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Snagit and Camtasia, both from parent company TechSmith, are screen capture tools designed for different levels of editing. While they have some overlapping features, interface qualities and support options, they have vast differences when it comes to what you can capture and then what you can do with that media.
In this article, we’ll talk about Snagit and Camtasia to explain their main differences, share our firsthand experience using both tools, and give you our advice for which one will suit your purposes.
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Snagit is software for capturing and editing images and videos from your screen. The Snagit Editor is where you can markup and edit images with arrows, text, callouts, and effects.
You can capture anything that’s happening on your screen, whether that’s a still screen, action in progress or a video. You can also capture the entire desktop, a designated window or region, or a scrolling windows screen. You can import screenshots into Snagit, too. For example, I took a screenshot using my regular Mac screenshot tool, then imported the screenshot into Snagit to edit it.
Snagit can be downloaded for both Mac and Windows and can be installed on up to two machines per user. There are language versions in English, French and German.
There’s an endless list of reasons to capture your screen, but four common uses for Snagit are:
Use arrows, callouts and shapes to comment on your screenshots for the sake of answering questions or walking viewers through a workflow.
Adding shapes, text bubbles, arrows and text to an image is pretty easy, and if you want to delete an element, you just click it and hit delete.
Update your brand’s how-to guides, manuals and tutorials as software or workflows change.
Snagit has a complete suite of editing tools that you can use to create custom graphics without hiring a designer.
Screenshots and recordings can be easily shared using a short URL. If you have custom styles that you want to share with your other computers or with other people, you can create a SNAG file.
I opted to keep running Snagit in the background, which closed the app but let me still capture my screen. I shot a video, and when I was done recording, it automatically opened it in the Snagit app for me.
There are several more Snagit features for editing your images and videos. While some of these customizations may only be available for either images or videos, several of them can be used on both.
Snagit will save your media so that you can still access it even if you haven’t specifically saved it to your computer. Images and videos can be saved in formats including BMP, Flash, JPG and PDF. You can also export images to tools like Excel, MS Word and PowerPoint.
There are lots of Snagit tutorials for both Mac and Windows. This page has the basics, and then on the bottom are links to more advanced tutorials. There are also specific tutorials if you’ll use Snagit for training and technical documents. Additionally, Snagit supports companion apps and integrations.
You can try the full version of Snagit free for 15 days.
After downloading Snagit for Mac, I thought I may need a license key because the download page mentioned it. However, it looks like you only need to use a software key if you choose to purchase it after the free trial.
During the free trial, you have a totally functional Snagit. After the trial ends, you don’t have to download and install it again – instead, you continue using the trial and unlock it using a software key.
Snagit costs a one-time charge of $49.95. You can add one year of maintenance for $12.49, which includes free upgrades, priority support (dedicated phone queue and expedited handling), and volume benefits for a cumulative discount.
If you have a copy of Snagit already, you can upgrade to the latest version for $24.95. It comes with the same maintenance option as the full price. If you have other versions of Snagit and don’t know if it’s worth it to upgrade, you can compare versions here.
Additional pricing options are available for business, government, education and non-profit customers.
Camtasia, also from TechSmith, is an all-in-one screen recorder and video editor.
While Snagit is for both screenshot capture and screen recording, Camtasia is solely for screen recording, and it has several advanced features where Snagit falls short. You can do things like customize video intros, outros and lower thirds; create, save and apply themes; and set preferences for custom colors and fonts.
The 30-day free trial of Camtasia doesn’t require a credit card. While you’ll get full access to all Camtasia features, there will be a watermark on your videos during the free trial period.
Snagit and Camtasia work in similar ways, which is no surprise since they’re from the same company. However, they’re more similar when it comes to design than actual function – even the tools that look exactly the same may differ when you actually go to use them.
Even though Snagit is a simpler tool than Camtasia, I found it a little harder to use, especially when it came to the drag tool to highlight a portion of my screen and also when adding some effects to my screenshots. Camtasia essentially has the same crop tool that Snagit has, but I found it easier to use with Camtasia for some reason. For example, if I clicked a window, it auto-chose it for me to record just that area, then kept a green outline around it so that I knew what fell inside. Snagit could very well have the same feature, but if it does, it wasn’t nearly as obvious. Also, Camtasia’s drag-and-drop effects are a total breeze to use.
Snagit would freeze my Mac whenever I would open up the full screen of the app, and I would have to quit the app and then reopen it smaller to be able to use it again. This has never happened with my MacBook Pro and my laptop is only a year old, so it seemed to be an issue with Snagit and not my computer.
Snagit’s video capturing and editing abilities are limited, but if you only need limited video tools, it’s a much better deal at around just $50, and it has every screenshot capture feature I can think of. Consider output, though – you may not have extensive video needs, but if you require a certain type of output, you may only find it on Camtasia (or another, cheaper tool).
Ultimately, Snagit is most useful for people who have basic screen capture needs that will sometimes require capture video; Camtasia is better for people with advanced screen capture for video creation needs, like video bloggers. If you need both, the bundle deal will save you a bit of money.