Step by Step builder

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  • Implemented
Empower users to create fast, efficient step-by-step guides. These can be useful for on-boarding, support materials, and answering user questions. This is especially important given the continual pressure to create more content or update existing content with ever-changing apps and websites.

There are some great mockups that the community has put together. Basically, a way to combine multiple images and title, markup, and explain the each image with some text. The output could be an image, PDF, or HTML.
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Chris Larson, Snagit Technical Product Manager

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Posted 1 year ago

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wa-a

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Great opportunity - innovative step-by-step features for tech writers.

I saw the Snagit 2018 video today when it popped up. Great stuff! You inspired me to offer these ideas for breaking new ground.
 
Why:  Empower tech writers and tech support agents to create fast, efficient step-by-step guides for both onboarding and answering user questions. There is so much pressure on productivity. We're hungry for tools that do the job fast. Our users are hungry for quick answers to questions that text alone or screenshots alone (even with annotations) don't deliver well.

How:  (1) The writer snaps a screenshot into the editor and selects Step-by-Step mode. Now the Editor has a Title box above the screenshot, a text box between Title and screenshot, and a text box below the screenshot.
(2) Annotate the screenshot with arrows, numbers, word balloons.
(3) Enter a Title, introduce the screenshot in the text, and explain the numbered steps below the screenshot using numbered paragraphs.
(4) After making an entry in the app's screen or popping up a dialog window. snap another screenshot into the Editor. Repeat steps (1) to (3).

What:  The result is a quick, efficient, clear step-by-step guide for the users. The Editor offers and option to export the multiple screenshots with their Titles, Text and Annotated Screenshots in PDF and in HTML format for posting on an intranet or in a web app. The author sends the users PDFs and/or links to the page containing these quick step-by-step guides.

Why not just a video? (a) Time. It takes longer to record, narrate and annotate a video. With experience, authors can snap away and, significantly, explain, organize and distribute their mini-guides. (b) These same guides can later be collected and republished in more formal technical documentation and in intranets. They are more reusable and searchable than videos.

So often we authors need a quick and really efficient tool. Users don't often need fancy TOC's, cover pages, chapter numbering and all the attributes of technical manuals all the time. Besides the apps change so fast, it becomes a big burden to update the big manuals.

TechSmith has a great opportunity to disrupt the standard approach to delivering screenshots. The traditional methods involve so many added steps, pasting into Word or inserting into tech manual software or alternating between Snagit and webpage editing. Give us a mini-environment in Editor. We can receive a question, shoot the app windows, and simply annotate, explain and send them directly to our users!
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paul.janssen

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In addition output to word as well, to be able to edit the document later on.
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steve.del.vecchio.21

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Yes that's good, would remove the extra step of capturing copy to clip and then paste into word !
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Mikemc

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This is a tool I've wanted for over 11 years.
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Susana Vargas

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This would make my life alot easier, since put together step by step instructions for procesess.
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waudette

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I often use SnagIt for this purpose and have often looked for an option to help facilitate this function to help illustrate work flows.


William...

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erinludden

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This would be really helpful as it is the #1,2,3 and 4 reason I use snag it.  It's a perfect training tool and this would really up the game!
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Chris Larson, Snagit Technical Product Manager

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We will strongly consider this for an upcoming release. This is an idea that’s been in the back of the minds of more than a few of us at TechSmith. It speaks to a problem that our two largest sets of users (technical documentation and training) encounter regularly: wanting to quickly create and send simple tutorials to others.

We will need some more feedback and ideas from you all to further refine the concept, so if you are interested in a conversation or beta opportunities, please let us know by replying to this comment.

This is a great idea and we hope to bring you an easy-to-use way of creating these step guides.

Here are the definitions of what the statuses mean for Ideas.
Here is the overall vote count for the rest of the Ideas in this roundup, as well as what has been implemented since our previous round.
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terryhatmaker

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A step by step document generator would greatly facilitate my work in Snagit.

I have been using Clarify-it app for some time. It is a screenshot document generator based on their product Screensteps.

It allows for easy creation of documents that can be exported as PDF, Word (docx) or html. The application allows you to create screenshots and then the app places them in a document in the order they are taken. When you have gone through the process of collecting your screenshots, you can annotate the images and add text for each step. 

I have attempted to try something similar with Snagit by going into the Snagit Library and select the screenshots I want for my document. However, the Share button is grayed out. It seems like a quick workaround until a better solution could be developed, would be to allow us to export a series of images to Word.
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ssvaidya

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Ability to combine/merge multiple images.

I would like the ability combine or merge multiple images to create a single image by importing additional images into the SnagIt 11 Editor while I am working on an existing image.
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Jaye Speaks

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Offer Combine Images option in SnagIt Editor tray.

I am capturing screenshots and in many cases would like to assemble a combined image of multiple snags from a options in the SnagIt Editor tray. The option might be something like Combine, where choices of how to combine are child menu items.
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brucemandel

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Combining saved images to print on one page.

