How to Use GreenShot


If you are looking for a powerful tool to capture screenshots for your online course then GreenShot is one of the best available. I will show you how to take advantage of its helpful functions.

To use GreenShot you have to perform the following steps:

  1. Understand The Basics
  2. Setup The Application
    1. Download Installer
    2. Install The Software
  3. Configure The Application
  4. Capture Your Screen
  5. Edit The Image
  6. Export It
  7. Setup Multiple Captures
  8. Using Captures For Documents
  9. Speeding Up Your Work

Now that you know which are the exact steps of using GreenShot let’s take an in-depth look at each one of it. 

Step 1 – Understand The Basics

GreenShot is one of the most popular screen capture tools. When it was first launched, it was only compatible with Windows OS (Operating System). After some time (in 2017, to be more specific), a MAC GreenShot version was released. It featured the exact same functions as the initial one. 

Being an open-source tool means that anyone can download, install, and use it without paying any subscription fee. If you are planning on using it on MAC devices then you will have to pay a one-time fee. At the moment, to download the MAC version of GreenShot users must pay $1.99. It is not much but it allows the software developers to cover their expenses. 

The application is capable of capturing high-quality images of your screen. It also comes with a built-in image editor that allows you to make necessary adjustments. We will discuss later the actual functions of the image editor. 

Step 2 – Setup The Application

This is the first actual step you need to perform in order to use GreenShot. I have divided it into two smaller steps so that it will be easier for you to understand the exact activities. 

Step 2.1 – Download Installer

The installation kit can be easily downloaded from the GreenShot official website. To do so, you have to follow a set of 4 simple steps:

  1. Go To GreenShot.org
  2. Click On The Downloads Button
  3. Choose Your OS
  4. Press The Appropriate Download Button

Go To GreenShot.org

This one is clear enough and does not need any further instructions. 

Click On The Downloads Button

The Downloads button is placed in the menu at the top of the page. 

Choose Your OS

You will have to choose between Windows and MAC. 

Press The Appropriate Download Button

After determining the operating system you are running you will have to click on the appropriate button. The Windows button will start the downloading of the installer. The MAC button will take you to the GreenShot application in the Apple Store.

Step 2.2 – Install The Software

Depending on the operating system you have chosen, the installation process will require you to perform different steps. I will show you what steps are necessary to install the application on both platforms. 

Windows

To install GreenShot on Windows you have to:

  1. Save the Installer by clicking Keep as per the image below on the bar at the bottom of your browser

2. Run the executable by clicking on its name when it has finished downloading

3. Choose the desired language

4. Carefully read the license agreement and accept it.

5. Read the ChangeLog and click Next.

6. Define the additional tools you want to install.

7. Choose whether GreenShot should start every time you turn on your computer.

8. Review the installation details and press Next.

9. Wait a couple of minutes for the software to install, and then click Finish.

MAC OS

If you are planning on using the MAC version of GreenShot then you will have to perform the following steps:

  1. Go to GreenShot (Apple Store)
  2. Click on the Install button
  3. Fill in the payment information
  4. Confirm the installation
  5. Wait a couple of minutes for the installation to complete.

Step 3 – Configure The Application

Before proceeding to actually capture screenshots you need to properly configure GreenShot. To access the Settings dialog you have to:

  1. Run GreenShot
  2. Right-click the GreenShot icon in the tray

3. Press the Preferences button

Let’s see which are the settings you can configure using the Preferences dialog.

General Settings

SettingDescriptionBy DefaultObservation
LanguageThe language of the interface EnglishDeutschEnglishNetherlands
Icon SizeThe size of the tray icon16The dimension is in pixels
HotkeysHotkeys for the most commonly used actionsCtrl + Prnt ScrnAlt + Prnt ScrnPrnt ScrnShift + Prnt ScrnCtrl + Shift + Prnt ScrnFull ScreenWindowRegionLast RegionInternet Explorer
ProxyWhether to use a proxy or not when uploading filesEnabledHide your real IP (internet protocol) from the hosting service
Update CheckThe interval between update checks14days

Capture Settings

SettingDescriptionBy DefaultObservations
Capture Mouse PointerMake mouse pointer visible in screenshotsEnablednone
Play Camera SoundPlay a shutter sound when you capture a screenshotDisablednone
Show NotificationsShow notification when an action is performedEnabledNotifications will be shown for plenty of activities (e.g. capture, save, upload, edit)
Show MagnifierShow a magnifier to determine the margins of your screenshotsEnabledIt proves to be very helpful, especially when you need accurate screenshots of a certain window
Ms before captureThe interval between key pressing and the actual capture100Take into account that the window may change its content within the specified interval
Window CaptureDesired window capture techniqueWindow Capture Mode – Automaticallynone
Internet Explorer CaptureAllow GreenShot to capture Internet ExplorerEnablednone
Match Capture SizeMake the image editor to match the screenshot sizeEnabledIt is easier to work with the image editor when it features the same size as the screenshot.

