I'm looking for a screenshot utility that would help me when I try to explain over email how to use a program. I'd like it to:

  1. Take a screenshot,

  2. Add a red arrow or circle like this:

    screenshot taken with shutter (fityk on Linux)

  3. Upload the image to imgur or attach it to an email.

And then I can send email: click this button with link or attachment that shows where to click.

Of course, I'd like to get the image as quickly as possible.

Recently I've found a perfect Linux program for this: Shutter.

Are there similar tools for Windows or OSX?

(I know that GIMP and other graphical programs can take screenshots, but starting GIMP takes more time).

  • 1
    If you want to crop screenshot on OS X, try cmd+shift+4, as it allows choosing the area for screenshot. I know this answers just a small part of your question (which is why it's comment)
    – Olli
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 0:52
  • I think it would be better to split into 2 questions, one for Windows, one for OSX. Or even you want the same software to run on both, please say so. Cheers!
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 0:58
  • 2
    Can't you add arrows to snipping tools? Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 11:13
  • 1
    Do solutions need to be available for both, Windows and OS X, or is only of the OS okay, too?
    – unor
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 23:46

12 Answers 12


Greenshot is a free program for Windows and is really good at this.

When you press Print Screen or click on its icon, it presents a nice context menu full of options

Context Menu

It also has a nice editor, which is the default that opens when you click 'Open in image editor'. It has shapes, arrows, a highlighter, an obfuscation tool, text boxes for annotations, undo (everything is separate objects until you save), even stuff like connecting to Dropbox, rotation, drop shadow effects, and freehand drawing (which seems to be a meme on Stack Exchange).


  • Thanks for showing the image editor; I recently started using Greenshot but always thought that the "open in image editor" would just open Paint which isn't what I need.
    – user111
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 1:05
  • @André It doesn't open paint for me.. It opens its own special editor that is a lot better than paint IMO.. What version are you using?
    – Seth
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 1:05
  • I always thought it would open Paint so I didn't even try it, thanks for proving me wrong.
    – user111
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 1:07
  • @André If you click my second link there is a screenshot of it actually :)
    – Seth
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 1:07
  • 5
    I use Greenshot daily for all my screenshots... awesome software. One note that you never mentioned is there's a way in settings that it'll open the editor automatically. The OP might like that feature... especially since all the standard buttons like upload/copy are available on the toolbar. No idea why it isn't default that way. Commented Apr 6, 2014 at 18:57

For Windows there is PicPick which is free for home, personal use.

I use it whenever I need to take screenshots as it allows a number of different screenshot sources such as the active window, a user-defined region or the whole desktop, plus it works well with multiple displays.

It also has the functionality of a full-featured image editor but it is tailored towards manipulating screenshots, and the controls are easy enough that having never opened the image editor before I tried it specifically to check the possibility/ease of adding an arrow to the screenshot, and had figured it out within 15 seconds.

While there is no in-built ability to email, there is an option in the File menu to send the image to an external program such as Thunderbird or a similar mail client. The first time you select the option from the menu it will show a dialog to configure which program you would like the image sent to and how it should be handled.


The Snipping Tool that comes with Windows 7 and 8 appears to satisfy your criteria. It's very simple to use, is free and you probably already have it!?

(This was actually casually mentioned in comments above, but didn't appear to get acknowledged.)

Snipping Tool

Note that in order to draw "arrows" you need to use the generic pen tool.

  1. Take a screenshot - YES

    • Free-form snip
    • Rectangular (default)
    • Windows
    • Full screen
  2. Add a red arrow or circle - YES
    There is a generic pen tool, "red", "blue", "black" or "custom" (which allows you to change the color, thickness and tip shape). There is also a "highlighter" (thick, transparent yellow). The lines are automatically smoothed (to some extent) and there is an eraser to remove your annotations one by one.
    Annotating a screenshot in the Snipping Tool

  3. Upload the image to imgur or attach it to an email. - Email
    You can also save it as PNG, GIF, JPG or MHT! And/or copy it to the clipboard. Send image by email

I've only just discovered this tool myself - can't believe it was sat there on my machine all this time!

  • 4
    I use this very frequently but I would like that it has more annotation tools like lines and shapes.
    – Wicket
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 0:20
  • 2
    I wish they had a add text feature, peeps in the office are now handwriting experts with their mouse
    – Jay Wick
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 1:10

FastStone Capture covers your needs. I used it for several years. Unfortunately my version doesn't allow direct emailing, but it seems that the latest one does.

