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Home > I-Guides > Screenshots
How to make a screenshot

A "screenshot" is a snapshot of what's on your computer's screen.

To create a screenshot follow these steps:

  1. The first step is to create the windows that you want to capture and leave them up on the screen.
  2. Just to the right of your keyboard, you should see three groups of keys.  The lower set of keys usually is a group of arrow keys.  Above that is usually a set of some six keys that are labeled "Insert," "Home," "Page Up," etc.  Above that should be three keys that have rather odd labels - like Pause/Break and ScrLk.  One of those keys should be labeled PrtScrn/SysRq. Pressing Alt-PrintScreen (Alt-PrtScrn) places an image of the frontmost window on the clipboard. Pressing PrintScreen by itself places an image of the entire desktop on the clipboard.
  3. If you press PrtScrn/SysRq, nothing will appear to have happened.  However, your computer just took a snapshot of its screen and stored that picture on its clipboard, much as it stores information that you cut and paste.
  4. Open MS-Paint. (From Start/Run, issue the command "mspaint".) Create a new empty image, and use Edit/Paste to bring in the screenshot you just took. (If the screenshot is smaller than the default Paint canvas, you will end up with white areas. Start over: create a new empty image, change its dimensions to 1x1, and Paste again. The canvas will grow for the Paste, but it doesn't shrink.)
  5. Use MS-Paint to Save As, using PNG as the file format (it is superior to all the rest).

Other Notes

  • On Vista (all editions) you can use Snipping Tool to capture a screen shot, or snip, of any object on your screen, and then annotate, save, or share the image. It is a screengrab application that is much better then Windows XP's measly Alt-PrintScreen. But the tool is difficult to find. But you can just type "Snipping Tool" in the search bar in the windows menu. The first time you run it it will ask if you want to add it to your quick launch bar.
  • Instead of MS Paint you could also use Word, or some other word processing program, you can paste the image into it.  You can then save the Word document and email it to us as an attachment.
  • You may also be able to paste the image directly into your email, depending on what type of email program you have.  (Microsoft Outlook can do this, for example.)
  • If you press Alt and the PrtScrn/SysRq keys together, the computer will take a snapshot of the currently active window ONLY.  This can save some space in a Word documentor in an email.

This works on all versions of Windows: Win95, Win98, WinME, WinNT  and Win2000, XP, 2003.

As you have seen, making screenshots is FREE. No external software is required. But there is some good freeware and shareware available that makes making screenshots even easier. If you need to take a web page screenshot, you can use the free 30-day trial version of iMacros for this.

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