Output Settings

SettingDescriptionBy DefaultObservations
Storage LocationThe location where all the screenshots are saved.C:\Users\user\DesktopYou can set your preferred one.
Filename PatternUse a specific pattern to rename all the files${capturetime:d”yyyy-MM-dd HH_mm_ss”}-${title}Best leave by default.
Image FormatWhat graphic format to use when saving capturesPNGBMPGIFJPGPNGTIFFGREENSHOTICO
Copy file path to clipboardAutomatically copy the file path to your digital clipboardEnablednone
JPEG QualitySet a specific image quality80%Can not be modified from this dialog box
Show quality dialogShow the quality dialog every time you capture a screenshotDisablednone
Reduce the number of colorsReduce the number of colors to a maximum of 256 to enhance the processing speedDisabledHigher processing speed results in lower image quality. 

Destination Settings

You can set the desired destination for all the screenshots you capture. It is best to leave Select Destination Dynamically enabled. This way, you will be prompted to select a destination every time you capture a screenshot. 

Printer Settings

SettingDescriptionBy DefaultObservations
Shrink printoutIf larger, shrink the printout to fit paper sizeEnabledMay affect image quality
Enlarge printoutIf smaller, enlarge the printout to fit the paper sizeDisabledMay affect image quality
Rotate printoutRotate the printout in accordance with your paperDisabledBest  to enable
CenterCenter the printout on the paperEnabledBest to leave enabled
Print date/timePrint a timestamp t the bottom of the paper (date + time)EnabledHelps you determine when the screenshot was taken / printed
Color SettingsChoose what colors to use when printingFull ColorIf you want to set-it-and-forget-it, set it to Full Color
Show print dialog optionsShow options every time you print a screenshotEnabledIt is best to leave it enabled so that you will be prompted to make necessary adjustments every time you print a screenshot. 

Plugins 

Using this dialog you can configure the additional plugins. There are plenty of plugins that make Greenshot compatible with other software tools. 

Expert

I suggest not getting into this tab because if you do not know what exactly you are doing you might mess up the entire configuration. Make sure you understand all the included functions before making any changes to the Expert tab. 

Step 4 – Capture Your Screen

After you finish configuring the tool you can start capturing screenshots. To do so you can either press the Prnt Scrn key or right-click the Greenshot tool and select Capture. Depending on the portion of the screen you want to capture you can select one of the five available options:

  • Specific Region
  • Last Region
  • Full Screen
  • Window
  • Internet Explorer

Specific Region

You can select a specific region of your screen to be captured. To do so you have to press the Prnt Scrn key and make use of your mouse / touchpad to select the desired area. If you decide to capture a screenshot of a certain window you can use the Spacebar to switch between Region and Window mode. 

To move the margins of the screenshot you can either take advantage of the arrows on your keyboard or of the Ctrl + Arrow. The latter will move the margins by 10 pixels, whereas the first option will move them by 1 pixel at a time. If you are not happy with the selection, you can click the Return button to reverse to the initially selected area.

Another great hotkey is the Magnifying Glass (press Z to activate). It allows you to make necessary adjustments and capture the perfect screenshot. 

Last Region

This option allows you to capture again the last region you have selected. For example, if you take a screenshot of a certain window, by using the Last Region option you can capture another screenshot of the same window. The associated hotkey is Shift + Prnt Scrn.

Full Screen

If you want to capture your entire screen, all you have to do is to press the appropriate hotkey (Ctrl + Prnt Scrn) or select the Capture Full-Screen option. 

Window

Just like the above-mentioned specific region, you can capture a screenshot of a certain window. To do so you will have to press Alt + Prnt Scrn. The selected window will be highlighted. You can switch between the available windows using your mouse buttons. 

Internet Explorer

This option is relevant when you capture a screenshot of a specific website that is opened using the Internet Explorer browser. By pressing Ctrl + Shift + Prnt Scrn you can take a screenshot of the webpage that is currently opened. 

