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All About Screen Shots

Most computer users will want to take a "screen shot" or "screen capture" at one point or another. Screen shots are helpful when you need to show another person exactly what is displaying on your screen. Here at Tribute they are essential to our Support department. We frequently ask our customers to send us a screen shot when they encounter a problem. Here are some tips on taking better screen shots.

The Simple Way: Use The Print Screen Key

All Windows users can take a screen shot by pressing the "Print Screen" (PrtScn) key on the keyboard. This copies the entire desktop image to the Windows clipboard. This image can then be pasted (CTRL + V) into an email message or a Word document. It can also be pasted into a graphics program for editing.

Even Better: Use ALT + Print Screen

Often it is better to take a screen shot of a single program window, instead of the entire screen. To do this, click on the window to make sure it is "active", then hold down the ALT key while you press the PrtScn key. This will copy only the active window to the clipboard.

Windows Vista and Windows 7 Snipping Tool

If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, you can use the built-in "Snipping Tool" to take a screen shot of just a portion of your desktop. Click here for instructions on using the Snipping Tool.

CTRL + C on a Dialog Box

Sometimes it is just as effective to copy the text of a dialog box or error message, instead of copying a picture of the dialog box. To do this, make sure the dialog box is the active window, then hold down the CTRL key as you press the C key. This will copy the text portion of the dialog box to the clipboard as regular text.

Using Microsoft Paint for Editing Screen Shots

The Microsoft Paint program is included free with Windows. You can use this program to do simple editing on the screen shots you take. Click here for instructions on using Paint.

Other Screen Shot Tools

IrfanView is a free image viewer and editor for Windows.

Jing is a free tool for recording screen shots and videos and instantly sharing them via email or web.

SnagIt is a popular commercial screen shot program with many useful features if you regularly use screen shots in your communications. We have been using SnagIt at Tribute for several years.

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