Getting All You Can out of Screenshots with Web Snapper

Back when I worked in quality assurance, good screenshotting applications that did anything more than what you could already do with Command+Shift+3 were few and far between. I ended up pasting together a lot of screenshots, wishing I could just hit a button and capture the whole webpage at one time.

Those days days are over. Web Snapper, with its range of tagging features and ability to snap an entire webpage, is a pretty useful tool to have. Add to that it’s multiple export formats, and is there anything this app can’t do? We’ll find out!

Snap to It!

It’s really simple to take a screenshot of an entire webpage in Web Snapper. First, make sure you have Web Snapper open, because you’re going to need the app going if we’re meant to get anywhere on this project. You have two ways to get the webpage’s URL into Web Snapper: drag the URL from the Address Bar onto Web Snapper, or select Open URL from the File menu and copy and paste it into the field.

Tip: If you’re dragging the URL onto Web Snapper, make sure you grab the favicon to the left of the “http://”!

After you input the URL, Web Snapper starts creating the screenshot.

After you input the URL, Web Snapper starts creating the screenshot.

There’s also a handy browser extension and bookmarklet you can install from the Web Snapper menu. With either of those, you won’t actually need to have Web Snapper open to start screenshotting or worry with all that URL dragging and copying. The extension is only for use with Safari, though, and the Web Snapper FAQ makes it clear the developers aren’t eager to add Chrome or Firefox support any time soon. The bookmarklet gets around that, though, but when I tried to install it from the Web Snapper menu, it bypassed my default browser and opened in Firefox. I’m a smart cookie and did eventually get everything squared away in Chrome, albeit with a few extra steps.

When you’ve got your browser set up, and Web Snapper takes a webpage screenshot, it’s not only getting what’s visible on your display, as you would get tapping Command+Shift+3 or Command+Shift+4, but it’s also grabbing everything you’d have to scroll to see, too. All of it ends up in one continuous file, more or less, depending on your preferences when you save.

You do have a few different formats to which you can save, but the default is PDF. With a PDF, you’ll have the choice of creating one continuous page or separate pages in a single document. Web Snapper also lets you choose, GIF, BMP, PNG, TIFF, etc., to export your screenshot, but of course those aren’t going to support multipage files, so you’ll just get one giant image.

There's lots you can do when you're exporting, including choosing a new filetype.

There’s lots you can do when you’re exporting, including choosing a new filetype.

When you’re saving your screenshot, there are a few options on offer from Web Snapper you may find handy. You can choose to include the original URL, add headers and footer, create your own tags, and compose notes, all to be included in the final screenshot file. If you just want to save images from a page or need to read an article later, some of this may be extraneous, but when I was doing quality assurance on live websites I absolutely needed the URL on each screenshot I made, and the ability to add headers and footers, along with notes and tags, would have been phenomenal.

Things That Didn’t Work

I had a great time screenshotting entire webpages as multipage and single page documents. I was screenshotting everything. And then I hit on a webpage that didn’t look right in the PDF. All the text was cut off on the right and I couldn’t read any of it. I tried again, and then it happened on another page. Web Snapper was cutting off the right side of the webpage.

This by no means happened on every page I tried, and it seemed to happen more on blogs than elsewhere. I’m assuming it was a problem with themes, that Web Snapper didn’t like the themes it was was looking at. Still, it was a big disappointment, and the screenshots I got from the affected pages weren’t usable at all.

Oh no! Web Snapper wouldn't play nice with Sparrow.

Oh no! Web Snapper wouldn’t play nice with Sparrow.

Another issue I ran into was the buttons on the Web Snapper interface itself. I should be able to email my screenshot right from the app, but I guess that only works if I’m using Mail as my default email program. It’s possible it would have worked had I been using any other application than Sparrow, my preferred application, or had the Gmail web app set as my default, but I couldn’t find anything in the FAQ or support section on the developer’s website to back that up.

To the right of the email button is the magnifying glass/Finder button that should locate my new screenshot in Finder. It never once did that. I tried sticking my screenshots all over the place, thinking Web Snapper was refusing out of some anthropomorphic insistence that my requests for it to find things for me on my otherwise empty Desktop were acts of laziness on my part, and it was going to make me work for it. So I put the screenshots in Downloads and in Documents, anything starting with a D, but no luck. That little button never worked.

