Without a doubt, my favorite utility program is FastStone Capture, a screen capture utility. While CorelDraw Capture, Camtasia and other video programs are very strong capture programs I have used in the past, FastStone Capture is quick, editable, cheap and most of all portable. My job involves personalized training of a variety of software programs. And since the training is unique, it’s hard to have a complete script for my customers.
I have used Camtasia for doing CorelDraw training programs, but my biggest problem is I can’t put a copy on every customer’s computer that I teach. My friend David got me started on the FastStone portable programs.
A portable application (portable app) is a computer software program that is able to run independently without the need to install files to the system it is run upon. They are commonly used on a removable storage device such as a CD, USB flash drive, flash card, or floppy disk.
I carry a USB drive with me that has the FastStone program.
FastStone’s Screen Capture is my favorite. It is a powerful, lightweight, yet full-featured screen capture tool that allows you to easily capture and annotate anything on the screen including windows, objects, menus, full screen, rectangular/freehand regions and even scrolling windows/web pages. It also allows you to record screen activities and sound into video files.
I remember the first time I used it was with a customer that was having trouble grasping the CorelDRAW Contour function for his particular project. I went over it several times, but the user was worried he might forget the many, many steps for his project after I left. I put in my USB drive, and plugged in my portable microphone (I also carry a small set of speakers just in case). Remember the program is on my USB drive, and does not load anything onto the user’s computer to run.
Within a minute, I was recording the CorelDRAW layout screen, complete with my voice commands and mouse movements. We saved the video file to his computer so he could have a refresher course anytime needed.
I also use the screen capture when I am working on a CorelDRAW or other tutorial in Microsoft Word. To capture a toolbar, pull down menu or any other screen image that will help in my tutorial, I click on the option of the FastStone Capture floating task bar. I have it set to open the captured image in its mini editor – you can also save to your clipboard or a file. I can crop, or if I like what I’ve selected, I can click on output directly to my Microsoft document.
Ever have a salesman, IT professional or other personal that shows a really nifty procedure? Make sure you have your hand USB drive with FastStone, and you can capture it instantly, and have access when needed. And if you ever get an error message from a program, just capture it and send it in an email.
The program can be found at http://www.faststone.org/index.htm All products work on Windows 98, ME, XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. The price of the program is $19.95. I give it 5 of 5 stars.