Friday, April 25, 2014

Making Tutorials Easier One Screenshot at a Time

As I create documents, video tutorials and even simple how-to's emailed to teachers, one of my most often used tools is a screenshot.  While I can take an easy screenshot with keyboard functions on my Mac, annotation of the screenshot requires me to load that image into another program.  Having a quick extension that not only grabs the screenshot, but allows me to add notes, arrows, text, etc, is a great resource.  Today I came across an extension that seems to fit that description.  Explain and Send Screenshots is an extension that even allows you to create a link to your screenshot for easy sharing through email which to me, is a time saver as I find I often need to just share where a menu is located in a program or how to navigate to a location of a page on the web.
I tested the process and was able to create this first try:
While I might change some things, like make the red text easier to see by taking a larger screenshot, I found the process to be really simple.  *See note about the branding added to the screenshot below.
It works like this:

  1. Click on the extension in the Extension listing next to the OmniBar.
  2. Select which type of screenshot you want to take.
  3. After taking the screenshot, an editor window opens that looks like the one below.
  4. Once you have finished you will be given options on how to share or save on the active page.
*** Note: this extension does add branding to each screenshot.  For some that might be a deal killer.  You can contribute to the app to have that removed.  I wondered if you were to change the size of the original screenshot, would that branding be "less in the way" of the image.  This was my modification:

I am still not sure I like the way the branding of the extension appears and clutters the screenshot.  I was only able to get a little more space and it is less imposing.  For a quick screenshot that does not need to have a polished look, this might be a helpful extension.


  1. Rachel,
    Thank you for sharing this post. I too enjoy creating tutorials for students and staff. The one Chrome option I like using is Awesome Screenshot developed by Diigo. However, it will be going through changes as Chrome is no longer going to permit certain functionality. The details of the change can be read here: Although Chrome is making changes, Awesome Screenshot is still available for Safari and Firefox.
    My other app I like using is Skitch. Skitch's one drawback deals with it not being an option for the Chromebook.

    1. Thanks Dean! I had read about Awesome Screenshot too. Chromebook use is a big factor and part of why I went on the hunt for another alternative. I sure wish this extension was "ad free" as it is simple to use.