you’d like. Whether you prefer a long list of screenshots on your desktop or a searchable directory in the cloud, the advanced screenshot tools give you the tools to manage and share your screenshots after you take them
Many people also use multiple screenshot tools. For example, I use a different screenshot tool on Windows (ShareX) than on Mac (Cleanshot) in order to get the best of both worlds on different systems. I also use Plus to see and share up-to-date data across apps.
We spent a lot of time researching each of these tools, so you could find the right one(s) for you! Click on these links to learn more about the apps directly from their creators, or read on to see why we suggested each of them.
The best screenshot tools
Best screenshot tool for beginners (Windows) - Snipping Tool
Best screenshot tool for beginners (Mac) - Screenshot App
Best screenshot tool for Windows - ShareX
Best screenshot tool for Mac - Cleanshot
Best screenshot tool for users with multiple devices - CloudApp
Best screenshot tool for sharing up-to-date content - Plus
Best screenshot tools for beginners
The best camera is the one you have with you! The built-in screenshot tools that come bundled with every Windows and Mac have continued getting better over the years, and it’s worth taking a look at their features and functionality to see if they could be enough for you.
Snipping Tool / Snip and Sketch (Windows)
Snipping Tool is the fastest and easiest way to take screenshots on a Windows computer. Windows has two options for screenshots built into every computer:
- Press the Windows + PrtScn buttons to take a screenshot of your entire screen. These screenshots will appear in a folder titled “Screenshots” in your “Pictures” folder
- Open Snipping Tool by typing “Snipping Tool” in the Start bar and select the type of screenshot you would like to take OR press Windows + Shift + S to go directly into screenshot mode
Snipping Tool - and the new Snip and Sketch app to edit and annotate screenshots - provide the basic functionality that many users need from a screenshot tool. It offers full-screen screenshots, window screenshots, rectangular (or area) screenshots, and the quirky “free-form” snip.
Opening the Settings menu from either Snipping Tool or Snip and Sketch also allows you to customize workflow options like automatically copying your screenshots to the clipboard and being prompted to save them to your computer.
Link: Microsoft Support
Screenshot App (MacOS)
Mac has two options for screenshots built into every computer:
- Press Shift + Command + 3 or Shift + Command + 4 or + Shift + Command + 4 + Spacebar to capture your screen, a portion of your screen, or a window, respectively
- Open up “Screenshot” in your Launchpad or press Shift + Command + 5 to open Screenshot app
By default, Mac screenshots are saved to your desktop. If you would like to copy screenshots to your clipboard instead, you have to press the Control key in addition to the key combinations above. For example, to capture a portion of your screen directly to your clipboard, press Shift + Command + Control + 4.
While many Mac users know the keyboard shortcut to capture the screen, opening the Screenshot app allows for much more functionality such as recording the screen or recording a portion of the screen as a video.
By choosing “Show Floating Thumbnail” in the options menu, you can unlock an additional set of post-capture flows within the Screenshot app. After you capture a screenshot, a thumbnail will appear at the bottom right of the screen and you can…
- Swipe the thumbnail to save it
- Drag the image directly into another tool
- Click the thumbnail to annotate the screenshot or trim the recording
Link: Apple Support
Best screenshot tools for Windows
ShareX is a free, open-source screenshot tool for Windows. In 2022, the Microsoft Store recognized ShareX as the best Utility app in the Microsoft store. It is a fully-featured product that allows you to:
- Take screenshots, GIFs, and videos
- Annotate and edit images with effects and watermarks
- Create workflows to automatically capture, edit, and share images
If you are looking to upgrade from Snipping Tool to a more powerful screenshot tool on Windows, ShareX will have all of the features and functionality that you need (and much more).
For example, in addition to just capturing your screen or a window, ShareX has functionality that allows you to magnify your cursor so you can make the edges of your screenshots pixel perfect. It also allows you to do things such as capture the same region of the screen without redrawing a capture box or scroll down a window to capture a scrolling screenshot.
After capturing a screenshot in ShareX, you can crop it, draw arrows and shapes, add callout boxes, blur or pixelate parts of an image, and automatically upload it to a hosting service of your choice.
