Weekly Computer Tip # 31
14 September 2003

taking a snapshot of your screen

Sometimes, when you want somebody's advice on something that is happening with your computer, the easiest thing is to show them rather than trying to remember what, for instance, the error message was.

Did you know ...

You can capture an image of your screen and paste it in, for example, Microsoft Word for printing.

Here's how:

  1. Open the image you want to copy on your screen.
  2. Press the PrtSc (or Print Screen) key to capture the entire screen or just the currently active window (like an error message) by pressing ALT + PrtSc. (The PrtSc key is found above your numeric keypad.)
  3. Launch Word as normal.
  4. Choose the Edit menu and select Paste. (Alternatively, press CTRL + V.)

You can resize the picture by selecting it and pointing to the lower-right corner of the picture. The mouse pointer will appear as a double-headed arrow when it is properly positioned. Press and hold down the mouse button, and drag the picture to the preferred size. Then release the mouse button.

If you want just a small part of a screen you can edit your picture in Microsoft Paint.

Here's how:

  1. Capture the image as described in steps 1 and 2 above.
  2. Launch Paint from the Start Menu > Programs > Accessories > Paint.
  3. Choose the Edit menu and select Paste (or press CTRL + V). If you get a message saying "the image in the clipboard is larger than the bitmap" click Yes to enlarge the bitmap.
  4. In the toolbox on the left hand side of the screen, click the dotted rectangle to copy and paste a rectangular area.
  5. Click and drag a box around the area that you want to cut out of the print screen. The selected area will have a black broken line around it.
  6. Choose the Edit menu and select Copy (or press CTRL + C) to copy the selected area back to the clipboard. Once copied the selected image can be pasted into, say, your Word document and resized as described in the first section.