We've mentioned ScreenSteps from Blue Mango Learning Systems before. A few times, actually. Version 2.7 is coming up quickly, and it's going to have some great new features. There's also a sale this week that I thought was worth mentioning, check the end of the post for details on that.
First, a recap. ScreenSteps is one of the best ways I've found to quickly create documentation for screen-based projects, whether it's company software, a CMS admin panel, or anything else you can document with screenshots. More recent versions of ScreenSteps can embed video, as well. You just snap a screenshot or screencast segment and add markup (arrows, highlights, sequence numbers, etc.) using the built-in tools. ScreenSteps handles creating lessons and manuals which can be templated and output to PDF, HTML, sent directly to a blog or wiki, or hosted online at ScreenSteps Live, where you can maintain a constantly-updated manual for company/client reference.
Version 2.7 of ScreenSteps desktop is going to have a couple of shiny new features. The first one I'll mention is aesthetic, but a welcome addition: drop shadows. Markup elements added to screenshots now have the option to include a drop shadow underneath them. This is not just better looking; it helps to call out the markup in a way that clearly distinguishes it from the screenshot itself. I got a chance to test this in private beta, and am pleasantly surprised at what a difference it makes.
The other new feature, and potentially a very useful one in many situations, is the ability to copy a lesson directly to the clipboard (video preview here), ostensibly with an email as a target, though the possibilities are a little wider than that. Blue Mango hopes to be able to open the beta to the public in the next few weeks so you can try it out for yourself.
Now, the sale. It's billed by Blue Mango as "The Sale that Goes Stale" and, as you might guess from the moniker, it decreases in value over the course of this week. Monday and Tuesday you can get 40% off of any purchase (including ScreenSteps Live accounts). On Wednesday it drops to a still-a-hefty-discount 30% savings. By Thursday it's down to 20%, and Friday, it's leftovers ... 10% off. Stop by the store to check prices on the desktop version ($39.95US-$79.95US, academic pricing available), and ScreenSteps live accounts ($19US/mo-$285/mo). Use the coupon THANKS at checkout to take advantage of the savings.