The best screenshot program: Gadwin Printscreen

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One thing of which the internet has no shortage is free software. Of course, most of it is junk, or loaded with spyware. However, not long ago I found a free program that I use almost daily. It is called Gadwin Printscreen.

What it does is very simple: it takes a picture of something you see on your screen. It can be the entire screen, or just a window, or just a section of a window that you select. From there, you can put that picture into a document or an email very easily – it is just a copy + paste.

Here’s an example of how it could be put to good use:

There’s an error message that keeps popping up on your screen:

Each time it comes up you just close it (bad idea, by the way). But finally it just gets too annoying so you call your Tech Support guy.

You: I keep getting this error message on my screen.

Tech Support guy: What does it say?

You: Oh, I don’t know…something about my keyboard or something.

Without knowing what the error message says, we really have no way of diagnosing what the problem is. Wouldn’t it be great if the Tech guy could actually see the error message himself? (Tech Guy says “Yes! Please!). With Gadwin Printscreen installed, it’s easy:

1. Next time the error message comes up, hit F5 on your keyboard.

2. Drag your cursor from the top left corner of the error message to the bottom right corner, making a “box” around it.

3. Right-click outside the box you just made.

4. Open an email to Tech Guy, and in the body of the email, right click and choose Paste.

Now Tech Support guy will be able to actually see the error message and begin to figure out what the problem is.

Here is how you get Gadwin installed and configured:

1. Go to this link and download the free version (the free one is called Gadwin Printscreen – if you download Gadwin Printscreen Professional, they will ask you for $25). The program will download, then double click the icon to install it – the installation is standard. When finished, you will end up with a new icon on your desktop to run the program. Click that icon to run it.

2. You will now see a window like this:

Down the left side you will see buttons for configuring various functions of the program (Preferences, Source, Destination, Image and About).

3. In the Preferences section, choose F5 for the hot key. Leave all other buttons unchecked, except for “Run at Windows startup” (I leave that checked, because I use it so much I always want it to be running; it does not use much memory at all).

4. Under Source, choose “Rectangular area” and leave “Capture Mouse Cursor” unchecked.

5. Under Destination, check Copy Captured area to Clipboard.

6. Under Image, choose “JPEG Bitmap (*.jpg)” as the type of image. Leave everything else unchecked.

7. About just tells you about the program and the company; nothing to configure there.

Now you have an easy way to send an image to someone by email as I described above. Of course, instead of an email, you could open a Word document and Paste the image into that as well. Once you see how handy it is, you will probably use it more than you expected to!

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June 18th, 2008


Thx for the tip re Gadwin Printscreen.

Nifty little tool

Up until now I have been hitting print screen keyboard button and then opening the capture in PhotoShop to do my cropping.

This makes life a few shortcuts easier !

Interesting little bug (?) in it. If I am in FIREFOX and opt for full screen mode (F11) before activating GADWIN PRINTSCREEN (F5), I can’t F11 back to regular view without ALT+TAB to another session and then back to FIREFOX.

Scott Johnson
June 18th, 2008

Hmm, I don’t usually use the full screen mode so I never knew about that.

Glad you’re enjoying Gadwin!

June 24th, 2008

Hi Scott,

Yesterday someone sent me a video called The Train. It was a series of cute photos and a lovely story comparing life to a ride on the train. I wanted to save the words in a Word document but not anything else. I remembered (that in itself a miracle) your note about F5. I tried it and it worked. Of course I also got all the black background so it took a ton of ink to print it out but at least now I have the words saved.

A tip I used and thank you,

July 30th, 2008

Hello John,
Thanks ever so much for the tip about GADWIN PRINY SCREEN I use it every day. Paul Leap