After saving multiple images using Snagit 2018, it would be nice in the Editor to be able to open up a new blank page and then bring in all the images you want from the gallery, place them where you want and then print the page.  Sort of like making up something in Adobe Indesign.
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Judy Burr

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Is Snag it editor capable to combine 2+ files into one. like acrobat?.

I have a new Windows 8 computer and have used Snag it for years. I had Acrobat, but I am wondering if the combining of files into 1 pdf is possible with the Snag it editor. that is all I was using acrobat for.
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Michael D

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Can I save multiple images into a single file? (Multipage PDF or PPTx).

My General manager would like a way to take multiple screens using SnagIt - then save them all into a single PDF multipage file, or export them into a multipage powerpoint doc.

Is there a way to do this?
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Zach Getson

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Snagging Multiple frames in to one image.

So I understand in the editor you can put drag a snag into a previous one and that layers the image. Does snagit have the ability to put two images next to each other instead? Going for a before/after type scenario.

Once I've put the image on the other I cant edit the size of the first image to give the second image more space.

Sorry if my question is unclear.
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Sigrid

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled How to export multiple screen captures into one single document in Snagit 13.

Is there a way to take multiple screen captures and export them into a single document?  Word, PDF, or PowerPoint.  Everything I have tried puts each screen shot into it's own file/document instead of combining them.

I'm using a Windows computer.
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mlebowitz

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled share multiple files easily, preferably in one document.

I've searched the help boards but not found a solution to what seems like a really elemental part of Snagit for Mac. When I've worked on a few files (say screenshots, with markup) then I want to share them... let's say there are 5 files. I need some workable way to gather these five files into ONE document of some sort and then share it. It could be a word doc, pdf, powerpoint, something that I can send to someone else and they can page through it to see my markup. How do people do this??  I assume/hope I must be missing some obvious way to do this. Please help!
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sselimsaglam

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Share multiple paged one image easily?.

My problem is to share multiple paged one document easily. If I
can share it with MSWord by using one click that would be owesome.
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JL1

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I would imagine that SnagIt 2019, which was released today, will put this thread to rest.

Let me quote from the official release:
  • Quickly and painlessly explain a series of steps by combining multiple screenshots into a single image.
see:
https://feedback.techsmith.com/techsmith/topics/snagit-2019-released
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Daniel Foster, Snagit strategy lead

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Official Response
Hi all - in Snagit 2019 there’s a new capability to select a series of screenshots and combine them into a single graphic.



This supports a number of new use cases directly within Snagit, such as:
  • Quickly and painlessly explain a series of steps or a process that spans multiple screenshots
    Automatically add step numbers, adjust colors, quickly add a title and captions, and apply an existing color theme to stay on brand with your organization. (This titling and styling workflow is not yet on Snagit Mac, but will be coming very soon in a free update to Snagit 2019.)
  • Demonstrate a before-and-after state
  • Compare A vs B vs C, etc
  • Save paper by printing multiple images on one page
The #1 way people use Snagit today is to explain a process or series of steps. We’ve added lots of markup and annotation tools over the years to make it easy to show steps on a single image. This new functionality extends that to multiple screens or images in sequence. Use it to create a quick reference guide, job aid, or performance support material.

Currently, the Combine Images workflow generates an image file that can be saved in any format that Snagit supports. That includes the .snag project file, which remains editable in Snagit later, or a number of standard formats like PNG, JPG, PDF, etc. (One note about saving to PDF on Windows: if your combined image is tall, you’ll want to select File > Save As... > PDF > Options... > PDF Page Setup... > Fit on page (shrink) to ensure your image is not split up oddly between pages.)

Your combined image can also be shared directly to other applications such as Word and PowerPoint or cloud drives such as Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive. Find and add those destinations under the blue Share button in Snagit editor.

Check out the complete how-to guide for Combine Images

We’d love to hear how you’re using this new capability and what other ways you’d like to be using it. We definitely have some ideas for more styling and layout options, other media formats people might want to generate, that kind of thing. But we want to hear your ideas, too!

Next steps:

(Edited)
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Rick Stone

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One thought for a way to improve upon this would be to use the ability to choose images, then "combine" them into an animated GIF.

Or to toggle a mode whereby you tell SnagIt you want to begin such a capture, then as you begin, it keeps track of the different images as you go and when finished, creates the GIF for you.
(Edited)
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Daniel Foster, Snagit strategy lead

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For sure! We'd need to do some user testing to find the optimal workflow for getting the duration of each "frame" right...but motion formats would be pretty sweet. :)  
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Rick Stone

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I would envision perhaps a setting that would allow configuration of each "slide" in such a beast. Then perhaps another final check before saving that allowed the user to tweak things a bit before actually pumping out the animation. Perhaps adding captions and callouts, etc. Kind of like the way that Adobe Captivate can capture the screen where each slide is a screen capture.
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Joe Morgan

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I think you would need a whole different Animal to get it right. 6 images is pretty limiting.


