Fastest way to get a screenshot attached to a new gmail message?
September 9, 2008 12:04 AM   Subscribe

Is there a one-click way I can 1. press a key combo shortcut 2. select a rectangular area of my screen 3. snap a screenshot of that 4. immediately get that screenshot attached to a new gmail message ?

#4 seems to be the tricky bit - particularly since Gmail is not a "program" I can send screen cap output to. I do a lot of screen-snapping and emailing daily. A simpler way to do all this would save me quite a bit of time. Getting something attached to Gmail seems to necessarily involve saving it as a file and going through a file-browse dialog box. Faster way out there?

MUST work in Windows. Would be great if it worked in Windows and Mac.

Bonus points if the method includes a way to quickly get multiple screenshots attached to one gmail message!
posted by scarabic to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You can get rid of the file browse dialog step with DragDropUpload, which you could perhaps extend to accept clipboard graphics as well as the clipboard text it already handles.
posted by flabdablet at 2:06 AM on September 9, 2008

I think your best bet would be to set up pop3 access on your gmail account. Then you can use any email program that supports command-line arguments (Thunderbird?). Saving the clipboard image to a file can be taken care of by irfanview, also from the command line.

So I guess you need a screenshot program that's a little more advanced than the PrintScreen button. Windows' own free Snipping Tool might do the trick, though that's only for Tablet PCs and Vista, as far as I can tell. Actually, snipping tool might be able to do everything you want all by itself. Otherwise, perhaps something like Snippy might do the trick.

A batch file could be useful to chain the commands together. Feel free to write a followup if you want more help.
posted by alexei at 2:17 AM on September 9, 2008

If you're going to go the local email client route, don't use POP3. Gmail has supported IMAP for a good while now, and it's really much, much better.
posted by flabdablet at 2:25 AM on September 9, 2008

Actually, you don't need a full blown local email client. SendEmail looks like a better fit if you're going to do this with a script.
posted by flabdablet at 2:32 AM on September 9, 2008

Have you tried Ubiquity in Firefox?
Would work within Firefox, but not for other applications. It's new and has some interesting functionality.
posted by arcticseal at 6:25 AM on September 9, 2008

For Windows, set up your Gmail account as an IMAP email account in any program (maybe you have Outlook), and then purchase and install SnagIt. You can set up capture profiles to send your image via email either as an attachment or in the body in the email. It will automatically compose a new message with the image you've just captured.

For OS X, I'd look into Skitch although I'm not certain it offers exactly the same functionality.
posted by kathryn at 7:18 AM on September 9, 2008

re: steps 1-3, keying Alt-Print Screen snaps a screenshot of only the active window. No help on step 4 though.
posted by grateful at 7:26 AM on September 9, 2008

You're not going to be able to use the same method on Windows & Mac.

On Mac OS X, Control-Command-Shift-4 will give you a crosshair and copy the selected area to the clipboard. Then you can paste the image into a new Mail message, assuming you've set up your mail client to access your Gmail account.

Alternatively, you can press Command-Shift-4 to do the same thing, but it will save the image to your desktop instead of the clipboard. You can then drag the image to the Mail icon to create a new message.

If you're capturing a whole window, press spacebar after you get the crosshair. The cursor will change to a camera, and you can click on any window to capture it.
posted by designbot at 7:54 AM on September 9, 2008

On the Mac you might be able to use Applescript to glue the standard screen capture functionality to a web browser to send something to gmail.
posted by hattifattener at 7:56 AM on September 9, 2008

Best answer: Interesting request... Here's a solution I just hacked together (Windows only, but it's totally FREE. Probably a Mac equivalent with a little Googling):

1. Download FastStone Capture - the poor man's SnagIt (that link is the portable version, which is freeware)
2. Extract to a folder (i.e. - C:\FSCapture) and open FScapture.exe
3. You'll notice a little "FastStone Capture" toolbar pop up on your screen. There is a little drop-down tool that lets you choose the default "Send To" location for a screen capture. Choose "To Email". This will send any capture to your default mail client, which is probably Outlook or something.
4. Instead of using some goofy Outlook IMAP setup, we'll use a program called gAttach! to force Gmail to be your system's default mail handler. This makes any "Send To > Email" action in Windows go to a new Gmail draft message, including Right-Click > Send To on files in Windows.
5. Install gAttach! and configure its settings. You can either let it authenticate for you (supply the password), or if you're the paranoid sort, tell it to use your default browser to authenticate, assuming you leave your session logged in. You can also play with the default draft options, etc on the Preferences tab. I have everything checked except for #2, the Basic HTML option.
6. When you want to make a screencap, either use the little square capture icon on the FastStone toolbar and drag/select, or use the keyboard shortcuts you've defined in the FastStone settings. When you've made your selection/screen cap, an email preview box will open. Just select the default filetype to use (i.e. - JPG), set the quality/name, and press "Send".

A gAttach toolbar will appear briefly, loading the draft, and then your web browser will open a gMail window with the draft message created, and the screenshot attached. Voila!

It's really a two-click solution: Select the screenshot and press "Send"!

Let me know if you have any questions with the set up, it's really simple...
posted by sprocket87 at 9:04 AM on September 9, 2008 [3 favorites]

You can paste a clipboard image into a "rich" email in gmail. Of course, that's embedding it in an html email instead of simply attaching a file...

Surprisingly, this did not work on the Mac - I got a broken image. But it probably would on Windows.
posted by O9scar at 12:45 PM on September 9, 2008

Re: O9scar:

You can't paste an individual clipboard image [on Mac or Windows] into a Gmail message. You can copy/paste rich text, including images, if you drag-select, say, a snippet of text & image from a web page. But you cannot copy/paste an actual image (including a screen cap) - you'll just get the broken link.

Try it if you like... go to any web page with an image and start drag-selecting the paragraph surrounding the image - you should see the image get a shaded selection area over it if you do it right (depending on your browser, of course). You can copy/paste that into Gmail, but you cannot right-click > "copy" and paste into Gmail.
posted by sprocket87 at 1:22 PM on September 9, 2008

Response by poster: Nice suggestion on gattach, sprocket87. That little thing is the glue I was looking for. I like FastStone, too. It truly is the poor man's SnagIt. I would use SnagIt but the scrolling feature stopped working reliably for me in the newest version. FastStone looks pretty much as good.

Lots of handy tools here, actually... thanks for all the suggestions!
posted by scarabic at 2:45 PM on September 9, 2008

No problem. Glad it did the trick!
posted by sprocket87 at 2:50 PM on September 9, 2008

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