I’ve written previously about the useful free program called Gadwin PrintScreen that I use to “grab” a copy of either the whole screen or part of the screen. In fact, it’s the utility that I use to grab the bits of screens that I often use to illustrate these blog posts.

Since I’m now trying to make more use of my MacBook Pro, I have found several times recently that I wish Gadwin had a Mac version – they don’t. However, I have come across a similar utility that certainly seems easier than trying to remember the Mac shortcut keys that capture all or part of a screen (and which, incidentally, don’t need the fingers of a concert pianist to execute).

This little gem is called DuckLink Screen Capture. It’s available for both Windows and Mac.

So, now I have the ability to capture screens from any proper computer, but I often find that I want the captured image on a different machine from the source machine. Dropbox to the rescue…

I have a folder in my Dropbox called “Screencaps” (natch). It is easy enough to configure both Gadwin and DuckLink to save the captured screen images in a specific folder – in this case, the Screencaps folder in my Dropbox (which is present on all machines, of course, as that’s the point of Dropbox). Et voila, all my screen captures – from all computers – are now available on all machines and I don’t have to remember anything complicated about where I should save them, what I should call them, or anything like that.

As well as configuring the capture software to direct its output to the correct folder, it’s also possible to specify a naming convention for the files that will be created. I take advantage of this to start each filename with the name of the machine that originated the capture and then to add the date and time.

To configure Gadwin to place the screen captures in the right place and with the right name:

  • Right-click on the taskbar icon (it’s a small camera)
  • Left-click on “Show Options”
  • Left-click on the option to the left that says “Post Capture Actions”
  • Configure Capture Folder and File Name Template (there’s some help in naming the capture file at the bottom of the window (not shown in the accompanying image))
Gadwin Options

Gadwin Options

To configure DuckLink Screen Capture to place the screen captures in the right place and with the right name:

  • Click on the icon on the top row of the screen (again, it’s a camera – this time on a green background)
  • Left-click on the option to Show Main Window
  • Left-click on Advanced Options
  • Left-click on Output File tab
  • Configure folder and filename
DuckLink Options

DuckLink Options

There’s a tiny flaw (it’s not really a bug as they do warn you about it) in the DuckLink filenaming in that you can’t use a letter in a filename that’s already reserved for something else. For example, I tried to start my filenames with “MacBook”, but it saved the file with “03acBook” at the beginning as it interpreted the “M” as meaning “month number”. Doh! That’s why I chose “Apple” instead as the beginning of the filename.

Screen Capture File Listing

A listing of screen capture files in my Dropbox Screencaps folder. Note the two entries starting with “03”, before I realised that DuckLink was interpreting the “M” in “Macbook” as “M for month”.

Finding a particular screen capture later on is made even easier since I use FastStone Image Viewer to view the image capture files and it’s very easy in this program to add “favourite” folders that are easily accessible from the menu bar. So, I’ve added the Screencaps folder as a favourite. If I’m looking at the Screencaps contents on the Mac, I haven’t yet found the perfect viewing program so I’m using the inbuilt “preview” program for now.

So, with the help of three or four free programs (Dropbox, Faststone Image Viewer, DuckLink Screen Capture, and Gadwin ScreenPrint), it’s possible to tame the business of capturing and retrieving screen images on lots of machines on the same local network, even if you have a mixture of PCs and Macs.

© 2011-2018 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
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