Reading Usable Help
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Gordon R. Meyer
Screen capture tools reviewed
Following up on "Watch the #$&! manual", if you'd like to try your hand at creating a screencast or other video-based instructional material, Matthew Ellison's Review of Screen Capture Tools provides a handy overview for Windows-using help authors. The feature-comparison table is especially helpful when you're looking for a specialized too.
On the Macintosh side of the house, the built-in screen capture tools provide a lot functionality, but many prefer Snapz-Pro. Despite its awkward licensing and installation, Snapz Pro's impressive feature set, and amazing ability to record screen activity to a QuickTime movie, ensure its place among the the tech writer's pantheon. After Snapz Pro, it's a crowed field, but don't overlook Constrictor for its ease of use and low cost. For quick-and-dirty use, check out FlySketch. Its scriptable workflow and very easy onscreen annotation features make it particularly handy for reporting bugs or pinpointing UI changes for developers.