Snagit (Windows): Images Are Blurry or Fuzzy

Problem

The image quality appears to be blurry or fuzzy.

Solution

Images in Snagit are clear. However, there are three things that can cause image quality problems:

  • Scaling the capture in Snagit.
  • Scaling the image in the application that is displaying the image (et. Microsoft Word)
  • Using a lossy image file format

Scaling Image

If the image is scaled to a smaller dimension, the image quality will degrade. This will occur when you scale the image in Snagit or in the application that is displaying the image. For example, if you insert the image into a Word document and the image is scaled, the quality will degrade.

Why does scaling cause image quality degradation? Imagine that you transferred your screen capture onto a tile floor comprised of many very small tiles. If you wished to reduce the size of the floor by 50%, you could remove every other tile and then slide the remaining tiles back together again. The problem occurs when some of the tiles that you removed were colored tiles that comprise the content of the image. If there was writing in the image, some of the tiles that comprised characters might be removed. The "dot" over an "i" for example might have been on one of the tiles that you removed or portions of the top curve in an "e" might now be gone. This results in broken characters, jagged lines, and an overall fuzzy appearance of the image.

This is the same type of thing that happens when you scale an image. Computer images are comprised of pixels rather than tiles but the effect is the same. When you remove pixels to scale the image some of those pixels that are removed are a part of the image. The more you scale the image, the greater the degradation of the image quality.

Scaling an Image in Another Application

If you place a screen capture into another application like a PowerPoint slide or Microsoft Word, make sure that the application is configured to display the image at 100%. In other applications, the image will suffer the same image quality degradation that would occur if you scaled the image in Snagit.

If you plan on using an application like Word, PDF, or the Printer (printer-friendly outputs) and want to change the size of the image, use Snagit to change the DPI settings.

Snagit Capture

  • Select Effects > Image Resolution.

Snagit Editor

  • Select File > Image > Resize Image > Advanced.

For example, changing the DPI from the default of 96 to 160 will create a smaller image when printed, outputted to Word, or to a PDF file.  However, the effect will be much clearer than if you had resized within the Snagit editor directly.

Use a Lossy File Format

Different image file formats such as a JPG use a compression algorithm to make the image have a smaller file size. Some compression algorithms are called lossy because they sacrifice image quality for the sake of compression.

JPG is a lossy file format. You will notice artifacts around characters that look like little dots or smudges. To preserve quality, choose a different, lossless file format such as BMP, PNG, or TIF.