Introduction to the SharpCap User Interface

Upon starting SharpCap and dismissing the Tip of the Day message, the following screen appears:


The SharpCap main screen consists of seven permanent areas and one temporary area. 

The permanent areas are:

1.       Title Bar – shows the selected (active) camera (if any) and the default capture folder.

2.       Menu Bar – gives access to SharpCap functions.

3.       Tool Bar – gives quick access to tools frequently used for image capture.  When an image capture has completed a Notification Bar, giving save details, will appear below the Tool Bar.

4.       Capture Display Area – shows the image currently being captured by the selected camera.

5.       Camera Control Panel – gives access to all available controls for the selected camera.  Items displayed in this panel will vary depending on the type, model and level of support of the connected camera.

6.       Work Area – used as a display area by tools such as Image Histogram, Calculate Focus Score and Live Stack.

7.       Status Bar – gives ongoing information about frames captured/dropped and frame rate.  During a capture, a progress bar will appear at the right-hand end of the status bar.

The temporary area is:

1.       Notification Bar – appears below the Tool Bar upon completion of a Capture or Snapshot and provides a clickable link to go directly to the appropriate folder where the file has been stored.  The notification bar is also used to provide other information – a green notification bar indicates success; a yellow bar indicates a warning and an orange bar indicates an error has occurred.


Title Bar

The Title Bar shows the selected (active) camera and the default folder for saving image captures. 


If no camera is active, only the default folder for saving image captures is shown.


Menu Bar

The Menu Bar gives structured access to many aspects of SharpCap functionality.


Tool Bar

The Tool Bar gives easy access to a collection of facilities commonly used when performing an image capture.


From left to right, these are:

1.       Start Capture

2.       Quick Capture

3.       Stop Capture

4.       Pause

5.       Snapshot

6.       Live Stack

7.       Object Name

8.       Preview Effects (FX)

9.       FX Selection Area

10.   Reticule Overlays

11.   Zoom

12.   Image Histogram

13.   Calculate Focus Score

If the SharpCap window is not wide enough to accommodate all the tool icons, the Tool Bar will look like this with a down arrow at the right-hand end:


Click the down arrow to access the rest of the tool icons:


Capture Display Area

The Capture Display Area shows the view currently being seen by the active camera.


When a camera is selected in SharpCap (or SharpCap automatically selects a camera when it is started), SharpCap starts grabbing and displaying frames straight away.  SharpCap isn't saving these frames, just showing them on the screen.  Depending on the exposure length being used, the image may update many times per second or only once every few seconds (or even less frequently).  SharpCap will only save images after use of the Start Capture or Snapshot buttons.

Camera Control Panel

The capabilities and available controls of the active camera are displayed in the Camera Control Panel.   These controls are used to adjust camera settings such as exposure, resolution, colour balance and others.  The groups and controls displayed can vary depending on:

·         The manufacturer of the attached camera.

·         The model of camera (even from the same manufacturer)

See Camera Controls for a full description.  The controls are grouped logically and each group can be expanded/closed as required.


Work Area

The Work Area is the display area for the following tools:

·         Live Stack

·         Histogram

·         Polar Align

·         Focus Score






For each tool, the title bar of the panel can be used to drag the panel out of the main SharpCap form, for example to place it on a second monitor.

Status Bar

The Status bar at the bottom of the screen gives a constantly updated report on:

·         Frames captured

·         Frames dropped

·         Duration of capture

·         Capture speed, frames per second (fps)


When an image capture has been initiated, a progress bar is displayed at the right showing:

·         Frames completed

·         Frames remaining

·         Estimated finishing time