Step 5 – Edit The Image

After capturing the desired screenshot it is time to edit the image so that your students will be able to easily understand it. The integrated graphic editor allows you to highlight certain portions of the screenshot, add text, and even draw custom shapes.

Let’s see which are the most commonly used functions of the Greenshot built-in image editor. 

Shapes Drawing

Using the drawing toolbox you can easily draw shapes. You can use one of the pre-defined shapes that can be selected using a hotkey, such as:

  • Rectangle
  • Elipse
  • Line
  • Arrow 

If you want to draw a custom shape for your screenshot, you can take advantage of the freehand line drawing using the F key. There are plenty of additional tools that you can make use of when drawing shapes. Below I have listed the most important of them.

FunctionHotkey
RectangleR
ElipseE
LineL
ArrowA
Move Element Arrows + Shift
Select Multiple ElementsShift
Resize ElementShift + Left-Click
Anchor an ObjectCtrl
Freehand DrawingF
Exit EditorEsc

Add Text

You can use the Text Tool (press T) to add labels to your screenshot. This has multiple uses when teaching online. For example, you can point out different aspects of a specific portion of code. You can easily change the font, the color, and many other aspects regarding your text (e.g. bold, italic, underlined, etc.).

  • To add a new line press Shift + Enter or Shift + Return
  • To select the entire text press Ctrl + A
  • To delete the previous word press Ctrl + BackSpace
  • To mark the text as Ready press Enter

Highlight 

Take advantage of the Highlight Tool to draw your students’ attention to a certain portion of your screenshot. To enable this tool you have to press H and then select one of the available working modes. There are four different highlighting methods:

  • Highlight Text – apply a bright color to the selected text
  • Highlight Area – increase the brightness of the selected area and blur the rest of the screenshot
  • Grayscale – only the selected area remains normal while the rest turns into grayscale (black and white)
  • Magnify – add a magnification effect to the selected area

Hide Certain Portions

If your screenshot includes sensitive information (such as phone numbers, bank accounts, etc.) you can make use of the blurring functions available in the Greenshot toolkit. You can choose between two obfuscating methods:

  • Pixel – increases the pixel size in the selected area 
  • Blur – decreases the clarity of the selected area 

To enable this tool you have to press O.

Adjust The Size (Crop)

Using the integrated image editor you can easily crop your screenshots. Press C to enable the cropping tool. You will be able to decrease both the width and height of your image while maintaining the resolution and DPI (dots-per-inch). 

If you press Shift and + button at the same time you will enlarge the screenshot by 25 pixels in all four directions. 

Add Pictures

You can add another image (Picture-In-Picture) by dragging the new image into the Greenshot editor. This will overlap the two graphics and then you can adjust the cropping, placing, and other key aspects. 

Step 6 – Export It

After you finish editing your screenshot it is time to export it. To do so, click the File button and select one of the available exporting options.

The first two options will save your screenshot on your device’s storage. Save as displays a new window that allows you to select the desired place where to store the screenshot. Save directly will use the predetermined storage space to save the image. You can export the screenshot in one of the following file types:

  • PNG
  • BMP
  • GIF
  • JPG
  • TIFF
  • GREENSHOT
  • ICO

Copy to clipboard allows you to Copy and Paste your screenshot into plenty of applications. For example, you can open Google Docs and press Ctrl + V to paste the screenshot directly. This skips the saving process and allows you to upload the file faster into the text document. 

As you would expect, pressing Ctrl + P will send your screenshot to the printer. A new dialog box will pop-up and you can adjust certain settings for the printed version (e.g. landscape/portrait, color/grayscale, etc.)

The next four options allow you to export the processed screenshot into one of the supported Microsoft tools. These tools include:

  • MS Outlook (Email)
  • MS Powerpoint (Graphic Presentations)
  • MS Word (Text Editor)
  • MS Excel (Spreadsheet Editor)
  • MS Paint (Simple Graphic Editor)

Last but not least, you can upload your screenshot directly to Imgur. This way you will be able to share it with your students using the unique link that is generated. Make sure to connect your Imgur account to the Greenshot tool so that it will be uploaded under your name. 

Greenshot Alternatives

There are plenty of screenshot capturing tools available on the market. The most popular are:

How To Set Up Multiple Captures

If you have a set of captures that you want to use together then you have a few options to choose from. The most commonly used possibilities are:

  • Making a Collage
  • Creating a Slideshow

Making a Collage

If you are planning on creating a collage using the previously-captured screenshots then you can take advantage of heaps of collage-making tools. Most of them are available for free, while several do not require you to install any third-party application (online-based collage-making tools).

