How to capture your computer screen Print E-mail
Ever wished you could just send someone, perhaps support personnel, a capture of your computer screen, so they can see what you are looking at? Or to prepare an instructional guide for your office staff? Windows has built-in options for doing so easily.

Snipping Tool

The handiest option is the Snipping Tool built into Windows 7 or higher.  Tap Start, type snip and launch the snipping tool.  Use the pull-down menu on New to choose the full screen option.  Now simply close your screen shot that appears to save it as a PNG or GIF file.  (Note: When creating a screen shot for support, be sure to include both the background of your program window and any open sub-windows or error messages- full screen snips are handy for this, or one may use a window snip and select the background program window).  Now that you have your saved snip graphic, locate it on your hard drive and upload or email it as needed.

Print Screen

Both newer and older versions of Windows also have a Print Screen key for obtaining screen captures. The key may vary per keyboard (possibly abbreviated “PrtScn” or similar), but its standard position is in the upper right section next to the Break and Scroll Lock keys or near the Function (F1- F12) keys.  On smaller keyboards or laptops, one may have to also press a FN key along with the option to access.

Pressing Print Screen sends a snapshot or picture of your computer screen to the clipboard (the clipboard is an invisible holding area for content that is copied), where you can do more with it then simply printing. It’s similar when you copy something from a document and it goes to your clipboard waiting to be pasted in its final destination.

So how exactly do you get to see those Screen Captures or send them to someone else? Unlike snip which does it automatically, you next have to paste the image into Paint or another program that will handle images and then save it:
  • While the message or window is on screen, press the PrintScreen button on your keyboard. (On keyboards that have an F Lock or FN key, you may have to press F Lock first or hold FN at the same time.)
  • In windows, click Start > Run, type paint or mspaint and launch Paint, which comes with Windows.
  • In Paint, Edit > Paste in your screen capture (Ctrl+V may also be used to paste from the clipboard). You should now see the screen image.
  • Next use File > Save to a file you may share.  Use the “Save As Type” option in the file dialog to select appropriate format for sharing.
    • For emailing or uploading to a technician, we recommend saving in PNG or GIF format so it will be small and efficient to send.
    • For presentations or other purposes, you may prefer a different format. Be sure to name it appropriately and note where you save the file, so you can locate it easily.
  • You may now send this file to someone via email, use it in a presentation, create a little manual of screenshots showing how to perform a specific task, edit it further in a graphics program, and so on.
  • For example, to upload a screenshot to 3D Inspection System’s technical staff, use the "File Attachments" browse button at the bottom of the support ticket form to include the file you saved when you send your question. 
Here's a few other handy tips to note:
  • The clipboard can hold only one thing at a time. So to capture a series of screens, first paste whatever you stored before you use the Print Screen key again afterward.
  • Holding ALT key while pressing the Print Screen key will capture only the currently active window, rather than the entire screen. If you are sending a screen capture to a technician though, we recommend capturing the entire screen so they can see what type of windows you have loaded and other pertinent details.
  • You may use other editing tools in your graphics program to draw arrows, circle items, or add comments or text to your screenshot.
  • If you plan on sending or emailing your image to someone else, we don’t recommend pasting into Word or another specific program that your recipient may not have. Otherwise your recipient may not be able to easily receive or open the file type you send. But standard graphics like PNG, GIF, or JPG files should be no problem..
For most general screen capture needs, there's no need to buy anything extra.  Now you know how to use your built-in Windows features!


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