We love tiny useful tools which get things done, and luckily for us there are a lot of great coders out there who indulge our passion and deliver cool stuff all the time. One such person is Nicke Manarin who has come up with a doozy of an open source program which we think has a great future.
Screen to Gif is a tiny free utility which you can use to capture any part of your screen and save to an animated GIF file. Why? Well if you think about it, there are lots of times when you want to get a point across, but it doesn’t need a full video or screencast, just a few seconds of animation will do.
So for instance you could grab some coding moments to explain how to do or fix something, you can grab images, or user activity… in fact just about anything you can do on your screen, you can parcel up into an easily emailable or distributable GIF file.
The software comes with a small but effective set of options, including the ability to edit the file before you save it, although it can be a little tricky to get it working when you start off as a newbie.
The trick is to set the recording window where you want it to be, resize the window to your requirements and then click onto the screen desktop to take the focus away from the utility. Then all you have to do is hit the F7 key to start (and pause) and the F8 key to stop the recording. At that point you can edit, delete animation frames (right mouse click on the editor window for that) and save as you feel.
The software is still in very early development (v 0.6) so it definitely has a few glitches in it. For instance once you save, the program goes into a rendering mode without any warning or indication, which can be a little confusing if you want to record another clip or close the utility altogether. And there are a few other bugs which can creep up when you try to save clips (especially if you’re trying to capture complex video like cartoons etc).
But apart from these small issues, it works surprisingly well once you get the hang of it.