PicPick is an excellent easy-to-use, multi-function screenshot tool with editing capabilities

Yesterday Jeremy posted about Screenshot Captor, a feature-filled screenshot tool. If you were turned off by Screenshot Captor’s learning curve but still desire an excellent screenshotting tool, then PicPick may be for you.

WHAT IT DOES AND HOW TO USE IT

PicPick is described by the developer as “an all-in-one program” for “graphic design”. Calling PicPick a graphic design tool may be stretching the truth a little bit, but the point of the developer is to say PicPick is not your average screenshot tool. In addition to being able to take screenshots, PicPick has other useful features. However, screenshotting is PicPick’s main focus so let’s talk about that first.

Screenshots

PicPick has the ability to take the following types of screenshots:

  • Full-screen: This takes a screenshot of your whole screen.
  • Active Window:  When you select this, the program tells you to press Alt + Print Screen to take a screenshot of the program window you are in and ignore the rest.
  • Window Control:  This one will put a box around anything you put your mouse on and take a screenshot of that.  It could be a desktop icon or an entire window.
  • Scrolling Window:  It will show you a box, but if there’s a window on top of what you are selecting it will select what is in the background with what is in the foreground within that same box selection.
  • Region:  With this tool you see cross hairs that all you need to do is draw your own box to capture part of what you want to capture.
  • Fixed Region:  Like region you capture part of what you want, but you have to set the pixel size to what you want to capture. If you don’t have the proper size, you can always resize it later in the program.
  • Freehand:  This screenshot is one of the most unique of options. Similar to Region you draw the area you want, but this time you are drawing the region like the tool is called by freehand. As with most images they are in a four corner shape. You still get that, but the image is something you’ve never seen before.
  • Repeat Last Capture:  This function will repeat the exact same thing you captured last. The only function it doesn’t work with is Freehand. This function will not even highlight for you to do the last capture.

Taking screenshots is as easy as right-clicking PicPick’s system tray icon, selecting the type of screenshot you want…

…and taking the screenshot. If you prefer to use hotkeys, each type of screenshot has a hotkey assigned to it (hotkeys are customizable from Program Options -> HotKeys). If you don’t like the system tray icon or hotkeys method, you can use a the floating widget Capture Bar instead:

Regardless of how you take a screenshot, once you snap a screenshot it automatically gets sent to the PicPick Editor from where you can edit the screenshot and save it. If you don’t want to send screenshots to the PicPick Editor, you can make PicPick send screenshots else where:

PicPick Editor

PicPick Editor is a neat little image editor that can used to edit screenshots you take with PicPick or any images you have saved on your computer. It is so easy to use it can make anyone into an editing wizard. The menu selections have a similar feel to Microsoft Office 2007 and very easy to maneuver with whatever you need to do with your photos.

With PicPick Editor you can do things like crop images, rotate images, add effects, adjust image properties (brightness, hue, saturation, etc.), annotate images with arrows, place arrows and text on your images, and even put comic book balloons on your images. Text and objects placement with PicPick editor is very precise thanks to grid lines, allowing your image to have a professional look.

Once you are happy with images you can save them as PNG, JPG, GIF, BMP, or PDF; or you can print; or you can send to Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, or a custom program you define; or you can share by via ImageShack, Facebook, Twitter, FTP, or e-mail (Outlook).

One cool thing about PicPick Editor is if you don’t like the screenshot you took, PicPick Editor allows you to re-take screenshots:

If you prefer to use hotkeys, you can continue to use PicPick screenshot hotkeys while PicPick Editor is open — it will automatically minimize when you press a screenshot hotkey.

