I rely on screenshot applications nearly everyday for various purposes and tasks, but unfortunately the macOS screenshot application just doesn’t cut it
The macOS screenshot app definitely provides basic features found in other screenshot apps, including universal shortcuts to trigger an area screenshot, a window or fullscreen screenshot, and time delay screenshot.
The macOS app also provides the ability to annotate screenshots and to view them in quicklook mode before they are are saved to the desktop. But the screenshot apps I use review below provide much more. Let’s dive in and found out what they have to offer.
Table of contents
The screenshot app I use the most on a daily basis is ScreenFloat. This app delivers screenshots as a floating capture on your desktop. Unlike the macOS app, the ScreenFloat screenshots don’t appear in the corner of the screen, they appear near where your cursor is located.
I use ScreenFloat a lot because I can reference floating shots as write, or I can leave them visible for various purposes, and then either hide, save, or delete them. ScreenFloat shots are saved to the app’s browser library instead of having to be saved in Finder folder.
To quickly use ScreenFloat, I trigger it with a BetterTouchTool 3 Finger Swipe Up from within any application. And each screenshot includes a file thumbnail enabling you to quickly drag and save the shot to your desktop.
While the ScreenFloat user interface is functional, its design is somewhat outdated. But that doesn’t stop me from using it on daily basis.
ScreenFloat doesn’t provide a way to annotate shots or post them to the cloud. I use another app for that.
For more details about ScreenFloat, check out my review.
Snagit 2021 ($49.99)
Another screenshot app I’ve been using for several years now is Snagit, which gets feature upgrades every year.
Snagit includes features for annotating, editing, and saving screenshots, as well as exporting shots to the cloud.
Snagit’s last two upgrades include the ability to create documents using multiple screenshots based on document templates located in the Snagit editor. See the screenshots below for more details.
In addition to creating simple screenshots, Snagit allows for taking what are called panoramic shots, for say capturing long webpages that you have to scroll down as you capture. The app also includes video and gif recordings that can be trimmed in the editor.
I will probably always use Snagit, though I find it’s a heavier lift for daily use. So I mainly use it for quick video recordings and special projects.
CleanShot X ($29.00)
The newest screenshot I’ve started using is CleanShot X. I came across the app in the Setapp store. The CleanShot X developers kindly provided me a review license so I could get hands on experience with the app.
CleanShot X is similar to ScreenFloat, but it contains way more features, including scrolling webpage capture, video and gif recording, and the ability to create a sharable link to screenshot uploaded to your free CleanShot X account. Watch the video below for details.
CleanShot X has a clean well designed user interface with dozens of features for editing and annotating screenshots and videos.
As you can see in the video above, CleanShot X places a thumbnail of a screenshot in the bottom left corner of your screen. And from there you get the option to copy or save it, pin it to your desktop for viewing, and/or upload it to your free account where shots can be tagged.
In the CleanShot X editor, you get similar or exact annotation features found in macOS and Snagit screenshot editors, including cropping, arrows, blur tool, and a text box.
From within the editor, you can drag and drop the image file to your desktop or to another application for opening it.
CleanShot X or ScreenFloat
CleanShot X, in its 3.6.2 version, has pretty much all the features you might need for taking and editing screenshots or producing quick recordings. It’s way lighter than the Snagit editor, and has way more features than ScreenFloat.
I’m considering replacing CleanShot X with ScreenFloat, but the latter app instantly opens screenshot so I can view it, whereas with CleanShot I have to drag my cursor to the bottom-left of the screen to click on the preview button. Or I can have CleanShot shots open automatically in the editor.
I’m Using Both
Luckily, ScreenFloat makes it easy for me to also use CleanShot X for annotation, editing, and sharing purposes.
In the ScreenFloat preferences, you can select to have floating shots open in a specified application when you double-click on a shot. In my case, I’m having them open in CleanShot X for annotating.
So I get the best of both apps, especially since CleanShot X has many more features than ScreenFloat.
Though I use both CleanShot X and ScreenFloat, I recommend CleanShot if you had to choose one over the other.
BetterTouchTool Screenshot Feature
One of my favorite and most used applications, BetterTouchTool (starting at $8.50), also has a screenshot tool, but it’s not as quick and user friendly as the above applications.
However, I use the BTT feature when I want to apply a default name to shots I’m taking. So for example, I recently took lots of shots inside of Apple’s Music app. To save some time in renaming, I configured the BTT tool to automatically name those shots with “apple_music” followed by a random number and date. (I probably should remove the date, because it’s not needed for my purposes.)
The BTT features has dozens of other technical configurations that I never really use, but those configurations could come in handy for various purposes.
Learn more about BetterTouchTool and why it’s such a powerful application.
Triggering the BTT Tool
Be the way, I can easily trigger the BTT screenshot action by using a screen corner trigger, which involves dragging my cursor to and away from the right bottom corner of the screen. Since my hand is already on my trackpad when I get ready to take a screenshot, it means I don’t have to move my hand back to to the keyboard to trigger the action.
I take a lot of screenshots for various purposes, and need a place to save and review them.
ScreenFloat has a shot browser that is very useful, but another fairly new app called Eagle allows for triggering screenshots by on clicking on its Safari extension.
Eagle is great for quickly capturing entire web pages or parts of a page that I want to save for design inspiration.
Snagit also has a media library that is a part of the editor, but I find Snagit browser weighty. However, I have saved many screenshots there that I might use for various projects.
Another of my favorite apps, SuperTab (reviewed here) also includes a screenshot feature that is quite handy if you don’t want to pay for separate screenshot application.
SuperTab is mainly a file and app launcher that stays tucked away until you need it. You can quickly use the assigned hotkey or just by dragging your cursor to a designated corner of your desktop to open SuperTab.
For there, you can trigger the screenshot configurations to set the types of shots you want to trigger.
SuperTab gives you the ability to trigger various types of shots, including a selected window, a delay shot, or full screen shot.
I primarily have used to take full screen time delay shots because triggering the action is much quicker.
Free SuperTab Course
If you’re not familiar with SuperTab, I recommend that you enroll in the free or paid version of Mac Automation Academy to view a four part series on setting up and using SuperTab, including how to set screenshots.
Your Favorite Screenshot App?
There are several other screenshot apps out there, so I invite you to share what you use. What screenshot features do you use the most and what features do wish were available?