Product Review: Professional Capture System

by : Richard Lowe



During my career I've written several hundred manuals for dozens
of applications, operating systems, routines and hardware. This is
an area that I've always felt is vitally important, yet it seems
to be either completely overlooked or assigned at the last minute
to the person who is lowest on the organization chart. I've seen
projects with implementations that required dozens of man-years,
yet didn't have a single page of documentation of any kind.

Just like you, I've heard all of the excuses. User's don't need
documentation or won't read it; Documentation is too expensive;
The customer won't pay for it; Things are changing too quickly;
It will be immediately obsolete; and dozen's of other mindless
"truths" to explain the lack of delivering vital information in
written form.

I know that documentation is tough - I've written enough myself
to understand fully how hard it is to get started, to find the
information, and to just start writing down the words. Perhaps the
toughest task was describing how to do something which I as a
programmer and computer veteran do without thinking, but a typical
user has absolutely no idea how to even get started.

Then one day I stumbled across a little gem of a tool. It's
called Jasc Capture System, and what the program does is allow
you to capture some or all of your computer screen. In other
words, you can grab part of the screen and save it as an image.
This image can then be edited using normal image editing tools,
added to documentation and even sent in emails.

How is this useful? Well, let's say you have to explain how to
enter a URL in the address field of the browser. Seems simple,
doesn't it? Well, you can make it even simpler for your users to
use a picture or two instead of a lot of words. You could include
a picture of the browser window with some arrows and labels, which
would make the whole thing more obvious and easier to understand.

This product has some very nice features. You can capture by area
(you draw a box around what you want), the whole screenArticle Submission, a window
or even a specific object. All you have to do is start up the
program and press whatever key you define as your hot key. You will
then be able to select what parts of the screen you want to
capture.

I would recommend this product to anyone who needs to include
pictures of their screens into documentation. I use it constantly
to improve the quality of my work.