Continuing my series on making Hardcopy do just about everything you want, I present Part 2 of the walkthrough for Hardcopy. This will get into some more advanced topics, but increases the versatility of what Hardcopy can do. This will also incorporate any new things I’ve found (best practices) from working with individuals to configure Hardcopy for their environment.
In the previous entry, I covered the Printscreen and Alt+Printscreen and configuring them for the Screen and Active Window respectively. I’ve really become a fan of configuring Ctrl+Printscreen to use a rectangle selection. It trims down the image to exactly what you need, so it saves toner and in many instances increases the amount the image can be scaled.
Configure Ctrl+Printscreen for a rectangle selection:
With the Hardcopy window open, go to Settings, Functions…
Click the Ctrl+Printscreen button to configure it on the next screen. Select the radio button next to Rectangle and click Next.
Make any changes on the next two screens to configure the behavior of Ctrl+Printscreen. Since you’re directly choosing what you’d like a screenshot of, I choose to print directly to the printer without opening the Hardcopy window. On the next screen, I set it to Landscape since most images tend to be wider than they are tall. Just click finish.
Now take it for a test drive. Hold down Control and press the Printscreen button. You’ll notice your cursor disappears and is replaced by a set of cross-hairs. A vertical and horizontal line will cross your screen and where they intersect is your cursor. Simply center your crosshairs on one corner of what you’d like to capture then click-and-drag it to the opposite corner.
Hardcopy should open with a new image acquired of exactly what you just selected. This will help you trim down your screenshot to exactly what you want. Also, since the image is smaller if you print this image, Hardcopy will be able to scale the image larger so it is easier to read.
Increase the image size to enlarge your screenshots easily with a macro
To manage the ‘easily’ part, we’ll make this into a macro. That way it will run automatically every time you take a screenshot.
We’ll configure a new button to take care of this: Basically we’ll have a rectangle selection like we just made for Ctrl+Print Screen and we’ll add our macro in as well.
First thing we’ll need to do is record the macro. You simply have to have the macro recorder up, tell it to record, and then perform whatever action it is you want as a macro. In Hardcopy, go to Edit, Macro. A new window will open up.
We’ll need an image to work with to make our macro for the first time. Either grab a quick screenshot or go to File, New. Now with your image open, press the ‘Record’ button on the macro window. (Be sure to only do those actions that you want in your macro while you are recording or else they will be repeated each time the macro is run.)
While your Macro is being recorded, go to Image, Size -> Size…
This will open up a new window to adjust the size of the image. Move the vertical slider from 100% to 125% and hit Ok.
On the macro window, hit the ‘Stop Recording’ button and use the Save As to save this macro somewhere.
Now, let’s configure F10 to automatically implement our macro after using a rectangle selection and send the job straight to the printer.l
Go to the Settings, Functions… menu again. Click on the drop-down near the bottom of the window and choose F10.
After clicking F10, it will move to the next window. Choose Rectangle and click Next. Since we want this to print automatically, on this next window check the box next to ‘Print’ and choose from the drop-down the name of the printer you want it to be sent to and then click Next.
On the next screen, there is an option for selecting a Macro. Put a check in the box in front of Macro. An explorer window will pop-up. Browse to the .hcm file (the macro) you saved in earlier steps. After you select it, hit Ok. Then click finish on the Functions window.
Now whenever you press F10, it will:
+ Take a rectangular screenshot
+ Use your Macro to increase the size of the image to 125%
+ Print to the printer you selected
Decrease the margins on the print out
To increase the size of your print job and decrease the empty space on the borders you can reduce the margins. Go to Settings, Options… Under the ‘Margins’ selection, change the top, left, and right margins from their default values to lower numbers like ’10’ instead of ’25.’ This will increase the area that HardCopy can scale your image for the largest view.
Remove the text labels that accompany HardCopy prints by default
To remove the user name, computer name, and date from the print out go to Settings, Options…
Under the ‘Headings’ selection, there are checkboxes to include this information or other notes like the page number. Simply uncheck what you don’t want displayed and check what you want to show and hit Ok.
Increase the “brush size” or line width
You can use the drop-down at the bottom-left of the Hardcopy screen to change the line width. This will affect the size of lines drawn by the pencil, line, rectangle or circle tools to the left of the drop-down.
Insert a mouse arrow
When you take a screenshot, the cursor is not rendered in the final image. To insert a cursor into your image, click the toolbar button with the picture of the mouse arrow. This will now act as a stamp. The first place you click inside your image will insert the cursor.
Insert text, speech bubbles, arrows and other effects
Go to the Settings menu and put a check in front of Show Effects menu if there isn’t one already. This will add the Effects menu to the Menu Bar.
Go over to the Effects menu and choose a shape or effect that you would like to use. This will turn your cursor into a set of cross-hairs. Drag out the effect where you would like it to appear.
If you would like text to appear inside the effect, i.e. inside the speech bubble, you can click the text button on the toolbar and then drag the cross-hairs over your image where you want the text.
After you drag over where you want the text to be, a window will pop-up to configure the text you’re going to enter. You can specify your text, the font and size, and any effects to use. To use an effect, check the box in front of ‘Use effect’. This will open a drop-down as you can see in the screenshot below. Choose the effect you want and make any other changes you want and then hit Ok. Your text (and the effect if you chose one) will now appear in your image.
Copy your image to another application within Hardcopy
Hardcopy is a great screenshot application. It’s not so good at image editing however, if you can take the inserting text as any indication of that. Hardcopy does come with some functionality to overcome that weakness though. It makes the process of sharing images with other applications pretty easy (once it’s setup).
I prefer Paint.NET and used this feature from Hardcopy to easily implement text highlighting. You can copy your image into another running application. Paint.NET is just one example, but you can send it to pretty much any application that would accept pasting an image.
With Hardcopy and Paint.NET both open, take a window screenshot of Paint.NET. To do this, be actively viewing Paint.NET and press Alt+Print Screen. Switch back to Hardcopy if it didn’t switch back on its own. Now go to Settings, Options…
On the window that pops up, select Intern from the left-pane (or the Intern tab, if you’re looking at it in Classic style. By the way, go to the Show this tab to switch). After just taking the screenshot of Paint.NET, you’ll see some information at the bottom of the Intern screen under Last Class Name. For me, it starts with ‘WindowsForms’ and ends with ’34a’. Copy this text.
Still under Options, select the Copy to entry in the left pane (or tab). Give the application a descriptive name and paste in the information you copied above into the Class text box. Then hit Ok.
Now, you can highlight an area of your image with the rectangle select tool.
Then go to Edit, Copy to, and select Paint.NET. This will paste the image into Paint.NET, ready for editing. As you can see from the screenshot, you can also use ‘Copy to’ in order to send images to Word, Excel, or Powerpoint if you have them installed and open.
I think that is all that I have on the advanced functionality and configuration of Hardcopy, my preferred print screen utility.