LightShot: A Free Screenshot Program for Windows & Mac

Posted on May 29, 2014 | Updated on June 13, 2023

Designers frequently need to do screenshots, whether when sharing a mockup of a website with a client or comparing several designs against each other to find the best. But using the print screen button doesn’t always give you what you want. Sometimes designers crave a more advanced option that offers more than just a single-shot option.

For those people, enter LightShot. This free screenshot program can be used with either Windows or Mac, and it offers a lot of options beyond the basics. Here’s a review of what they are and why you may or may not like the program.

How It Works

Like the regular screenshot option that most computers offer, you hit print screen to get a screen grab. But with LightShot, the screen gets covered by a dark shadow. You can move the overlay around — sort of like a cropping tool — to cover the area that you would like to capture.

You’ll need to save the image to the LightShot server in order to use the editing tool, which runs through your browser. This offers many editing options similar to PhotoShop; this tool will suprise you with all its options.

LightShot makes it easy to share these images. Simply email the web link to anyone you’d like to look at it.

Advantages for Designers

I found that there are a number of advantages to this tool for designers, including:

  • It’s very simple to use
  • Images can be printed to connected devices
  • The images captured are very high-quality
  • It’s free
  • It runs in the background and uses few system resources

I think my favorite feature, though, is the ability to share images directly to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. This is especially useful when I’m just kicking around ideas and want to get input, or when I’m designing something for fun and want to share.

As with all programs, there are a few drawbacks, too, including:

  • No freehand tool to cut out a specific shape you’d like to capture
  • Memory usage rises with each shot taken
  • There’s no way to easily upload images to Google Drive
  • It lacks a restart option

When to Use LightShot

I find that LightShot is most useful for quick communication with clients. Sometimes you just want to make sure that you are on the same page as the company you are designing for, but you don’t have the time for a full-fledged meeting. The ability to directly email a link to the client can ensure you’re both envisioning the same thing. I like the social media capabilities, which have become more common in recent years. However, it’s not the best option if you want to be able to send only select bits that have been cut out with a freehand tool.

I’d recommend this tool for designers who communicate back and forth with clients and want a quick way to touch base.

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.

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