The project I'm currently developing is for training on Office 2016 products and includes instructor guides, student training manuals, PowerPoint slides for instructor use, and self-paced eLearning, which includes some presentation-style slides, interactive practice slides, and review questions. For different projects or deliverables, like user guides and online help, I might choose a slightly different settings and outputs for this automated workflow.
I normally like to capture my images as I'm writing content to have the words that go with the picture and the picture that goes with the words. I love that SnagIt has made that process so friction-less.
When I first started freelancing, I used Adobe Technical Communication Suite for FrameMaker and Robohelp, and I really liked the simplicity of the RoboCapture tool that came with that suite. I kept using it long after I moved on from FrameMaker/Robohelp. Once Office added the ability to insert a screen clipping for Word and PowerPoint, I often used that. So it's only been recently that I've really embraced Snagit as my capture tool of choice. But I mentioned last post, I'll never go back!
In order to have a frictionless workflow for capturing images to build your library, you need to do a few things to set up your system ahead of time. While this is true with many tools, with screen captures, I had never found the need to use these features until I was staring up a mountain of work with similar content in different forms.
So here are the steps for setting up your capturing environment for use in the automatic workflow that I'll share.
I like to have a thin black border around the images for documentation, for use on PowerPoint slides and for use in self-paced eLearning materials. You can have SnagIt add this border automatically.
Note that there are several other effects that are possible to add at the same time, like adding edge effects, shadow, or scaling the image. I don't use any other effects at this time, but it's good to know that they exist, and that you can apply more than one effect at a time. With my next project that requires tons of images, I will definitely investigate applying some of those other effects automatically.
Now, your capture settings are ready to roll, and the workflow is really easy.
However, if I wanted to further modify the image (such as by taking out personal information in an example screen or add a highlight of some type, I can do that in the SnagIt Editor before I select Finish (see below). Note that the Copy to Clipboard option doesn't capture any editor modifications, so you would need to copy the final version or use the saved file if you do make changes.
Now, even though I make heavy use of copy and paste to shortcut work, I have the files saved when I come back to them in a different context.
*But I want to be completely honest about this workflow, so here's my confession. I planned to place each section in a separate folder and change the automatic name for each topic. But I sometimes forgot to change either name or folder as I was working, and I would end up with 30 or more files in one folder an hour or two later. They weren't as well-organized as I would have liked. However, it was still the quickest and most efficient way of capturing and storing images than anything I've previously tried.
I can think of some great applications for this workflow, especially when combined with single-sourcing. In the meantime, I'll keep writing and capturing those images as I go.
P.S. Here's one more caveat: SnagIt is not great at capturing itself. This blog post includes captures from both SnagIt and Word, with some additional editing done in SnagIt Editor.