Taking a screenshot in Windows can be as simple as pressing the “Prt Scr” key and pasting the contents of your clipboard into an image editor. But there will be times when you want to do something a little more complicated, such as capturing just part of your screen or sharing your captures on the web, and this is when a third-party screen recorder comes in handy.
One of those tools is ShareX, and it’s available as a standard app or on the Microsoft Store, and it’s free in any case.
ShareX offers a range of screen capture options: full screen, window, region, scroll capture, and more. You can choose whether or not to include the cursor in screenshots, set a timer to delay the capture, and even perform OCR on the text. You can also record on-screen activity as a video or animated GIF.
But where ShareX really stands out, and where it gets its name from, is in the available sharing options. Screenshots and recordings can be uploaded to a range of cloud services, including image hosting and general online storage, and even social media. ShareX offers many options, including a pretty impressive image editor for modifying screenshots before using them.
So, basically, you can perform four primary tasks in this one single application: take a screenshot, edit photos, record screen, and compress videos. Let’s check out how you can perform each one the tasks and avail its features
You can record the screen of your PC quite easily. To do this:
- Launch ShareX.
- Open the program you want to capture from (for example, a YouTube video in your web browser).
- Press the SHIFT + Print screen keys.
- The cursor will change to a cross to a cross
- Now drag the cross to the upper left corner of the window you want to record.
- Press and hold the left mouse button and select the area you want to record.
- When done, release the left mouse button.
- The recording will begin now and you can see two buttons STOP and ABORT.
- Use the two additional buttons that appear on the screen anytime you want to stop or cancel the recording.
- Once you are done recording your screen, open the ShareX program, and in the right pane, you will see the recording you just made.
If you want to modify the capture settings in ShareX:
- Click Task Settings on the left.
- Select the Screen Recorder on the left
In this first recording configuration screen, it is possible to choose the number of frames per second. The more frames per second the video is more fluid but a larger file is also generated. Better keep it to 30fps and also choose the ‘Ask for confirmation when aborting’.
Now click on the Screen Recording Options button on the top. In this section, you can define the technical aspects of the recording.
Now you have to click on the ‘Download’ button and it will start downloading the FFmpeg, which is the encoder that ShareX uses to create the video).
You will see an option to choose the CRF. Now, the lesser the CRF number, the better video quality you are going to get with the screen recording. I recommend keeping it at 20 for better quality recording.
In the Codecs box, change the Video Codec from H.264 / x264 to H.265 / x265. The H.265 video format compresses the image without losing quality between two and ten times better than its predecessor, H.264. However, the x264 codec is commonly used as it has great compatibility with multiple systems and the generated files are of good quality and most video editors support this format properly so go with H.264.
The slower the processing, the smaller the size of the generated file will be, but on slow systems, this can cause problems in the video (for example, drop frames). You can try different settings to identify the best balance.
In this same section, you can choose the source of the audio. You can select ‘Microphone’ from this to record both screen and audio at the same time. If you are going to use the microphone, you just have to select it and choose the format and quality of the audio. AAC or MP3 are two common formats and good quality, so either one is recommended. The higher the bit rate, the higher the quality of the output audio.
In the Screen Recording options, make the customization you want and then close the window to apply the changes.
ShareX has tons of options for screenshots.
You will notice when you first open the app, by default, shares sets some hotkeys for different functions in screenshots. You can configure these hotkeys later according to your convenience.
Now, for taking the screenshot, you can directly use the hotkeys, or manually select using the app.
In the home screen, click on ‘Capture’ and you will get options like full screen, window, monitor, region, scrolling capture, text capture, and more. On the other hand, it also gives us the option of capturing the entire screen, only the window, a polygonal or rectangular area, or manually selecting what we want to capture. This notably increases the options that we have available when taking a screenshot.
ShareX makes it easy to edit screenshots by adding arrows, rectangles, circles, lines, text, blurring or pixelating something you don’t want to show (personal data), showing the mouse cursor. You can even highlight something with fluorescent markers or insert images. And, of course, you can cut the edges if they don’t look right.
You can also enter a URL to capture an entire web page or do a scroll capture, which can be used to grab an entire page or anything else that scrolls without showing any stitch lines.