You would need full control of duration. I don't think muddying up combine images is the way to go.
Create GIF should have it's own separate interface and tool set.
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Rick Stone

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Curious where the number 6 came from?
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Paul

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But the assembly and ordering of the frames has so much in common with combine images Joe that it might also make sense to share as much code as possible.  Perhaps there should be a tab on the settings piece on the right hand side of the dialog box for GIF makers and another for static image makers
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Daniel Foster, Snagit strategy lead

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Haha, fun to brainstorm!

Combine Images was limited to 6 images during beta; currently the max is 10, if I recall correctly.
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Rick Stone

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Ahhh okay. That makes sense. When I saw the mention of 6 earlier I tried with about 8 and it seemed to work fine. So I was puzzled.
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Joe Morgan

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According to this SnagIt/TechSmith tutorial. I took the tutorial at its word.


Combine images is limited to 6 images. The limit is mentioned several times starting around 30 seconds in.


I just tested and managed to place 10 images consistently.   But that was the upper limit. Images stacked on top of each other shouldn't have an upper limit.

Images that become 20,000+ Wide or High in after "X" amount of images. Need to be limited to the programs capacity. Which is 25,000 X 25,000 Pixels with SnagIt. So an image limit necessary.

One of my  10 image tests is only 17,837 X 1,480 pixels once saved. So It's not like SnagIt is making a Smart decision to limit me to 10 images.Due to canvas size. Its just limiting me to 10 images.





 







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Joe Morgan

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I lost internet connection as I was responding to this post, so the response is behind the timing of Daniel Foster's

response. However,the tutorial needs to be updated just the same.
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Daniel Foster, Snagit strategy lead

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Um, yeah, sorry about that. 'Twas a failure to communicate the new limit to the guy who made the tutorial. The content will get updated.

FWIW, I expect we'll refine the way the limit is applied as we continue to iterate on and expand that area of the app. 10 was a pretty solid place to start given the initial set of use cases we built it for.
(Edited)
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Paul

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Having experimented with it for a while I think that "combine images" is a good start but there are some issues that need addressing.

The size of the dialog box.
I use a 27 in monitor yet the dialog box is squished into the middle of it



I can drag the box to enlarge it but next time I use combine it reverts to the previous size.  It would be better if my preferences were sticky across sessions

Readability of the previews
The basic preview size is often illegible.  The size of the previews can be increased using the slider (good) but the size is not remembered (not so good) but that doesn't help that much because the image quality is so degraded.  In this example I can't see enough detail to decide the correct order:



Setting, settings. settings
Unless you are happy with the defaults, you spend too much time changing them every time you use the tool. Sticky settings please




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Joe Morgan

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In a round about way, you're kind of making my point for me. To make this a better for creating combine images as well as creating gifs.
For creating gifs. These blurry thumbnails would be extremely difficult to do anything with.
Considering that a lot of gifs are nearly identical from frame to frame.
Granted , this gif is not typical of what one would create in SnagIt.Its just symbolism 
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Paul

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I agree, to a point Joe.

Context is everything and in the context of creating documentation, I don't imagine a need for smooth frames, but rather for transitioning from screen to screen to demonstrate a flow.  So a few seconds of one screenshot with a fade or straight transition to another etc.  And if you annotate the individual screenshots before you merge them it could produce a nice training snippet.
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Joe Morgan

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That was symbolism demonstrating the futility of getting nowhere. It really wasn't intended to represent frame rate.
SnagIt isn't sophisticated enough to create animations like that. Not from my perspective.

But I created gifs with instructions from time to time. Some need to change frames much faster than others.Based on the information provided.  Some frames need to be displayed longer than others.

This example is a 11 image gif with 10 frames times at 1/2 a second and the final frame timed to 2 seconds. Looped endlessly. Created in Photoshop.


I've created other gifs with varying speeds on different frames. It all depends on what the viewer needs to take in from frame to frame.
You don't want it to go to fast, and you don't want them to fall asleep. 
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Rick Stone

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Given that the thread is about a step by step builder, I didn't really envision things like animated cars driving and morphing. But rather a small series of screen captures demonstrating a complex series of steps. As in perhaps creating a new preset for SnagIt.
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Joe Morgan

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Missing the main point once again.
You ignore what I stated. You should try reading what I write.Then respond.
That was symbolism demonstrating the futility of getting nowhere. It really wasn't intended to represent frame rate.
SnagIt isn't sophisticated enough to create animations like that. Not from my perspective.

Plus, If I were creating a complex animation like that, I'd be using software that could create the gif natively.

I wouldn't need SnagIt to complete my work.

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Joe Morgan

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2mb is the limitation for gifs in this forum. So you can't upload decent videos.

This one maxes out the limit. It's a fraction of the original and downsized in colors used and and size.


But gifs are great for informative instruction as well.



But try and create a video/gif larger than this one and you really can't.