Unfortunately, unpredicted software errors which are highly dangerous for the whole working process are quite frequent in the workflows of big companies. When they happen, not only a very quick but also a qualitative technical response is required. Remote access to the person’s computer is not always the best solution in such cases as it consumes a lot of worker’s time. When the occurred error can be reproduced, busy employees often turn to much more effective way – with the help of specific tools they record the actions which caused this error – we usually call this “step-to-reproduce”. Let’s walk through two of such troubleshooting programs and afterwards you will be able to decide which one meets your requirements. For our study, we found tools with the quite different functionalities. Which one to choose – this is up to you to decide! The best criteria here – working pace of your company and your particular needs.

StepShot Steps Recorder
Task IT-documentation, manuals, visuals, troubleshooting, assistance, presentations, articles creating Troubleshooting and assistance
Potential Users ERP Consultants, IT support, IT Operation specialists and any other types of workflows Busy employees of various workflows without special skills
Types of Capturing
  • Multiple steps capture – every click of the mouse is a new screenshot in a row (screen, window, region and smart capturing mode – adds step stamps automatically depending on the clicks)
  • Single capture – takes a picture from the selected area
Multiple capturing –  takes a picture of the screen
OS Versions ios icon-windows_os-svg
Efficiency (physical memory usage after taking the same amount of screenshots) ≈80 Mb  ≈30 Mb
Mouse pointer visibility Highlighted, invisible, normal, left click, right click, replaceable (move it like an object) Normal
Sharing destination (exporting)
Hotkeys

Available; variable (anything convenient for you considering keyboard facilities)

Available; partially variable (you can choose from existing compilations)

Publishing  sharepoint_2013_logoconfluence_logo_landingwordpresslogos5_logo  n/a
Picture editing tools Frames, lines, arrows, shapes, text, picture edges, step stamps, polyline, blur, cropping, highlight and more  n/a
Text Features

Inside the picture, outside the picture (you can add some information in the specific gap and it will automatically turn into text under the picture in document)

Comments on the picture
Interface  Has similarity with Office, simple for either beginners or advanced users  Compact, simple, in a form of a small dialog box for either beginners or advanced users
Support Email / Phone call or even call-back if you ask Microsoft Office Support
Templates for exporting Create any template to export your document n/a
Inner Library tick-305245_960_720 n/a
Pricing Free trial 14 days, 29$ (monthly or annually) Free, built into Windows

This is high time to sum up the results of our research:

As we could see from the table, these tools quite differ in terms of features they offer, so we definitely cannot consider them rivals! Some may even call StepShot older brother of Steps Recorder, the latter demonstrating much more maturity in its functionality.Our aim here is to show you their main strengths and weaknesses and define the cases where each of the tools brings the biggest value:

Steps Recorder:
1. …being a free built-in Windows tool with extremely simple interface, it is much more likely that employees without special technical skills will choose it for quick steps reproducing;

2. …is the best option for those who don’t require using such kind of tool on a daily basis;

3. … would be the best choice for the companies which are simply not ready to spend money on professional and qualitative tools.

BUT:

1. Not focused on a big number of readers – the absence of sharing possibility (for example publish it as a guide on such platforms as Confluence or SharePoint for the users who will face the same problem in the future) to give access to the document to more than one person easily…

2. Cannot be used for internal or external documentation of the company – the set of standard settings decreases the level of document’s professionalism and makes it less presentable – the automatically added description of every image cannot be changed, you can only insert some comments inside of the picture. The program also adds some blocks of extra text in the beginning and the end of the document which cannot be deleted. You should keep in mind that such pieces of materials cannot be used for internal documentation.

3. Limitations in editing – it offers very limited editing opportunities and after the recording is stopped no editing is possible. You will have to start from the beginning if there are some changes to be done.

StepShot:

1. It is oriented for multiple use, providing a huge variety of editing possibilities to make the document look according to your needs;

2. The Inner Library which is presented by Articles (set of screenshot-based steps) and Manuals (set of articles) saved in your personal workspace in StepShot allows you to reuse some parts of the guides for similar workflows description or continue working with them. You are also able to save the previously taken screenshots to a folder on your desktop.

3. Troubleshooting is not the only purpose of StepShot. It is also widely used for technical documentation (step-by-step guides, tutorials and manuals) for ramp-up, support, consulting, development and other purposes.

BUT:

1. There is no free version – you have to subscribe to the service. This fact may stop people who really are in hurry or don’t find it vital at that point of time. Let’s face it – often people tend to look for easy ways!

2. Most efficient for only particular target audience – the program is aimed for professional usage, so novices and uncomfortable computer users may experience difficulties while reproducing some trivial errors.

We believe that you have found this study useful enough and sincerely hope that this information will help you make the best choice! Don’t waste any minute and experience the performance and productivity boost right away!

Since you are reading this article, the task of troubleshooting is familiar to you.

In consequence, you might want to try StepShot – an outstanding tool for quick producing of step-by-step help articles. 

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