Sunday, March 3, 2013

Getting to Know: Screenshots in Windows

As someone who is often asked to help with computer issues, it is often very difficult to help with the problem without actually being able to see it happen.  Knowing was causes the issues and seeing what results are key in determining a course of action.  This post is guided towards those who often need help, but aren't always sure how to explain the problem.  One way to give better descriptions of the problem is to use screenshots.

There is a little used key on the top right area of the keyboard that is labeled "Print Scrn".  This obviously stands for print screen.  Pressing this key will result in no immediate action - you won't see anything blink, nothing will change, and you'll be wondering if you actually did it correctly.  What happens is the screenshot is placed on the clipboard, a background area in the Windows environment that stores anything that is copied or cut.  Opening up paint or a document will paste the screen shot.

By opening it in a document - you can save the document and send it as an attachment to somebody via email or other means to show them.  In addition - if you have Microsoft PowerPoint, Publisher, or the Paint program, you can actually save the pasted screenshot as an image to attach or use elsewhere.  Those three programs will also allow you to crop out areas of the screen that you want to see.  For instance, here is a cropped screenshot that I took of this screen.

This technique can also be very useful when trying to provide a written tutorial of how to do something on the computer.  I use this a lot.  Windows Vista and Windows 7 did come prepackaged with a Snipping Tool program that makes this process a lot simpler.

In either case, taking screen shots is a really useful technique for the visual learners out there.  Any further questions, do not hesitate to post a comment!

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