Quick Tips for Taking Screen Shots

If you use a computer, you have probably run into situations where you want to take a quick snapshot of an open window or even your whole desktop, to save or print out. An example of such a situation is when you get a pesky error message or a strange pop-up that you want to show to your computer consultant, but know that the message or pop-up might not be there when the computer tech is at your desk. Using some of the following quick and easy methods, you will be able to take a screen shot that you can save or to print for future reference.

If you are using a computer that has Windows, you already have built in screen shot capability. There are two ways that you can take a screen shot using Windows. You can simply press the print screen key that is commonly labeled PrtSc. This will take a screen shot of everything that is currently displayed on your screen. You can then open a variety of programs such as Microsoft Paint, Microsoft Word or even Adobe Photoshop to name a few, and paste the image into this program by using the Paste function in that application. This will copy the image of your desktop that you just took by clicking the Print Screen key, and paste it into the program of your choice. You can then edit, save, or even print this image.

The Print Screen function in Windows can also take a screen shot of the currently active Window. If you want to take a screen shot of a web page that is displayed in your web browser but not everything else on your screen, you can hold down the ALT key and press the Print Screen key. This will take a snap shot of the web browser only. You can then paste this image just like you would if you took a screen shot of the whole desktop and edit, save, or print it.

If you have a need to perform screen captures on a regular basis and want to streamline the process, there are a number of free and paid third party applications available. A favorite of mine is called PrintKey. The PrintKey program enhances the functionality of the Print Key button. Once installed, you click the Print Screen key and a window will open that will provide you with a number of options. You can save, edit, print and even e-mail the captured image just to name a few of the many options available. PrintKey can even be customized to perform a predefined task, such as printing or saving the image, every time you press the Print Key Button.

Of course, there are many other applications available that perform similar or more specific functions that can be installed to make everyday tasks much simpler. For more information on the built-in print screen functions of Windows, or to explore other third party options, it is best to contact your IT support group.

Ryan’s articles can also be seen in Berkshire Business News, published monthly by the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce.