Software Review: Hypersnap DX4- Capture Screen Shots Fast

By J. A. Hitchcock
as it appeared in the July 2001 issue of IT Magazine

Sometimes while reviewing, I need to get images of the capabilities of the software or hardware. To do this, I try a few screen capture programs, but end up consistently using one – HyperSnap DX. I started off with their free Basic trial version, which was fairly easy to use, but would “mark” the image captured with a license reminder in the top left-hand corner.

Truthfully, you could work around that by doing a full page screen capture while minimizing the size of what you want to capture, then go to your graphics program and crop the reminder out, but it was a hassle to do.

I personally think it’s worth it to pay for either the Basic or Pro version. You also don’t get the annoying reminders to register and pay for it. I find that the program just gets better and better with each update – the owner of Hyperionics, Greg Kochaniak, is very receptive to customer comments and suggestions and frequently offers free upgrades for new features and to fix any bugs (which have been few and far between).

The latest version of HyperSnap DX4 has a more comprehensive online HELP function over the Basic trial version, plus these new and improved features:

• Save your image as a BMP, GIF, or JPEG file, which is especially helpful when working on PowerPoint presentations or Web pages. You also get options on GIFs for interlaced and transparent backgrounds.

• Convert files from one format to another and if you have DirectX or 3dfx GLIDE applications, you can now make game and other captures (which helps when you brag about that high score).

• Capture images from multiple monitors at once, when used on multi-monitor setups under Windows 98 or 2000. This is great in an office environment, especially if you have several people working on the same project.

• Edit and annotate images by changing the color depth to 2, 16, 256, or 16 million colors, with eight dithering choices, or grayscale or halftone images.

• Use the built-in Crop feature to remove rectangular sections from within an image, or use conventional cropping for final edits without having to use another program to do this – very handy!

• Capture an image of an entire Web page, file listing, or other scrolling windows by using the Auto Scroll Window capture option.

• You can also capture whole windows or smaller sections, highlighting the boundaries you want and basically customizing your screen capture.

• Minimize the program to a system tray icon so that it’s always there, just in case.

• Customize the program with your own hot keys to quickly capture the entire desktop, any outline you specify, or the highlighted window or client, and automatically repeat the capture every so many seconds or by using another hot key.

• Automatically save each capture to a file. The program will even increment the file names automatically during the process if you want.

• Print the capture directly from the program and it automatically resizes the image to the size of the paper, print multiple pages, or even add a frame, reverse, or reduce the output to black and white.

The advantages of using the Pro version versus the Basic is that you get standard Windows commands, such as Ctrl+O for opening a file, Ctrl+S for save, and so on. The Basic version has its own commands, which drove me nuts.

Also, the Basic trial version only allows you to save the captured image in limited formats – BMP, GIF, or JPEG. The Pro version lets you save in multiple formats, including the former plus TIFF, LEAD (cmp), CALS, CCITT Fax (fax), Encapsulated Postscript (eps), GEM Image (img), IBM IOCA (raw), Macintosh Picture (pic, pict), MacPaint (mac), Microsoft Paint (msp), OS/2
Bitmap (bmp), SUN Raster (ras), Targa (tga), WinFax (wfx), Windows Metafile (wmf), WordPerfect (wpg), Portable Graphics PNG, and Adobe PSD (and more). Some of these formats also offer sub-formats and variations when saving the file.

When trying out my first screen capture with the Pro version, I noticed “hints” at the very bottom of the program screen, in what can only be described as a toolbar, which also include the image size and dimensions as you move the mouse cursor around.

The Resize function is wonderful; before, I had to save the screen capture, open it in my graphics program, crop and resize it, and ended up losing the sharpness and visual quality of the original capture. Resizing it in HyperSnap DX4 keeps the image quality without losing any of the details. Perfect! I captured the main page of my Web site and reduced it so that the image was saved at 38.4K, which I then compressed down to 23.1K without losing anything. Now it would fit on a Web page or in a DTP document without taking up a lot of space.

Other new options include changing the resolution – say if you capture a screen in color and want to save it as black and white, you can do it in a snap, add special effects like embossing or mosaic, or auto trim the capture (which is great if you’re in a hurry, and works very well).

The in-program tutorial is easy to understand and makes the program even easier to use, although it wasn’t hard to figure out in the first place.

Toolbars on the left and top have been expanded and offer even more options, rivaling those of expensive graphics programs. This is a definite plus and the program overall is a must for anyone who needs screen captures and graphics program rolled into one for a pretty inexpensive price.

The improvements are a boon to the product and the price is right, too; it’s very inexpensive at $35 per single user license or $10 for an upgrade from V2.x or 3.x; if you need this for a company with many employees, a site license is $1100 for V4 or $350 as an upgrade from V2.x or 3.x.

This is a very easy program to use and includes a step-by-step tutorial for the uninitiated, which is very well done. I highly recommend this program for anyone who needs to capture images from the Web, DTP programs, while playing games, or if you’re like me, reviewing products.

You cannot use HyperSnap-DX with any version of Windows that’s not 32 bit, or that does not have the system tray component.

J.A. Hitchcock is a regular contributor to Compute Me and is currently writing a book detailing online crimes. Visit her web site at

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