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I need to do screenshots for web style documentation

In the past, I set the screen to 256 color, default color scheme, and these made great GIFs

For the current app, the screens need to be 16/24 bit color as they contain extensive graphics. JPEGs unfortunately make them text elements harder/impossible to read.


S. Tanna
Monday, June 23, 2003

If you can't get what you want be cranking the JPEG compression to its lowest setting, use PNG. It is a lossless compression format which support 24-bit color images. The resulting images will be larger, but with zero compression artifacts (meaning, razor sharp text and beautiful images).

Be wary of your minimum supported browsers. The old ones don't support PNG, although I don't know how old is "old".

Brad Wilson (
Monday, June 23, 2003

Just save the cap's using JPG with no compresson. You may want to check the settings in the graphics program you're using or change graphics programs if you can't change the settings.
Monday, June 23, 2003

You can't save a JPEG that a normal web browser can use without compression.  There will always be compression.

One thing you might consider is taking the picture as a 24 bit image and then dither it down to a GIF file.

Flamebait Sr.
Monday, June 23, 2003

I use a program called HyperSnap-DX for all my screen shot needs, and I've never had any trouble with its compression on full color images.

Tim Lara
Monday, June 23, 2003

FYI - If you decide to go the PNG route, and you have transparent backgrounds, Internet explorer 5.5 and higher has a known bug and does not display the transparent portion correctly.  There is a work around published that involves calling a javascript function to preprocess your images... here is a link:

Tom Davies
Monday, June 23, 2003

The alpha channel issue with PNG display in IE, while annoying, is not likely to be an issue for screenshots inserted into HTML.

PNG has been well supported since the 4.0 browser days. 

I'd use them in your situation unless the software you are documenting is specifically meant to be used by the "Real Old Computer User" demographic... those running non-upgraded Windows 95 or less.

Mister Fancypants
Monday, June 23, 2003

You can get decent screen shots with a little JPEG compression, and they'll be much faster to load. See for examples.

Frederik Slijkerman
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

I'm using ImageOptimizer ( for taking all my screenshots. It converts the screesnhot bmp's to the neat and small png's. It can also resize and cut them, works like a charm, really.

Evgeny Goldin
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

When I need GIFs I use Corel PhotoPaint to convert 24-bit color to 8-bit color using an "Optimized" palette. It will figure out the ideal 256 colors to make the image look good. If you have an image with lots of shades of red, you'll get a lot of red in the palette. For most images it's hard to distinguish between optimized 8 bit and 24 bit.

That said, I've pretty much 100% switched to PNGs.

Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Jasc PaintShop Pro 7 or 8 work wonders, too.

I used them to convert 24bit images to 8bit images with little visible color loss.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

For shots I care about, I grab with the printscreen button, then paste into Photoshop.  In Photoshop, I resize, possibly sharpen and otherwise adjust the image.  Then I compress with Adobe ImageReady, which gets better results than just Photoshop's "Save for Web".  If there's a lot of photographic stuff, shadows or gradients use .jpeg.  For simple vector shapes, use .gif (rule of thumb).

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

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