It provide different screenshot modes:

  • All your screen
  • The active window only
  • Detection of your opened windows if you want to screen a specific one
  • Select the screenshot zone (rectangular or free zone)
  • A scroll-bar support allow you to screen a big page with 1 screenshot

You can automatically send your screenshot to:

  • The editor
  • The clipboard
  • Your printer
  • A file (auto-save or not with naming customization, file format, ...)
  • Email (Version 7.x)
  • Web (FTP) server (Version 8.0)

And of course you can override the print screen key component with all these options, and then run this software as a daemon.

To conclude the software is very light, and some old versions (that I use) are free.

The toolbar if you decide to show it (all screenshots are 5.3 version, current version is 7.x 8.0) :

FastStone Capture Menu

The parameter window :

FastStone Capture Parameter Window



  • is
  • runs on Windows with .NET Framework 4.0
  • screenshots and screen recorder
  • image annotation using Greenshot editor
  • +30 hosting services: Imgur, Google, Rapidshare, Flickr, Imageshack etc.


  • the screenshots options are in a submenu when right-clicking the tray icon, which makes them quite hard to find in a menu with many options
  • requires .NET Framework on earlier Windows than 8

enter image description here


For Mac, I used Skitch in the past. However, after Evernote acquired it and started integrating their own service into the app, it became a bloated app. Personally, I want a very fast app to annotate a screenshot and share it using a URL, and no Evernote storage or whatever.

Glui screenshot

Fortunately, a new app called Glui ($6.99, on the Mac App Store) was released a while ago. It works fast and has a simple UI. You can drag images to other applications or get a URL to share in one click. Your images are stored within your own Dropbox account, which you may like or not. If you prefer to not use Dropbox, you could simply drag the image to a cloud sharing app (like CloudApp or Droplr in your menu bar).


For Windows I use Hyperdesktop. (A link can be found here, direct link here - the site seems to be down at the time of writing.) It allows me to use hotkeys to take a screenshot of the whole desktop, the active window or an area I choose with my mouse. I can then edit the picture with red (or any other colour I choose) freehand circles and other simple things before uploading it to imgur or my dedicated server through FTP.

Download from GetHyperdesktop.com

You can even choose to upload pictures you've already taken, and there are enough settings to tweak almost everything the program does.

Hyperdesktop Preferences

I'm not sure about Mac compatibility at the moment as the website is down.

(Yes, these screenshots were taken with the program)


I use Jing by techsmith on windows, (the website claims mac support as well, but I have never used the mac version)

it has a free version + a paid version, but the limitations on the free version are only for videos

I set it up to activate via the alt + c key combination (can configure it to whatever you want, or none), the rest of the time it stays hidden in the taskbar (I set it to auto-run on startup, can be turned off), and from there can also be used to get a capture - which lets me get an image like this:

enter image description here

once I choose the image area, it brings up a small editor which lets me box/arrow/highlight what I want to show

enter image description here

and then I can copy it (and paste elsewhere), save it to a file, or upload it to the web (and paste the link to use it like that)

The free version has restrictions as far as what formats of videos it will save the files as, but that hasn't been an issue for me as I don't really use it to record videos


May I recommend Lightshot? It meets all of your requirements of,

  • Takes screenshots
  • Has the ability to edit right after you take the screenshot and add an arrow (along with other vectors if you so wanted)
  • Uploads directly to Imgur with the ability to share, save, copy, and more.

It also has these great features as well,

  • Fast screenshot of selected area - Our app allows you to select any area on your desktop and take its screenshot with 2 button clicks.
  • Easy-to-use application - Simple interface of our app, its useful features and light weight make your work so very fast and pleasant.
  • Share screenshots via Internet - Upload your screenshot to the server and get its short link right away.
  • Powerful editors - You can edit screenshots instantly when taking them or later using a powerful online editor.
  • Similar image search - Find similar images. Select any image on your screen and find dozens similar images.
  • Various Platforms - Lightshot is available for Windows/Mac, Chrome, Firefox, IE & Opera.

LightShot (Free)

Lightshot - easy screenshot tool, is screen capture tool for Windows that works very much like the Snipping tool in Windows Vista and 7, with the added advantage of automatically uploading it online for sharing or editing. Available also as Firefox addon, Chrome extension and IE addon besides Desktop application.

Lightshot editor UI


Snipaste is an actively developed screenshotting tool. Its snipping features are unique, because it autodetects UI elements. After taking the screenshot, one can edit it:

image editing


GrabNDrop is an application to create screenshots the simple way. Just double click on the tray icon, select screen area and drop the image into any other application like Word, Email, ICQ, Skype, ... Forget about the annoying "Save as..." procedure. To highlight details in the screenshot you have the possibility to create simple drawings in the screenshot.

After taking the screenshot, one does a drag action on the screenshot and drops it into the application one wants. The filename used for dropping can be specified.



You can try Snagit. From their site:

Snagit lets you quickly capture your screen, add additional context, and easily share with coworkers.

Snagit screenshot

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