OTHER TOOLS IN PICPICK

There are some other tools you can use in the program that will help out in editing anything you might capture or open:

  • Color Picker:  When using this tool you will get a magnified box that pinpoints what color you need to pick.  This is one of the most helpful tools out there because you can get a better idea what color you pick without second guessing in a normal view.
  • Color Palette:  This is standard in many editing programs. It’s fine tuning the exact color you want to use in the editor. Usually when you use the Color Picker tool, this tool will show up afterwards so you can fine tune the color you want.
  • Magnifier:  A helpful tool that will show another window and you hover over areas to get a better look at what you have open at the time.  This could be used to fine tune a image that was captured.
  • Pixel Ruler:  If you need to know the measurement in pixels, this tool will come up to help you measure the size of what you need to inspect to fine tune the image. You don’t have to have the ruler where it lands, you can move it around so you can measure anything on the screen.
  • Crosshair:  You will get the crosshairs to have you select something by clicking the mouse button. It will lock in to place and instead of the staring numbers of something like 523, 289 and reset the location to 0,0 which would help you measure to see how far left or right it is from say the center of the screen.
  • Whiteboard:  This will have you draw things if you get in the mood for a doodle.  Of course if you wanted to save it just use the screen capture, and that sounds like a pretty neat idea just drawing away on your desktop for no reason.

PICPICK LIMITATIONS

PicPick can’t record video — it only does screenshots. Also, the scrolling window screenshot does not always work properly although this isn’t unique to PicPick — most screenshotting tools suffer from this. Furthermore, PicPick Editor is definitely one the simplistic side compared to other image editors. For example, PicPick Editor cannot change change the number of colors or have a digitized black signature.

That said, by far the biggest limitation to PicPick is that this program is free for personal (non-business) use only — companies have to pay to use PicPick. If a company really needed a screenshot program, there are plenty of free ones out there and even cheaper alternatives like FastStone Capture.

CONCLUSION

PicPick is a simple and easy to use – yet powerful – screenshot tool with plenty of extras with an editor and other tools. For the average and advanced user alike, PicPick has features for the picking. Simply put, PicPick is an excellent screenshotting utility.

You can grab PicPick from the links below. Take note PicPick comes bundled with Bing Toolbar — be sure to hit Decline when Bing Toolbar’s installer pops open if you don’t want to install Bing Toolbar.

Version reviewed: v3.1.2

Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/Win7

Download size: 6.38 MB

Malware status: VirusTotal scan results (1/43)

Note: PicPick is free for personal (non-business) use only. Commercial users must purchase a license.

PicPick homepage [direct download]

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38 comments

  1. Robert
    Author/

    @Mike: Thanks for saying something about the menu structure and the changelog! I feel if they do change it the version might go to something like 3.2 or 4.0 since it might be considered a major change, but I wouldn’t know how major.

  2. Mike

    @RobCr and Robert: The update seems fine, at least per Norton Internet Security; I suspect, as Robert notes, that this is an overly-sensitive McAfee issue. I just installed the update, and it works fine as well. But sorry, Rob, no change in the menu structure, unfortunately. (By the way, I never heard back from the company after I wrote to them about the menu suggestion, as well as a proposal to add a highlighter tool to the image editor, last week.)

    Here’s the changelog for the update:

    v3.1.3 (2012-03-24)

    - Support Windows Pen and Touch (BETA)
    - Added Hebrew language
    - Fixed Ruler toggle problem
    - Fixed Ctrl+Tab problems in Image editor
    - Added wheel click action in Image editor
    - Language updates
    - Minor bugs are fixed

  3. Robert
    Author/

    @RobCr: Would you do me a favor and post the link to the McAfee SiteAdvisor result? I am very curious as to what they say, but I did try to check the site and even the PicPick download through the web site. I got no result or a good result so I am wondering what you saw.

    I stopped using SiteAdvisor when I kept getting so many false positives (like flagging Majorgeeks.com as a bad or questionable site), and I have been using Avast! Free Antivirus which includes something similar to SiteAdvisor. So to put everyone’s minds at ease I downloaded the newest version, and I scanned it using VirusTotal. The result has changed for the good because now it is 0/43.

