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Please don't take a picture! -- How to take a screen capture


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Many times, you need to be able to show someone what is happening on your screen.  There is a much BETTER, way than getting out your cell phone and taking a picture of your computer monitor.  Many times those pictures lack the detail or are just plain unusable.  Instead, do it the right way.


It's called a 'Screen Shot' and it only takes a couple of keystrokes and about 1 minute in Paint.


First, determine if what you want to show involves your ENTIRE screen, or just a single window.  9 out of 10 times, you only need to show a window.  Click the title bar to make the Window 'Active' and then press (at the same time) ALT and Print Screen.  Sometimes the key is labeled 'prt scr' or the like.  If however you need the whole screen, press (at the same time) CTRL and Print Screen.  


Remember--> CTRL= Whole screen (or multiple screens), ALT=Active Window Only.


You now have a 'Screen Shot' sitting in your clipboard and all you need to do is save it.  Open Window's Paint -- usually found under Start/All Programs/Accessories/Paint.  Press CTRL V (or select Paste).  There is your screen shot.  Now, if you like, you can further edit it.  Perhaps you want to crop out something.  Go for it.


When you are ready, select File/Save As, or press the disk icon.  Give the picture a file name, and change the type to JPEG.  Changing the type is important, as it will reduce the size of the file - important if you are sending them into the help desk, or posting them here.


Voila.  Done.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sean let me know (thanks Sean!) there is an additional and even easier way starting in Windows 7.  It's called the 'Snipping Tool'.  It can be found in your start menu under Accessories [start/All Programs/Accessories/Snipping tool].


Once started, click and drag a rectangle around the portion of the screen you want to capture.  Once you stop drawing, you can then save the picture as a JPEG.  No need to paste to paint/etc. 

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