Jing gives you smart, painless video and screen captures.

It's smart and free, and good fun to use. In less than a minute, we worked out how to highlight a portion of our screen, record what we were watching, and save it to Jing's server, ready to share.

Jing is a free tool developed by TechSmith, the same people who sell SnagIt and Camtasia, the industrial-strength screen and video capturing tools.

Jing is a lightweight application. And for lots of people, that's just fine.

Jing's free and easy

Jing sits on any side of your screen (we keep ours on top). Pull down the app - or hit a hotkey - and select Capture.

A pair of gridlines appears across the screen that lets you choose the portion of the real estate you want to capture. The part of the screen that's grayed out isn't captured.

With a little fiddling, we discovered that watching the lefthand corner intersection is the key to seeing what's going to be captured. A small toolbar appears along the outside of the grid that lets you choose between grabbing an image or a video.

We use two monitors, and if we snag the entire secondary monitor, the image toolbar is below the monitor's edge and out of sight. It wasn't obvious once we set the grid, but before we started capturing, we could drag the region to see the toolbar. The side benefit, which also wasn't obvious, is we could resize the capture region.

Save local or on the net

Once the Jing capture is complete, you can save it to a file on your hard drive. What we like better, particularly with videos, is to put it on TechSmith's screencast site. That way the file's saved as an SWF Flash and images are PNGs, and everyone can see it.

Everything you've captured is available from the program's history. You can see a thumbnail; from the history window, you can save the file locally, send it off to Screencast for sharing, or delete it.

Jing's history

There are loads of free screen capture utilities available. The folks at TechSmith have noticed that, too, and they're probably feeling left out. Our guess is that once you're hooked on saving the files to its server, TechSmith is going to start charging for the online storage.

Either way, Jing's free for now, so grab a copy and take a look at the tutorial.

Jing: Specs

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0, Screencast.com account
  • Windows XP, Vista, 7
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0, Screencast.com account
  • Windows XP, Vista, 7

OUR VERDICT

Jing is an excellent free tool that offers smart, painless video and screen captures that it's a cinch to share.

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