In addition to all of the core screenshot and editing functionality, ShareX also comes with tools like a color picker, an “OCR reader” that can turn images into text, a ruler to measure the size of objects on your screen, and thumbnail service that creates thumbnails from videos.
The only downsides we observed about ShareX are that it offers so many features it can be tough to find out how to set it up for your own workflow, and its user interface is not as beautiful as some of the other apps on this list. However, it’s free so no harm in trying it out!
Snagit (Windows, MacOS)
Snagit is another powerful screenshot tool with a heavier focus on tooling and workflows for creating visual documentation from your screenshots.
For example, Snagit offers a cloud library to organize all of your historical screenshots from multiple devices as well as templates that allow you to create pre-made layouts for tutorials or training materials.
One of the most interesting features in Snagit is their “Simplify Tool” which intelligently converts your screenshots into simplified graphics so that viewers can focus on what you are trying to show them (as well as removing numbers and text that might be sensitive).
Unfortunately, Snagit does not offer a free edition of the product, but you can sign up for a time-limited free trial on their website.
PicPick’s screenshot app sits somewhere between Snipping Tool and ShareX in terms of simple, easy-to-understand UI and advanced functionality.
PicPick should look very familiar to anyone who uses the Microsoft Office productivity suite. The intuitive UI makes it easier to explore and understand its functionality than a tool like Share X or Snagit.
It has all of the key features you would expect from an advanced screenshot tool such as multiple screen capture options, advanced image editing options, and auto-upload, but it lacks some of the expert-level features such as automated workflows and templates.
Price: Free for personal use, $50 or $2.50/month for business users
Gyazo (Windows, MacOS)
Gyazo started as a screenshot application to help esports players and fans quickly capture and share highlights from their gameplay.
After capturing a screenshot or a GIF, Gyazo quickly uploads your content and immediately provides you with a link, so it is easy to paste and share.
Pro Users are also able to see all of their previously uploaded captures and search by source, date, app name, or document name.
Although it was built for gamers, its speed and ease of use makes it useful for a more general audience as well.
Price: Free, $4/month for Pro features
Greenshot (Windows, MacOS)
Greenshot is another free and open source screenshot tool for Windows and Mac. It can take multiple types of screenshots (including scrolling pages), annotate screenshots, and upload them to different services.
Similar to ShareX, it is very configurable but the user interface is not as polished as some of the other services on this list.
Unfortunately, Greenshot is no longer under active development, and their last product release was from 2017, so while it is a popular app, we would not recommend adopting it as your primary screenshot tool.
Price: Free (Windows), $1.99 (Mac)
Lightshot (Windows, MacOS)
Lightshot is meant to be a fast, lightweight tool that allows you to take a screenshot, upload it to a server, and get a link to share it very quickly. Users who are looking for a basic - but fast - workflow have left positive reviews on the app.
Unfortunately, Lightshot has not updated their product, website, or social profiles for several years, so despite its popularity, we do not recommend it.
Best screenshot tools for Mac
Cleanshot is a screenshot app for Mac that is easy to set up but includes customization options and powerful features for advanced users. Important for any Mac app, it has a great look and feel, and the interface feels like it is part of the native Apple experience.
Cleanshot comes with the standard capture options (area, window, timer, scrolling capture) and editing/annotation options (crop, shapes, pixelate, blur, highlight, text) for an advanced screenshot tool. It also offers the Cleanshot Cloud integration for hosting and sharing screenshots.
Some of our favorite features, however, are unique to Cleanshot:
- Automatically removing desktop icons from screenshots
- Window screenshots that automatically add a shadow and/or a background behind the window
- Easy screen recording (that enables “Do not disturb mode”) to either GIF or video
We like using the All-In-One mode as a shortcut to quickly access all of Cleanshot’s capture options (e.g., set capture area, select video or screenshot, set options), similar to the native Mac Screenshot app.
Cleanshot is not free, but it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’d like to try it for free, you can sign up for the 7-day free trial for Setapp, which includes Cleanshot.
