Screeny: A Beautifully Simple Screen Recording Utility

There is quite a bit of screenshot functionality built right into OS X. Using global shortcuts, you can grab the entire screen, a specific area or even a specific window and place it either on your desktop or into your clipboard. Also, with QuickTime, you now have the ability to record everything on your screen to a simple movie.

Despite all this functionality, there is definitely room for improvement. Apps like LittleSnapper and Screenium give you tons of professional functionality, but will cost you a whopping $30. So where’s the happy medium of an affordable utility that still packs plenty of great features? Screeny attempts to do just that. Read on to see how it fares.

Screeny Controls

Interestingly enough, Screeny doesn’t seem like it’s trying to replace the default screenshot functionality in OS X. You can’t simply select a window to grab and you can’t grab images to the clipboard. Instead, it focuses on improving the way you take shots of select portions of the screen with a simple set of controls.


Screeny Controls

As you can see in the image above, there are three sections to the Screeny controls. The first is a set of two buttons that allows you to choose whether you want to snap an image or record a screencast.

The fields at the bottom allow you to quickly enter a preset size for the snap area. This is immensely helpful and is probably my favorite feature in the app. AppStorm reviews like this one always require me to take screenshots at 620px wide so it’s very helpful to immediately be able to set the box to this size. This is much easier than trying to nail precise dimensions in a default OS X screengrab.

The middle section of the Screeny Controls allows you to choose a preset size rather than entering your own. In addition to six specific pixel dimension presets, you’ll also find an option to grab the entire screen.


Using a Preset Size

Snapping an Image

When you want to snap an image of the screen, hit ⌘⇧C to bring up the controls and the preview box shown below (⌘⇧2 takes the screenshot). The transparency of this box can be set in the app preferences.


Snapping an Image

In addition to selecting a size from the dropdown menu or entering one into the fields manually, you can also use the controls on the preview box to resize the screeshot area before you snap.

Having an area that you can adjust live on all sides is far superior to the “draw a box” method that OS X implements by default. This gives you much more control and makes fine tuning easy.

Another thing that I really like is that you can move and interact with the windows on your screen even while the screenshot controls are up. This allows you to make adjustments to the composition on the fly without exiting Screeny.

Once you’re ready to go, simply hit the screenshot button and the file will be saved to your desktop. You can change this location to another folder in the preference menu.

Recording a Screencast

To record a screencast, follow the exact same steps as for a screenshot, only this time hit the large record button instead.

It’s really great to be able to only record a specific portion of your screen. This not only helps focus your viewers to the right content, it limits the output file size.

Once you hit the record button, the Screeny controls will disappear and a box will appear on the screen to show you the area of the screen that is being recorded.


Recording a Screencast

Utilizing the Screeny menu bar options, you can start and stop the screencast at any time in addition to accessing other controls and preferences.


Menu Bar Options

Once you’re done recording, the movie file will automatically appear on your desktop. Screeny boasts lossless quality screencasts at a higher frame rate that QuickTime so if you’re concerned about quality, you can’t go wrong here.

Worth a Download?

If you work on your computer and regularly utilize screenshots and screencasts, Screeny is definitely worth a download. At $14.99, it’s not amazingly cheap but the app makes up for it in production quality.

For screencasts, the functionality in Screeny is simple, effective and clearly better than what you get from QuickTime. For screenshots, there are admittedly a few improvements that could be made. I’d love to see the option to create my own reusable preset sizes, the lack of a copy to clipboard option is significant and some control over the output file type would definitely be nice.

The developer promises that Cloud App and Quixly integration are coming soon in addition to Lion support so you can definitely expect to see plenty of improvements soon.


Overall, I’m quite impressed with Screeny. It’s one of those apps that successfully pulls off a minimal approach in a really slick way that feels just about perfect rather than lacking.

If you want a feature-rich utility that will conform to your every whim and completely change the way you work, Screeny and anything else in its price range are likely not it. However, if you want a nice little boost to the built-in OS X functionality for under $15, you should definitely give Screeny a shot.


An attractive, simple and effective utility for taking screenshots and recording screencasts. Not the most powerful option around but a significant upgrade to the built-in functionality of OS X.