    There is something that I noticed when I installed the program is that it came bundled with the Bing Bar so instead of doing the standard installation I just did custom and removed the Bing Bar installation since I have no use for it. I hope this helps, and I don’t mind testing this out so I’m not suffering! :)

  4. RobCr

    Anyone like to give it a try ?
    It makes no changes to your system.
    It does not need installing.
    Just place it in a folder, and double click the EXE.
    It will then run invisibly, until you hold the middle mouse button down for one second.

    Email me at -
    robhp AT iprimus DOT com DOT au

  5. RobCr

    I have been experimenting further.
    I can now have my program running Invisible.
    If I hold the middle mouse button for 1 second, my Form appears.
    It is like the PicPick Capture Bar, but better.
    When you click one of the choices it gets out of the way (goes invisible again), and tells PicPick to carry out that capture.
    If you had a change of heart, just hold the middle button down for one second, and my Form goes away.
    I am also building in a default, where you can set one of the captures as your favorite (most often used). There is a large button at the bottom which you can click to just use your favorite (Default). Saves you having to choose one of the multiple choices, everytime.

    Would people like to have two defaults ?
    What I have at the moment are a column of checkboxes to the right of the capture choices.
    You click one of those, and a X appears.
    The next time you bring up my form, you can click a large button at the bottom, and it uses your favorite capture instruction (your default).
    I could also have a column of checkboxes down the left, and you could set another default there.
    There would be two large buttons at the bottom. Click the left one, and you get the left default. Click the right one and you get the right default.

    Would most of you only have one Default (one capture method you use most of the time) ?
    Or do a lot of you have two capture methods that you use frequently ?

    Rob
    PS Mike, this will be better than PicPicks Capture Bar.

  6. Mike

    @RobCr: Thanks! Between my having placed the program icon on my taskbar set to open up the capture bar, and the program hotkeys, I find that I’m pretty well set for getting to the program easily. And who knows–perhaps the dev will consider a switch of the menus accessed through the Notification area icon.

  7. RobCr

    @Mike:
    Some ideas are hatching in my brain.
    I have knocked up a wee VB6 Form.
    When it is running, it is invisible.
    If it notices that the user presses the mouse Left button AND the Middle button (wheel press down), it shows the Form.
    The presses do not have to be simultaneous. That is, you can hold down one, and then press the other, whilst still holding the first down.
    I have not got fancy or pretty with the Form, yet.
    If I click the form, it hides itself, and sends the Print button keypress instruction.
    And voila, PicPick takes a snapshot.
    And the good news (in XP anyway), is the focus is maintained.
    EG say I had Notepad and EditPadLite windows open, and mediumized (I invented that word as a complement to Maximized, Minimized, and Mediumized).
    Let us say I had Notepad with the focus (It’s Titlebar is vibrant blue).
    When I do the scenario described above, Notepad regains it’s focus, prior to the snapshot.
    That means two things -
    - The snapshot has just Notepad as vibrant (Editpad is the dimmer inactive Blue)
    - If you were desiring the active window (Alt Printscreen) that should work (not coded yet).

    Are you ‘using’ PicPick’s default Hot Keys (I mean they are set in Settings)?
    Are you seeing where I am going ?
    Are you interested in where I am going ?
    Namely -
    The Form could have a list of choices (Full Screen, Active Window), and all you would have to do is -
    Press Left and Middle buttons, and then click the desired action, such as Active Window.

    Rob
    PS We could allow one of the list to be marked as a default, and we could press Middle button and Right button, and the Form stays invisible. It just tells PicPick to do the default capture (no extra click needed)

  8. Mike

    @RobCr: I agree that it makes sense to move PicPick’s tools (CrossHair, etc.) to the sub menu, and place the Capture choices on the main menu of the program pop-up–I actually think things are a bit backwards right now, as the main purpose for the program is to capture, not use the additional tools. Would be great if the dev would “reverse” matters this way.

