Taking a Screenshot on Various Windows Operating Systems

Blog » Taking a Screenshot on Various Windows Operating Systems

Posted on 01 Feb 2012 13:30

You might have created a wonderful looking PowerPoint presentation that you wanted to take a snapshot of, or perhaps you just want to show off how clean and organized your computer's workspace is. Regardless of the reason, you may have wanted to capture a screenshot of a certain window, or maybe even the entire desktop. There are several different ways to take a screenshot on a Windows computer, and many of these methods will work across various platforms such as Windows ME, XP, 2000, Vista, and 7.

Taking a screenshot with a Windows based computer is not as complicated as it sounds Take a look at your keyboard, or more specifically around the upper right corner. Do you notice the key that says something like "Prt Sc" or "Prnt Scrn", or have you already seen it before and wondered to yourself what it could possibly do? Pressing the key might not produce exciting results; it will seem like nothing has happened, but in fact, this button stands for "Print Screen," and its sole purpose is to take a screenshot of your Windows desktop.

There are two different types of screenshots that you can take using the Print Screen key: you can either capture the entire desktop, or you can take a screenshot of a specific window. If you want to take a picture of the entire desktop, simply organize the screen however you want it to look, and once you are satisfied with it, press the Print Screen key. This will take a snapshot of whatever is on the screen (including the taskbar and any open windows you may have), and copy the image to your clipboard.
Now that the screen capture part has happened, let's save the image. Open up a graphics program of your choice. Because of its simplicity and ease of use, I prefer to use plain old Microsoft Paint. Once the program is open, either press down CTRL + V at the same time to paste, or click on Edit > Paste. You will immediately see the screenshot of your entire desktop appear in the graphics program. From here, you have the option of cropping the image, which means to trim out any excess or unwanted image, or leaving it untouched. Once you have settled on the perfect screenshot, save it just as you would any other image and name it whatever you think is appropriate.
If you are taking a screenshot of a specific window, however, it involves just one other step. Let's say you want to take a snapshot of just a single window instead of the whole desktop, like a game menu, instant message window or a web page in your browser. Follow the same steps as you would for taking a regular screenshot, but instead of just pressing only the Print Screen key, you are going to press Alt + Print Screen at the same time while you have the desired window selected.

It's Easiest With Windows Vista and 7

If you have either Windows Vista or 7 installed as your computer's operating system, taking a screenshot is a whole lot easier than the previous method. There is a great feature on these systems called the Snipping Tool, and there are two ways to access it. The longest way is by pressing your Start button, clicking on All Programs, then Accessories. In that submenu you will find the Snipping Tool. The faster way to access the Snipping Tool is by simply clicking the Start button and typing in "Snipping" into the search box, where Snipping Tool will automatically and quickly come up.
When you click on the program, it will automatically dim the entire screen and provide you with three options: New, Cancel and Options. Additionally, there are simple instructions that read "Drag the cursor around the area you want to capture." That's basically all there is to it. Your mouse will turn into a cursor that you can press and hold, then drag over the screen, and it will automatically take a snapshot of whatever is inside the cursor's selection. Once you let go of the mouse button, it will instantly turn it into an image which you can then save.
These two methods are the best ways to take a screenshot on a Windows computer, and once you get the motions memorized, taking screenshots will be a breeze and you will be able to capture them instantly.

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