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Joe’s Guide to Free eLearning Tools: Jing May 26, 2009

Posted by jmullock in e-Learning Tools.

Item: Jing, Screen Capture & Video Capture

Category: Demo, Simulation Tools

This tool is a freeware offering by TechSmith, the makers of SnagIt (screen capture) and Camtasia (screen video capture) software.  You might want to think of it as a combined “light” version of these products.  There is even a Jing Pro version which–while not adding much in the way of additional functionality-provides the advantage of removing the Jing branding/logos from your recorded product.  Jing is available in versions for both the Windows and MAC OS X operating systems.

What it Does:

Jing allows you to easily capture “snapshots” of all or part of your computer screen and to annotate your screen capture with text and basic graphics.  The screen capture functionality allows you to create short clips with audio, but does not allow for on-screen annotations or much in the way of editing.  Think of it this way:  If Jing were a sitcom, it would be “filmed before a live studio audience”.  You can go back and do another take, but you can’t go to the editing room.

When to Use:

Jing is useful for any basic screen captures, and for short & basic video clips.  One limitation specifically noted by the manufacturer is that Jing video clips can’t be longer than five minutes.  Honestly, that’s a pretty reasonable limitation.  If you are presenting a technical “how-to” five minutes is a lot of viewing time for a given task.  Even if your topic requires more demonstration time, you may be better served (from a learning & education standpoint) by breaking your material down into chunks of less than five minutes each.  On the other hand, if you are trying to create a more narrative piece, you’ll be better served by a full-fledged video capture tool, such as Camtasia or Captivate.

Another plus related to using Jing is that it includes free hosting through Screencast.com (2 GB storage, 2 GB bandwidth/month).  If you don’t have ready access to a media server—and don’t want to post your material on YouTube—Screencast.com is a great way to be able to share your material quickly and easily.

NOTE:  From my personal experience, I would say that Jing is fine for screen captures, but the extra features in SnagIt are well worth the cost (~$50).  On the other hand, Jing may be everything you need for short informal video clips.  If nothing else, the price-point of Camtasia (~$299), Captivate (~$799; $299 upgrade), and similar programs mean that a thorough review of their free trial versions is warranted before making an investment.

How to get it:

http://www.jingproject.com/ provides links to download the current Windows and Mac versions, as well as FAQs and helpful tips on using the product.


Minimize the risk of accidentally installing malware or a virus onto your computer by using trusted download sites (such as CNET, etc.). It is also good practice to run an antivirus program (which may also be available for free through your company IT group or your personal Internet Service Provider).

Next Up: The search for a free (or even low-cost?) option for creating on-line quizzes…



1. Betsy Weber - May 26, 2009

Thanks for the Jing review! Much appreciated!

A Jing user, Heather James (hjames on Twitter) just posted her ‘Missing Manual’ for Jing that might help some users get up and running with Jing quickly – http://bit.ly/B6lxJ

And, we’re always looking for feedback. Feel free to share with us – http://blog.jingproject.com/

Betsy Weber, Chief Evangelist, TechSmith
Twitter: @betsyweber and @techsmith

2. Criminal Justice Degree Online - May 31, 2009

Jing is a great program, but I do love Camtasia for my video captures. No advertising, great panel of options, and other features allows me to make some of the best tutorials on the Web.

I feel Jing would be great for students, instructors, and individual entities in need of turning in a creative assignment or showing a visually stimulating class lecture.

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