    In the meanwhile, you might want to try out my taskbar method noted above–simple to set up and, in the end, it does just about everything you mention. A nifty workaround, if I must say so myself! :^)

  9. RobCr

    @Mike:
    I had the Print Screen button turned off, due to it clashing with a couple of other Capture programs.
    I will now prevent the other programs from starting with Windows, and restore all his Hot keys.
    But I do like to click sometimes.
    If the programmer did a slight change to his SysTray popup, to move the Tools (CrossHair etc) to the sub menu, and place the Capture choices on the main menu, then it would only be one left click of the SysTray Icon, and one other click of the desired capture method (eg Region).
    Anyone in favor of writing to the author and suggesting that ?

    Did anyone notice that there is now an option to hide the Ribbon (thus showing more of the image). It is in that tiny down arrowhead to the right of the ‘top buttons’ (as he calls them).

    If we don’t pressure the programmer to change his SysTray popup menu, I will have to find a way to remember all the Hot Keys.
    I am leaning towards taking a screen print of the Hot Keys page, and finding a quick way to display that image. Still pondering the best way to do that.

  10. Mike

    @RobCr: Yep, I meant the number of clicks to get a capture. I’ve managed to get this down to 2 clicks, by pinning a shortcut for the program onto my Win7 taskbar and setting the shortcut’s program target switch (the program’s various switches are listed under the program’s Program Options, under the Parameters button on the About screen–you just add the switch’s letter combination (preceded by the slash) to the end of the command listed in the shortcut’s program target line, after a space) to open the capture bar on the screen when the taskbar button is clicked. That way, one click of the program’s taskbar button opens the capture bar, and a second click starts the capture type I select. The only issue here is that the (small) capture bar remains on-screen–to eliminate it, you need to either press the ESC key or the taskbar button again.

    Note that you CAN get a screen capture with a single keypress by pressing your keyboard’s print screen key–the capture is done and PicPick’s editing tool opens up immediately with the image there. You likewise can use other hotkey combinations of your choosing to get the other forms of screen captures, set under the program’s Program Options. Sometimes, though, I just find clicking faster then key presses.

  11. RobCr

    @Mike:
    When you say -
    a faster (step-wise) capture initiation process, when launching the program
    Do you mean a single click to do a capture ?
    I notice that the programmer has not used up all of the click of the systray options.
    IE he has identical actions when you single left or single right click the systray icon.
    Perhaps we could write to him and suggest that he provide an additional setting (in Options) where we can tell the program what our most common action is.
    EG Screen capture Full Screen
    From that point on, anytime we single left click the SysTray icon, it will carry out that action.
    And then where necessary to choose a different action we can do a right click, and navigate to the desired alternate capture.

  12. Mike

    Many thanks for noting this program!

    I recently installed the program and I must say that I am happy with it thus far. My prime motivation for installing: the program’s ability to capture an entire scrolling window. I must say that it has come through nicely in that regard, based on my initial testing. I also like the very capable capture editing screen as well as the “whiteboard” utility and the very well-behaving magnifier.

    The only things I would like to see in the program: an easy highlighting tool for captures (although a fairly simple workaround exists); a faster (step-wise) capture initiation process, when launching the program outside of the use of hotkeys (although, having said that, I have the process down to 2-3 mouse clicks); and some help files (although the program is fairly easy to understand and use).

    Recommended; and thanks, again!

  13. Janetb

    @RobCr:
    THANK YOU!!!!!
    Yes, I have freeware version 5.3. I did what you said, and it worked! So now I can go back to Faststone! I like their graphics editor, specifically the dropshadow for notations. I have been using PicPick and ScreenshotCapture, but I like the simplicity of FastCapture. I use it mostly for scrolling captures, and it is the only app that gets that right every time with no settings….But I will take another look at PicPick and read your links. Thanks a million!

  14. RobCr

    Users of the Free version of FastStone -
    You must at least give PicPick a try.
    Gizmo ranks PicPick as better -
    http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/best-free-all-one-design-tools.htm
    And I say that Tabs are a necessity(see Post 2), which free FastStone ain’t got.
    And I am not alone on that opinion -
    http://www.portablefreeware.com/?id=775
    Magibon: PicPick offers a feature not available with FastStone.
    Tabs!
    With FastStone, you have to save the capture right away, or it will be discarded if you snap another capture.
    PicPick will save using Tabs, so you can go back later to save the captures you want :)

    .

