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Free Screen Capture Tool to Make eLearnings

We receive some really interesting articles for SDN and BPX.  After editing and publishing so many of these, I can see the challenge of trying to explain a complicated process or setup with mere words and screen shots.  I often wonder how many hours have been lost just trying to show an exception or a tricky work around that is just easier to narrate and demonstrate!

Well, that’s where eLearning comes in.  But how do you make it?  We’ll, it’s easier and freer than you think! I recently discovered a free utility called the Jing Project*.  It was created by the good people over at TechSmith (Snag-It, Camtasia).  Jing is a screen and voice capture application without any Ka-Ching (or “Ka-Jing”) – for now.  It’s really easy to use and it runs on both Windows and Mac.  The output file is a nifty little SWF file with a similar interface found on video sharing websites.

Before you get started, Jing has a couple of challenges that make using it a bit more interesting…

  • 5 minute time limit: Jing has a 5 minute limitation so you need to make your recording short and sweet.  There is no reason why you cannot create and submit multiple demos: just imagine each screen capture is equal to a separate procedure belonging to a single chapter in an article.
  • Not-Resizable (yet): Whatever you record has fit inside a browser window on a computer with a screen resolution of 1024×768.  You should consider reducing your screen resolution before starting a screen grab and avoid capturing stuff we don’t need to see such as how many applications you are running at the moment (yes, we know you are VERY busy but…).  Don’t capture an area larger 950×700!!!

When you’re done, just ZIP the output SWF file and submit is to the SAP Community Network Content Submission System.  After your content is approved, we’ll upload it to the library and it will appear in the corresponding eLearning catalog.  You can also link your demos from an article or blog, just as I’ve done here:

Jing Demo
Screen Capture Made with Jing

Pretty soon, you’ll be an SCN eLearning Star!

* As in all my blogs, this one represents my own personal recommendation/opinion and not that of SAP. 

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  • What is the advantage of using this tool? There are already lots of tools to do a screen capture. I use SnagIT and I find it very user friendly.
    • Snag-It is great but not free for everyone (it is for SAP employees via the software corner).  It’s also made by TechSmith, creators of Jing and Camtasia.

      Check with your IT dept. if it is available at your workplace.  Content recorded with Snag-It can be saved and submitted to SDN/BPX in AVI format.

  • I agree that this is a very good tool and it shows alot of promise, but I can not recommend strongly enough that you read the FAQ page before downloading it – ESPECIALLY if you are using any of it for commercial use.  Read the excerpt below from their web page; if used incorrectly, you could be walking your self into a very uncomfortable licensing situation.

    It’s free for now!

    Yeah, didn’t think you’d let us slide with that last answer… so … here’s the deal; Jing isn’t a product right now—it’s a project. What we’re trying to do is give this to the world and figure out whether it fills a need or provides a useful service. We’re asking for both your participation and feedback on this concept, so the least we can do is provide the Jing Project complimentary during this period. As we learn what you want from this, we’ll have a better idea what the pricing and business model might look like in the future.

    • This is a very good and important point (and reason to always read the fine print).

      Before writing this blog, I contacted the people at Jing Project to tell them I was going to suggest their tool and that I wanted to host content made with Jing on our site. They gave me an explicit approval to proceed.

      How long this tool is free remains to be seen. Meanwhile, there are some other good free tools suggested below to consider.

  • Hi Jason,

    Thanks for the insight.

    Thanks also for all the coresponding feedbacks with the links to another usefull capturing program.

    It’s always handy 🙂


  • Couldn’t get the Jing tool to work after install. The WINK software is very useful though and very easy to use. I see many e-learning training lessons being on our company knowledge base shortly.

    Many thanks,

  • I totally agree, I rather watch video tutorials than read instructions with screenshots. I recorded some tutorials for my friend that was living abroad with my game recording software – she does not speak English well, so it would be hard for her to understand if instead of recording, I wrote the instruction.