You can even trim the edges of your scrolled capture to remove items that would normally repeat when scrolling, such as application menus.
Once you have taken a screenshot, you will be offered the option called After Capture, which in a few words allows you to choose what to do with the capture you have just taken, whether to save it on your computer, copy it to the clipboard or upload it directly to the cloud.
After the Capture menu is made up of a bunch of toggles that determine what happens directly after taking a screenshot. You can automatically add a watermark, border, shadow, or annotations.
The best thing about taking a screenshot using ShareX is the option to add a drop shadow to the screenshot. For this:
- On the home screen of the application, click on ‘Task Settings’.
- Now, click on the ‘Capture’ option.
- Here you can select or unselect the shadow and also tweak the shadow offset.
It is also possible to capture all or part of the desktop, save it to the clipboard, the hard drive, or upload it directly to more than 25 file storage services, such as Flickr, Imgur, ImageShack, TinyPic, Google Drive or Dropbox, among others instantly.
You can also configure what happens to the capture itself, such as saving it immediately to a file or uploading it immediately. Several options can be combined depending on what you want to do with the capture.
With ShareX, you can also convert your video files. The options are endless and you have to play with it to explore more.
- To begin with, on the home screen, click on ‘Tools’
- Now choose ‘Video Converter‘ from the list
- You will see options to input location, output location, output file name, video codec, and video quality option.
- Click on the three dots after ‘Input file location’ and you will get a pop-up window to select the video file you want to convert.
- Now click on the three dots after ‘output file location’ and then select the location where you want to save the files.
- Now in the third box, enter the name you want for the converted file.
- Now select any codec according to your needs (Select x265 codec if you want compressed video)
- Now you have to choose the quality of the video (better keep it to maximum)
- Now the last step is to hit the ‘Start Encoding’ button which will begin the process of converting the video.
ShareX is a multi-purpose application for many functions. It presents us with a series of editing functions to be able to use after capturing the screen. Thus, for all this, you have your own work desk from which we carry out the appropriate changes.
- To do this, once we have finished with the screen capture process, you can choose to access the image editor.
- Click on ‘Tools’ on the main screen.
- From the list, select the image editor.
- Now you can load the photo from the clipboard, or choose the file if you know the location. You can also create a blank image to edit it.
Alternatively, if you captured a screenshot, right-click on the image and choose ‘edit image’
In it, we can see that the commented desktop opens to be able to retouch that new image. Thus, at the top of the work interface, we find tools to insert stickers, arrows, zoom, correct colors, or add texts.
It is also worth mentioning that from the editor we will also have the possibility of adding a frame, printing the image, or inserting bookmarks.
As we mentioned before, like the basic photo editing functions, this program will allow us to add and customize certain effects that we are going to apply to it. To do this, once we have made the capture as such, we only have to open the Tools / Image Effects section. This gives way to another new work desk, different from the edition seen previously.
In this way, if you want to apply any of the filters that ShareX offers, you can find several of these. At the same time and in the Settings option, we also see a good number of parameters with which we can improve the appearance of the loaded capture.
You can also access the ‘image combiner’ option by which you can use to combine multiple images into one. You can configure the images like adjusting the orientation, borders, and more. Basically, you can use this as a collage maker but it in a more professional way.
You can even capture GIFs quite easily with ShareX. It can be configured to record just a part of the screen, any active window, or the whole screen. To do this:
- In the home screen of ShareX, go to ‘Capture’
- From the list select ‘Screen Recording (GIF)’
- Now you will get the option to select any part of the screen or whole screen.
- As soon as you select the region, it will start recording that part of the screen.
- the recording will be done automatically until you click on the stop button that appears in the lower-left corner of the selected area.
- To see the created videos, you just have to enter the Images folder or the services that you have configured to upload the files.
Apart from the different screen capture and recording features, ShareX also offers a number of useful tools, which can be used to perform some daily activities. The point to note is that the tools are not limited to just graphics and image editing capabilities. You can even find other great tools to help you work effortlessly on your computer.
ShareX’s tools section is the most attractive and makes it an exceptional application when compared to other applications in the same class. So let’s explore them.
Color Picker: Can be used to select any color from a list of different colors displayed on the screen and from the color palette. The chosen color can be used for a number of other tasks.