You can switch a lot of stuff up in your preferences, too, including the default filetype and export settings.

You can switch a lot of stuff up in your preferences, too, including the default filetype and export settings.

Conclusion

Where Web Snapper worked, it worked really well. I got really good looking screenshots I could easily control. The interface is uncluttered and a breeze to use. With the Safari extension and bookmarklets for everything else, it really is so simple to make full screenshots of entire webpages.

There didn’t seem to be a workaround for the sites that would be cut off in the final screenshot, though, and if you really needed a screenshot of one of those sites, you’d have to either paste it together out of lots of Command+Shift+3 images or find another app. Which is unfortunate, since Web Snapper is otherwise so nice to work with.

I loved the ability to add notes, tags, and headers/footers. I could easily choose how my screenshot was output, and whether it was multipage or not, if I went with a PDF. There is a lot of good here, but there’s also a lot to think about before you buy the app.


Summary

Make full webpage screenshots with lots of output options. Be careful it doesn't cut off your text, though.

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  • Graffig

    For a few years now I’ve been using LittleSnapper by the Realmac guys down in sunny Brighton – cannot fault it – was sad to see associated ember disappear though.

  • http://www.tastyapps.com/websnapper/ Jean Le Clerc

    Thank you very much for the review! I’m the lead developer of Web Snapper here at TastyApps.com, and I wanted to discuss the “Things that did not work” section, if I may.

    1. Truncated pages: that can be a few different things, most of which are out of our control, unfortunately. One possibility is that the site was not coded for a “paper-sized” screen, so when you try and save the site within the width a paper page, he text just “bleeds” ou of it. If that’s the se, you can see the same thing happening in you browser if you reduce the width of your browser window. Saving without pagination in these cases should work, though.

    Another possibility for the truncation is poorly coded HTML – unbalanced HTML tags or the likes. That sometimes just doesn’t print well, because the html rendering engine makes guesses about the layout that are, sometimes, wrong. There’s unfortunately nothing you or I can do here: the web master of that site needs to fix his page.

    Finally, another possibility is dynamic content. There is no fully reliable way for Web Snapper to know when a page is fully loaded when some of its content is inserted dynamically. Web Snapper tries its best to guess, but sometimes it just takes the snapshot too quickly, and the dynamic content has not fully loaded yet. In these case, or in fact as a general fallback when things don’t quite look all right in your snaps, you can open-up the Web Snapper mini web browser and snap the page pretty much as you see it. To do so, once the URL’s been added to the Web Snapper window, click on the blue link just below the URL’s title in the queue window. This will open up Web Snapper’s internal web browser so you can resize the window’s width, or wait for everything to load, etc… and then take the snapshot, using the camera button in the browser’s toolbar.

    2. Email: that feature uses the one way to do complex inter-application communications, that is, AppleScript. (and even that is slowly going the way of the Dodo with Apple’s new security features in Mac OS X.8) So to be able to send attachments to your favorite mail program, we need it to be AppleScriptable… And then we need to know about it, so we can add support for it in Web Snapper. (there are just so many, we couldn’t code everything down out of the box; we do support Apple Mail, Entourage, and then Mailplane and Eudora because of users requests in the past) The good news here is that I just checked and Sparrow is AppleScriptable – so I’ve added a ticket in our features requests database to add support for it in a future version.

    3. Finally, the Finder magnifying glass button bug: I’m not quite sure what that’s all about, honestly, as the button works fine for me and thousand others. So I’m wondering if there’s some kind of conflict on your Mac that we should know about. I’d really appreciate it if you could help me hunt this bug down, one-on-one, so we can fix this for others who might have a similar set-up to yours. If you are interested, could you please contact me directly, and we’ll figure this out together?

    Thank you again for a very fair review of our application – and I hope to hear from you soon!

    Jean.

  • jansch

    Hit the link in the first screenshot (http://mac.appstorm.net). A preview window will pop up which is resizable. So you can resize it to a size which will not cut off the right side of the page. Then capture the page.
    ;)

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