Using “Print Screen”

Tech Tips from InfoPathways

Print Screen - Capture an Image of Your Computer Screen

September 9, 2013 Visuals are often better descriptions than words. Print Screen is a wonderfully amazing tool that will make your life a lot easier as a computer user. With today's technology, you can capture an image of your entire monitor screen, you can "snip" a portion of an image to go along with verbiage, you can explain a computer issue by sharing a capture of a pop-up, and much more! Every keyboard looks a little different. Image 1, below, will help you locate your Print Screen button: keyboard Image 1. Print Screen buttons usually read “Print” or an abbreviated description such as “PrtScn”. So say something happens on your screen and an error window pops up, for example. You can hit the Print Screen button and the computer will save a copy of your screen to your computer’s clipboard memory. You will not see anything at this stage, because it is all happening in the background memory of your computer. Because it was the last item saved to the memory, you can move to a document window (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) or an email window, right-click and select “Paste”, and the image will appear. (The easiest way to paste is to use your keyboard by holding down “Ctrl” followed by “V”.)

Image 2. Image 3.

Image 2 (above, left), on the following page, is an example of print screening a monitor… see how it captures everything on the desktop screen, even the little icons on the bottom! That’s cool, but you don’t need all that stuff in the background in most cases... maybe you just need to capture one window or pop-up. By holding down the “Alt” key followed by the “Print Screen” key, you will capture the current, active or most-forward window (click on the window you want to capture an image of to bring it to the front first, then hit “Alt-PrtScn”). See in the example, Image 3 (above, right), the entire active window was captured, minus the unnecessary background. snippingFinally, if you only need to capture part of an image, Windows 7 has a super cool tool called “Snipping Tool”. Opening this tool/program will allow you to draw a window with your cursor around the area you want to capture in an image. Image 4 (right). shows this tool in action and Image 5 (below). shows the image captured. It allows the user to copy just the logo form the web page, rather than capturing an image of the entire browser window. This tool is great when you are unable to copy and paste an image. screen-capture

Image 5. Example of screen capture using the snipping tool
shows the ability to crop just a portion of the window.

Capturing a snapshot of your computer desktop can be useful for documenting a process, capturing the current state of data in a program (perhaps to an error message to a technician to aid in the process of troubleshooting a problem.

When snipping or copying images, please remember to respect copyrights.
Never use a found image unless you have written permission from the owner.

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