By my unofficial estimation, there are roughly a bajillion ways to grab screenshots of web pages. I’ve tried most of them, and in my very humble opinion as a citizen of the internet, none are as easy as Nimbus Capture.
Available for Chrome and Firefox, this free browser tool makes short work of screen grabs. But if there’s a single knock against it, it could be argued that, despite being free, there’s actually an almost—almost—overwhelming number of options. Here’s a look at some of the most essential ones.
Nimbus Capture works as an add-on to your web browser, so you’ll need to take half a minute or so to get it set up. You can swing by the site here and choose Chrome or Firefox from the big blue button in the middle of the page. Alternatively, you can download the Chrome extension directly here and the Firefox extension directly here. We’ll be looking at the Chrome version for this article, but the Firefox version should behave similarly.
Once you’ve got it installed, you’ll notice a blue N logo in the upper-right corner of your browser. Navigate to a web page you want to grab and click the N to start the capture process. We’ll go over the various options next.
Visible part of page
The first option, “Visible part of page”, is pretty much what it sounds like. You’ll be telling the tool to grab only what’s shown in the browser window. It won’t scroll up or down, left or right—what you see is what you’ll get. This is a great option if you need a specifically sized screen grab and you’ve got your browser window set up just how you like it.
Click it and you’ll get an initial preview of the image.
At this point, we’ve got a bunch of options up above the image for resizing it, marking it up, and otherwise editing it—some of which are free and some of which require the premium version of the app. I rarely use any of these, and I’d suggest that if the image looks good to you, just click the big blue “Done” button in the upper-right corner.
From there, it’s time to do something with the image, and again we’ve got several options. I almost always choose the second option in the list—”Save as Image”—which then downloads the image to wherever saved web browser images usually get downloaded on your machine.
That’s about it. We’ve now got a nice, tidy image of the visible part of whatever was in the web browser. Let’s take a look at some of the other options.
I overlooked this option for a while, but it’s now one of my favorites. “Capture fragment” scans the web page you’re on for little chunks of text, images, videos, ads, or whatever else it can find and lets you isolate and grab only those little sections with surgical precision.
Choose the option and then start hovering your mouse around the page. You can scroll up and down as well to hunt for other elements that aren’t yet in view. You’ll notice a black box popping up here and there.
Once you’ve found something you want, click your mouse button, and you’ll see the box turn blue along with options to edit, save, or cancel the grab. Click the big check mark, and it’ll save just that chunk.
You’ll notice here that I’ve isolated the video player in the sidebar. After clicking the check mark, the image can be downloaded directly. Here’s the result of capturing the video player fragment:
The next option lets you do a more manual version of this, so let’s take a look at that now.
If you’d like to grab a chunk of a web page like we did above but you’d like a little more control over it, select the third option down—”Selected area.”
If you’ve used other screen grabbing tools before, this option might be most familiar to you. It allows you to simply click and drag a box over whatever you’d like to grab, like so:
This is a great option if you need a precisely formatted image size. Notice in the upper-left of the capture area the width-by-height pixel count that changes as you manipulate the box. Once again, click the check mark to save the selected area to your computer.
Selected and scroll
This next option is very similar to the previous one, though this one lets you start capturing a chunk of the page that’s visible to you and then hold down your mouse button to scroll further down the page to grab additional content.
Notice above that the selection box is extending up toward the top of the article. Once you let go of the mouse button, you can scroll back up to check out the dimensions and resize the box to your liking.
This might be my favorite option of the bunch, even if it’s far from perfect. “Entire page” is pretty self-explanatory, and it’s great for grabbing complete web pages that you might need to chop up in a proper graphics editor or zoom and pan around in a video editing program.
Clicking the option auto-scrolls from the top of the page to the bottom, ideally grabbing everything in its wake.
As mentioned, it’s not perfect. Depending on the site, this option sometimes cuts out navigation bars or other elements. For those instances, sometimes the “Selected and Scroll” option works better, and sometimes you may need to manually snip header elements and then edit them in using whatever image editing software you use.
Free or paid?
There are a few paid versions of Nimbus Capture that start at $25 per year. I have paid for the Pro version, but I held out for a long time since the free version was so useful.
I ultimately ponied up because of its video recording feature, which required the paid version in order to convert what I’d captured into a more universally usable format. You may find that the free version is all you need—so try it out for a bit and see if it works for you.