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Screenshot Nirvana
How to Create Screenshots & Annotations with Xara Xtreme

Xara Xtreme is one of the most powerful general purpose graphics tools around. Manipulating screenshots, cropping, adding annotations and exporting (to the Web or Word or other applications) is a breeze in Xara Xtreme. Here's how:

(NOTE: This description applies to Xara Xtreme 3.2, it will vary slightly with older versions).

To grab the entire screen:

Press the Print Screen (Prt Scr) key (normally near the right end of the function key row)
Go into Xtreme and paste (Ctrl+V) and select 'bitmap'.
Tip for Laptop users: Most laptops have the PrtSc as a special function key, so you have to press the Fn key in combination with another, such as an F-key or the Ins key.

To grab just the current window:

Hold the Alt key and press Print Screen
Paste into Xtreme and select the 'bitmap' option.

To resize the screen image:

In the Selector Tool just resize the object as usual - either drag the corner resize handles or enter a % size in the InfoBar field.

To crop part of the grabbed screen:

There are several ways of doing this, but perhaps the easiest is:

Using the Rectangle Tool draw a rectangle over the region you want to crop
Hold Shift and click on the bitmap (the status line should show two objects selected)
Press Ctrl + 3 (this is a short-cut to the Intersect Shapes option).

To adjust the crop after you've cropped:

In the Selector Tool simply drag one of the side handles, and during the drag press the minus key on the numeric keypad. This is using a very little known feature of Xara Xtreme that lets you adjust the size of a shape without affecting the fill. The cropped bitmap is really just a bitmap fill inside the shape (the rectangle).

Now as you resize you are simply adjusting the size of the crop rectangle, and no longer affecting the fill. As you can see this is a 'live crop' in that the whole of the image is still present, so unlike a normal bitmap crop using most photo tools, this crop is non-destructive.

To reposition the bitmap inside the crop:

Go into the Fill Tool and just drag on the image while holding Shift. This adjusts the position of the fill inside the rectangle.

To export for use on the Web:

Select the File -> Export (or simply press Ctrl+Shift+E - (E for Export)) and select the PNG file type
In the Preview dialog select a Color Depth of True Color, and click Export.

Alternative settings that work very well for the Web are to select a Color Depth of 256 Colors. This will create a smaller, but slightly lower quality file. Alternatively export as a JPG file - this tends to be less good for most screenshots.

To place in Word or Outlook:

Simply select the image in Xara Xtreme and select Copy to place it on the clipboard
Go into Outlook and select Paste
To paste into Word, select the Paste Special option (not the normal Paste option) and select Windows Metafile.

Create Great Looking Annotations:

Using the Rectangle Tool draw a small rounded rectangle approximately the size of your required caption. Color it pale yellow (the easiest way to do this is to just click on the pale yellow patch on the Color Line).

In the Text Tool , drag across near the top of your caption rectangle, and type your caption. This creates a column of text

Draw a line from the caption to the point of interest. In the Shape Editor Tool , press the L key to go into straight line mode, now just click once at the start and once at the end position of your desired line
Set the line width to be something like 1 or 2 pixels
If you want to add an arrow head to the end of the line, open the Line Gallery, and the Arrowheads folder in the gallery. Then just double click on the 2nd column of arrowhead designs.

To give your caption a soft shadow:

Go into the Shadow Tool and just drag on the rounded rectangle with the caption in. Drag the shadow so it's slightly below and to the right of the caption. This has the effect of lifting the caption off the background.

To adjust your arrow:

Select the line
Go into the Shape Editor Tool (F4) and just drag on the ends of the line to re-position it.

To resize your caption rectangle:

Go into the Rectangle Tool, click the rectangle to select it, and drag on any corner point to resize. You will need to adjust the text column to match. See below.

To adjust your text position inside your caption:

To reposition the text, just drag it in the Selector Tool. Be careful to drag exactly on the text, or you'll move the rectangle behind it.
To adjust the width of the column, go into the Text Tool, click on the text and drag on the start or end of the column marker line.

To move the whole caption (rectangle and text):

If the text and rectangle are separate objects, just marquee select around both objects and then drag;

In the Selector Tool drag a rectangle to surround the caption rectangle and the text inside (see tip below). Then just drag on the rectangle. This will move both the text and rectangle.

Alternatively you can group the caption text and rectangle to make them easier to move together. To do this select both objects, as above, then press Ctrl+G to group them.

Note, once grouped, if you want to adjust the rectangle size you will need to do a select inside to select the rectangle. To do this just hold the Ctrl key down when clicking on the rectangle (holding Ctrl while clicking on objects selects them inside the group).

Tip: To marquee select objects without dragging the background: Hold down the Shift key when you start to drag out a marquee rectangle. This prevents the object under the initial mouse position from being dragged.

Tip: To make your text slightly sharper: If you're using the default 10pt Arial, in a column of text (the examples here use Arial Italic, 10pt), then the usual line spacing of 100% means that the lines are not quite on whole pixel coordinates, meaning that they can be slightly blurred. In the Text Tool, select the text and enter an exact pixel line spacing value, such as 14pix, into the Line Spacing field (it gets converted automatically to 10.5pt line spacing which is the same).

To copy the style of your caption or arrow:

Select the caption rectangle or arrow whose style you want to copy. Select Copy (Ctrl+C)
Select the object you want to paste this style onto. Select Paste Attributes (Ctrl+Shift+A). You can use this method to copy text styles, color, line styles - almost any style from one object to another.

A quick way to make a copy of your caption:

Select the whole caption (see marquee selection above) and then just drag the object using the right mouse button, not the normal left button.

How to grab a screenshot and include the mouse pointer:

The built-in method of grabbing the screen does not include the mouse pointer, which is usually what you want. So you have to use other software to grab a screen with the mouse pointer. It so happens that Xtreme Photo Designer, which is bundled with Xara Xtreme 3.2, has this ability.

Start MAGIX Xtreme Photo Designer from Programs -> Xara
Select File -> Screenshot.... The dialog has a checkbox option to include the mouse pointer. You can assign a key to actually take the screenshot, such as F9.
Once the screen has been grabbed and is showing in Photo Designer, just copy (Ctrl+C) and go back to Xara Xtreme and Paste (Ctrl+V).

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