Screen Color Picker: The Screen Color Picker feature can be used to choose a particular color that is displayed on the screen.
Image editor: The image editor can be used to do basic editing with captured images, some existing photos, or with a new image.
Image Effects: This function can be used to add different effects to some existing images and photos. It can also be useful for different users.
Ruler: The ruler can be used to find the distance between two points on the screen or to find the area of an enclosed area.
Image Combiner: Image Combiner is the feature, which can be used to combine multiple photos into one.
Thumbnail Image: The Image Thumbnail function can be used to generate a thumbnail of the desired size for an existing image.
Video thumbnailer: The video thumbnail feature can be used to generate a thumbnail for a video, which can be of a certain size determined by you.
Monitor Test: This function can be used to test the monitor and check for dead pixels. It can also be used to find the actual performance of the monitor.
Hash check: The hash check function can be used to compare the SHA-1, SHA-256, MD5, and other hash of a file with an existing hash to find out whether the file is original or not.
QR code: QR code can be created and decoded with this tool. This means that it can convert certain information into a QR code, and it can also extract the information from a QR code, which is stored on your computer.
Directory indexer: This can be a very useful feature for most geeks out there. This tool can help you index a selected directory and organize the contents in tabular form. Finally, the index can be exported to HTML, JSON, and other different formats. This feature is really useful I must say.
FTP client: The FTP client can be used to upload content to a remote server using the FTP protocol. This feature can be used if you don’t have any other FTP clients installed on your system and you have some emergency upload tasks.
So those were the tools, which were somewhat related to photos and videos. It also comes with other tools, which can be used for your daily computing needs.
Besides all the features mentioned above, there are many other nifty features that can make your everyday tasks easier. By playing around with different options, you can easily upload the files to your server and other popular websites like Imgur, Dropbox, etc. It also offers some great post-capture tasks, which can help you add some watermarks on your photos, Different hotkey settings for capturing different types of screenshots, and many others.
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One of the strong points of this program is that most of the functions that it makes available to us can be found in its main interface. It has tons and tons of features that you won’t imagine could exist in one single application. It might confuse you some time, or many times, you won’t know a feature that ShareX already has. So, for your convenience, here are a few tips and tricks that could improve your productivity with ShareX.
USing annotation tools: ShareX allows you to add more than 19 methods to edit the recorded files, such as rectangle, ellipse, freehand, line, arrow, text, speech bubble, zoom, and others. So, if you can even do some basic editing within the app.
Hotkey customization: You are allowed to change the hotkeys according to your convenience. To do that, go to ‘Hotkey setting’ at home and select the hotkey you want to change.
After upload options: With ShareX, you can do a lot more after uploading your files. These include using a URL shortener on the hosted link, posting the URL to a social networking service, opening the URL on the browser, copying the URL to your clipboard, show QR code windows, and more. You can configure this using the ‘After upload tasks’ option in the home window of the app.
Upload destination: After you capture any video or screenshot, you can directly choose to upload and share it with your friends. Besides, you can customize where you want to upload those files. On the home screen, go to ‘Destinations’ and change the upload destination for each kind of video.
Upload to FTP: A very useful option is the possibility of configuring an FTP server to upload images and videos directly. Other available options are:
- Google Photos
- Google drive
And many other options.
History tab: ShareX is also a great tool for keeping track of your screenshots, video capture, and all the other tasks you have done using the application. There are two ways to view your history. The first one is under the ‘History’ tab, which is available on the home screen. It will allow you to search through and filter all of your shares.
Image History: Next, just below the ‘history’ tab, you can find the ‘image history’. It offers individual thumbnails for all of the screenshots you’ve taken.
Does ShareX have a time limit?
No. There is no limit even if you are using the free version of the application. ShareX works flawlessly without paying you any penny.
Is ShareX open source?
Yes. ShareX is an open-source application. You can get its source code on Github.
Is ShareX free for commercial use?
No. You have to buy the license for its commercial use. The license allows free use in private, public, government, and commercial environments.
Does ShareX have a watermark?
No. ShareX doesn’t contain any watermark. You will get clean photos and videos with it.
Is ShareX safe?
ShareX is completely safe and free from any kind of malware/virus threat. You can use it without worrying about anything.