Operated by John-Riley Harper. Dedicated to archiving photography from Utah's underground scenes, as well as other personal projects.

Quick Public Screen Grabs

Today's chat programs, although they have done wonders to improve the speed of interchange, lack an essential ability. Communication occurs visually as well as through writing. I've often thought that chat programs need a simple way to send images of what you are looking at on the screen to your chat partner. One of the most frustrating things is trying to get someone else able to see EXACTLY what you are looking at. Say you want to show someone an article, but they needed to register and go through steps to see it. Or what if what you wanted to show required them to download software, install plugins, etc. I find this problem annoying when trying to communicate to less computer savvy people, but it can also make error-reporting much easier (show us exactly the error message you saw!). But the thing most everyone CAN do is click on links. I found my solution in the software utility, Macro Express.

What my script does is save a screen grab to a file, upload that file to an ftp server, and copy the url of the image to the clipboard. Then you can simply paste away, and the person on the other end of the communication line will be able to see exactly what it is you are talking about. The script may be extremely simple, mundane, and obvious for many of you, but I think it's a good example of how macro-express can be used fill software gaps.

What you need:

Screen-grabbing software - Everyone knows about print screen, but it seems overkill if you only want to show something specific. I use the built in screen grabber in Microsoft onenote, which allows a screen crop of whatever size and dimensions I wish. Pretty much any screen grab software will do.

An FTP server - Hopefully self-explanatory. Usually your web-hosting service allows for FTP uploads.

Macro Express - Self-exp as well.

What you do:

Create a new macro in macro express, copy the following code linked in the image below, then paste it into the scripting editor.

The scripting editor should appear like such. Boxes that you will need to customize are highlighted (customize your local folder, ftp server, username, password, etc.). Once that is done, you are good to go!


First you'll make a screen capture. Next, you'll hit the macro activation button. A prompt will ask you for a name. Then a status box will appear and let you know that the file is uploading. It will finish by telling you the url of the image which is copied to your clipboard, and then you can hit ok (you could always automate it to disappear, too, if you don't want this step). Now you can paste the image address wherever you wish.


The status box thing flickers because there doesn't seem to be a way to have it remain constant in macro express. If there's any way to make this look nicer, please let me know. And of course, if there are ways to make this script more streamlined or clean, I'd appreciate feedback.


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