The art of the screenshot

A picture truly is worth a thousand words

Have you ever used your Print Screen button to take a picture of what you see on your computer? If you haven’t you are missing out on a handy way to share what you see on your screen.

If you are asking yourself, “Why would I ever want to do that?” you’ve probably never had to call anyone for technical support on your computer. ( Aren’t you lucky!)

Sometimes showing someone exactly what you see on your screen is the quickest and clearest way to communicate.

Here are a few good ideas about how you can use screenshots:

  • Capture error messages
  • Document procedures
  • Enhance training documents
  • Take a snapshot of a website
  • Include any of the above in a PowerPoint presentation
  • The possibilities are virtually endless

How does it work?

When you press the Print Screen key on your keyboard, a picture of exactly what appears on your computer is saved to the Windows Clipboard. From there you can past this picture into an email, a Word document, a PowerPoint slide, or just about anywhere else.

To capture the entire screen:

1. Press the Print Screen key

Sometimes, depending on your keyboard, it may be abbreviated as Prt Scr.

2. Open the email or document that you want to paste your screenshot into.

3. Using your keyboard, press Ctrl + V

This will Paste the screenshot from the clipboard into your email or document.

Warning: You can only have one item on the clipboard at a time. So be sure to paste your screenshot somewhere before you copy anything else or you will lose it.

Using an ALT-ernative method:

Now, for those who’ve made it far, I have another cool little feature of the Windows Print Screen Key. Pressing these keys …

Alt +Print Screen

…will take a screenshot of the currently selected window, not the entire screen like the normal screenshot function.

This allows you to target that specific window and nothing else. No more cropping those screenshots to grab the content you were after!

Print Screen example:

Print Screen example

ALT + Print Screen example:

ALT Print Screen example

Want more options?

If you need more options than this there are several more sophisticated applications that can capture items such as menus, text, objects, scrolling windows and other specific regions of your screen.

WinSnap is a good free alternative, while SnagIt probably has just about everything you’ll ever need in a screenshot tool for about $40.

Or use some of the search tipsfrom a previous edition to find the one that suites you the best.

2 thoughts on “The art of the screenshot

  1. Jeannie Wray

    You can also get the rectangle and copy the area that you want and paste wherever you want, after you do a screen print.

  2. Pingback: #6 NetMeeting « Work Smarter Not Harder

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