The most commonly used collage-making applications are:

Creating a Slideshow

If you want to turn the screenshots into a video that guides your students then you might want to consider creating a slideshow. You can take advantage of plenty of slideshow-creating applications. If you are using a Windows-based device then you can even use the pre-installed Windows Movie Maker video editing tool. Simply add the photos into the timeline and export it as a video.

Other slideshow-creating tools include:

Using Captures For Documents

If you take a series of screenshots of a certain process then you can put them in a document and add text in between them. This way you will be able to guide your students throughout certain processes. For example, you can take advantage of screenshots to provide your students with technical support. 

To do so prepare a text document that contains instructions and demonstrations on how to use the software tools required during classes. If you are using Google Meet to conduct live meetings during your online course then you can provide your students with a manual including simple instructions on how to make use of the available functions. The topics can include:

  • How to make sure your audio-video equipment is ready for classes
  • How to log in Google Meet
  • What to do when the connection fails
  • How to adjust the quality of your video

You can use your screenshot for various purposes. For example, you can create tutorials, training manuals, or even user manuals. It is up to your creativity. 

Speeding Up Your Work

It is up to you how you are going to take advantage of screenshots. When it comes to inserting your screenshots into documents, there are two viable options:

  • Copy From Clipboard
  • Save and Insert Manually

The first option is way faster than the latter. This happens because it only requires you to press two keys on your keyboard and your screenshot is inserted into your document. To do so you have to select the Copy to clipboard (Ctrl + C) function after capturing your screenshot. 

After this, go to your document, click the exact spot where you want to insert the image, and press Ctrl + V (Shortcut for Paste). The image will be instantly pasted into your text document without having to previously save it on your storage and then upload it. 

The other option requires a little bit more time. It is viable for those who want to separately keep all the captured screenshots for other purposes. Maybe you will use it in a slideshow, an animation, or as a reference for further classes. Regardless of your reason, you will have to click on the Save As button and select the destination path for your screenshot. 

Then open your text editor and select the appropriate button for inserting a picture. Navigate throughout your storage and select the previously-captured screenshot. Click on the Open (or similar) button and you got your screenshot inserted in the text document. 

Take Advantage Of The Available Hotkeys

Using keyboard shortcuts saves a lot of time, regardless of the activity you perform. Especially when capturing multiple screenshots it is a great idea to make use of the available hotkeys. If you can not remember the exact order of shortcuts you might want to customize them. To do so, perform the following steps:

  1. Open Greenshot
  2. Right-click on the icon in the system tray
  3. Click on the Settings button
  4. Navigate to the General tab
  5. Set your desired hotkeys

My personal recommendations in terms of screenshots are:

  • Capture Full Screen – F2
  • Capture Window – F4
  • Capture Region – F3
  • Capture Last Region – F5
  • Capture Internet Explorer – F6 (not commonly used)

Make sure those hotkeys do not interfere with any of the predetermined hotkeys of the software tools you are using during your course. If there are any interferences then the Greenshot application will not allow you to set a certain shortcut and inform you that it is already used. 

For example, I can not use the F1 key for Capture Full Screen due to the fact that most Windows applications have this key already assigned for the Help function. 

Quick Screenshot Setup

When you have to take screenshots in a repetitive manner you will definitely observe that manually saving all the images is quite a time-consuming activity. To significantly reduce the time you spend dynamically setting the destination path for each screenshot I have prepared a Quick Screenshot Setup for your convenience.

  1. Open Greenshot 
  2. Right-click the icon in the system tray
  3. Press the Settings button
  4. Navigate to the Destination tab
  5. Uncheck Select Destination Dynamically
  6. Navigate to the Output tab
  7. Set the desired destination path (I suggest selecting a folder on Desktop so that it will be easier to find)
  8. Press the Apply button
  9. Close the Settings dialog box 
  10. Test your brand new Quick Screenshot 

From now on, every time you use one of the previously-configured hotkeys to capture a screenshot it will be automatically saved to your desired destination path. This saves you plenty of time, especially when you take an increased number of screenshots for similar activities. 

For example, when you create a tutorial about how to use the image editing functions available in the Photoshop toolkit you might want to use this Quick Screenshot Setup to rapidly take screenshots of the Main Menu and all the associated features. 

Glen Brown

I am a Technical Trainer and Manager with over 20 years experience in IT, Education and Business. I have multiple qualifications on each topic including post graduate qualifications. I have a passion for sharing knowledge and using technology to do this. If you would like to know more about me please see the about page of the website.

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