Price: $29 one-time payment or $10/month as part of the Setapp subscription
Shottr is a free, lightweight screenshot app, optimized for M1 Macs. Despite it being a hobby project for one developer, Shottr is very performant and offers features you would expect in a premium tool.
In capture mode, the Shottr app can do advanced captures like scrolling snapshots and window snapshots with an added background (similar to Cleanshot).
In image editing mode, it offers features like auto-cropped images and “smart selections” that pick out the object you want to focus on, images that are blurred selectively on text fields, and the ability to overlay semi-transparent images to highlight differences between screenshots.
On the Shottr website, you can vote on what features the developer should build next and send him a coffee if you want to support the app.
Zappy is a free screenshot tool that Zapier built internally to help their remote team collaborate better. Now it is in early access for external customers.
Zappy offers the ability to capture part of the screen; annotate with text arrows, and drawings; and then share screenshots. If you have a paid Zapier account, you can upload captures to the cloud and get shareable URLs.
The best parts of this product are how it is optimized for a quick workflow, being able to include a selfie-view in videos, and the organized view of past screenshots to copy links.
Xnapper (MacOS and iOS)
Xnapper is a specialized tool that makes it easy to create beautiful screenshots without using a dedicated design tool.
After you take a screenshot, Xnapper adds a background and gives you options to do things like add a shadow, round the corners of your screenshot, or change the aspect ratio of your image.
While this may not be a tool you would use for every screenshot, it is great for creating excitement around visuals that to post on social media.
Price: Free trial, $30 to remove watermark
Best screenshot tools for users with multiple devices
CloudApp (Windows, MacOS, iOS, Chrome, Linux)
CloudApp is a San Francisco-based company that offers a suite of “visual communication” tools for teams. According to CloudApp, over 4 million people use their software, including companies like Uber, Salesforce, and Adobe.
CloudApp’s two main products are the Screenshot Tool and the Screen Recorder. The Screenshot tool offers basic capture options such as Full Screen and Area captures. It also offers basic annotation options such as drawing lines and adding text to an image.
The Screen Recorder allows you to record video and audio to quickly provide context or explain a topic in cases where a screenshot is not enough.
The primary reason people choose CloudApp is to securely share and manage content across people and devices. CloudApp works on multiple platforms, it makes it easy to embed links to content in different apps, and it offers different types of team collaboration and security features.
Price: Free, $10/month for cloud subscription
Loom (Chrome, Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android)
While Loom is primarily known as a video recording tool, it also allows users to take, view, and share screenshots. If you already use Loom to share videos, it might be a good tool to organize and share your screenshots as well.
On Windows and Mac, Loom can take full screen and area captures, but it does not offer more advanced capture modes like intelligently capturing a window. It feels laggy compared to a native screenshot tool, and you have to download your screenshot to copy-paste it somewhere else.
On mobile, you can use Loom to view screenshots and videos in your library, but you cannot add new screenshots.
Best screenshot tools for sharing up-to-date content
If you find yourself copying and pasting the same screenshots over and over again every day, every week, or every month, you may want to try Plus.
You can use Plus to take Snapshots of any web app or website, and Plus automatically keeps the Snapshots up-to-date as the app or site changes.
After capturing a Snapshot, you can organize, search, and share all of your content from multiple apps from directly within the Plus app.
You can also embed Plus Snapshots directly within your favorite productivity tools like Google Slides, Notion, and Slack.
This allows you to automate all of the screenshots for your weekly business review, create up-to-date dashboards with data from multiple tools, and set up subscriptions to receive up-to-date Snapshots from your most important apps.
Choose the best tool for you!
Every person and business has different requirements for what they need from their screenshot tool (or tools). How you work, what devices you work on, and how you collaborate with your team will shape your requirements.
At Plus, we work remotely, so we use a variety of different tools to communicate and collaborate. We primarily use Loom for video recording and async messages, and different team members prefer different screenshot tools (ShareX for Windows users and Cleanshot for Mac users) for sending quick screenshots back and forth.
As a team, we often need to share and see up-to-date data from multiple sources, and Plus is the best solution for us to get all of our team’s data, where we need it.
Plus makes it easy to get access to all of your information, wherever you need it. Try it out today!