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Here are some screen capture tips for Windows computers


Q: I have a dual display setup and pressing the print screen button will get everything on both screens. Is there no option to capture what is on a screen?

A: Getting something off your screen has a variety of uses but is especially useful if you want someone’s help with an error message. Instead of trying to read a bunch of technical numbers and letters, getting exactly what’s on your screen and emailing it can save time and frustration for both parties.

The ‘Print Screen’ button has been on the Windows keyboard since the beginning and will capture everything. It can also be shortened to something like PrntScrn, PrtSc or PrtScn in the upper right of the main keyboard section of laptops.

If you want to capture the active window, whether it’s full screen or a small window on any of your displays, press the ‘Alt’ key with the print screen key for a selection taking.

In both cases, anything available is temporarily stored in the Windows clipboard. To apply what is retrieved, simply press ‘Ctrl+V’ to paste it into any program or an email message. You can also use the mouse to right-click and select ‘Paste’.

Snipping Tool

Microsoft introduced a more useful way to get what you want on your Windows Vista screen in the early 2000s.

Instead of just capturing the entire screen or an active window, the Snipping Tool allows you to choose exactly what you want to capture on any screen with your mouse.

To access it, press the Windows Logo key + Shift + S, which should gray out your entire screen. A toolbar will appear in the top center of your main screen and your cursor will be a plus sign.

The default snipping mode is rectangular – move the cursor to the upper left corner of the section you want to capture and drag it to the lower right of the desired area.

If you release the mouse button, whatever you get will be saved to the clipboard and a small ‘Snipping Tool’ window will appear in the lower right corner of your screen.

As usual, you can paste what you’ve got into another program or email message by pressing Ctrl+V, but that’s not all you can do.

There are other redemption methods you can choose from including the free form if you have special needs.

Edit and Annotate

The nice thing about the Snipping Tool is that you don’t get hit with what you get. If the window in the lower right of the screen shows what you got, click it to open the editing tools.

If you select more on the screen, you can crop your capture, add manual annotations or use a yellow highlighter to capture attention on a specific part of the image.

Expand Your Clipboard

One more thing you can change is how your Windows clipboard works. Usually, it just keeps the last thing you got, but you can change that by studying Clipboard History.

To do this, click the search icon (magnifying glass in the bottom toolbar) and type ‘clipboard settings’ and flip the switch to ‘On’.

To activate clipboard history, you can access everything saved to your clipboard by pressing the Windows logo key + V.

Clipboard items are discarded when you turn off or restart your computer, so if you want to keep something you’ve got, be sure to save it via the Clipping Tool menu.

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