  15. RobCr

    @Janetb:
    I am guessing the last freeware version 5.3
    I am guessing that it is 32 bit

    I am not the world’s expert on 64 bit, as I do not have one (64 bit OS)
    I have recently assisted a couple of people to get 32 bit programs working properly (all functionality working).

    Have you gone to Properties for the EXE, or the shortcut you use to the EXE, and gone into the Compatibility Tab, to set it to say XP

    Also you may have to experiment with the ‘set for all users’.
    You should do that one first, as it opens up another dialog for the settings, even though it looks the same.
    Do you have multiple user logons on your PC ?
    Do they all have the same access authorities ?

    We ticked that OK for one person that I helped.
    However with the other person I helped, we had to untick that. I presume because there were additional Windows logons with less powers.

  16. Janetb

    Anyone using the free Faststone Capture successfully on Win 7 64-bit? Since moving to W7, it freezes every thime I try to print the capture….:-(….I have to first save it to Desktop and then print from there.

  17. Mary

    Thank you both, Jeremy and Robert for such in depth articles.

    I use Gadwin Print Screen because of its extremely simple use, and I applied it the PrtScr key, but I also have to open RealDraw Pro to get the images the way I want them. Just a habit for me. (I actually don’t even know if I use Gadwins full potential! lol)

    I use the screenshot program all the time to take snapshots of products I create, parties and events in the 3D VW I belong to, (NuveraOnline.com) and then share them with the community or produce my product pages. So, a good, easy to use program is important to me.

    While I considered trying out Screenshot Capture, for all the benefits that it offered, the ‘learning curve’ is what turned me off to it. Guess that one little thing scared me a bit! ;)

    I may try this one though, and if I get really ambitious, I may end up trying S.C. also, eventually.

    Thank you for the great, detailed postings! Great job to both of you!

    Mary

  18. Seahou nd

    I make screen shots a dozen times a day. FastStone Capture used to be my favourite, but over the past couple of years, PicPick has won the day. The primary reason is that I send a lot of charts to mates, PicPick enables easy reduction of them to (say) 70% of original, to fit them comofrtably into an email.

    It is a neat and easy tool to use. I download the competitiors when reviews occur, but return to PicPick quickly.

    Thanks Ashraf for your excellents notes each day.

    Seahound

  19. rikishi19

    This is an excellent tool that I have used since I came across it around a year ago. I’d like to point out however that during this time many ‘scummers’ took advantage of PicPick’s success and there is therefore a LOT of redistributed versions out there that include some form of malware, so please only download this from the official site (as linked to in the article) or trusted download sites such as softpedia.

  20. Rob (Down Under)

    (Grumpy hat on)
    I have used PicPick for a couple of years, perhaps longer.
    If any of you remember when PicPick introduced the flippin Ribbon, then I was using it for at least a year prior to that.
    Whilst I am hating things (recent) MS, I hate the Ribbon.
    PicPick’s is not as big a PIA as MS’s, but I would still prefer Menu’s, and free up that space for the image.

    (Praise hat on)
    You forgot to mention another of PicPick’s endearing features – Multiple Tabs
    If you are a tad busy, you can be taking snapshots (Print Button, or Ctrl Print button), and merrily continue doing what you are doing. Then when you have the time you can view all your images, and edit them, and save them, at your leisure. You have gotta love Tabs.

    (Hats off)
    If we ever invent a tiny porthole to the past, where we can only send short cryptic messages, I would send Bill a message to build Tabs into Windows Explorer etc.
    Back then, I liked Bill. Not these days.
    Whilst we don’t have a porthole, perhaps we could just post MS a letter, telling them about using Tabs now in say Windows Explorer.

  21. mikycomputers

    This program is my favorite capture tool, and it can do so many other things also. I’ve tried many capture programs and this one is the best freeware for me!
    Thanks for post