Screenshots (or screen captures), are images copied straight from your computer screen. Many of the tips here at Worldstart include screenshots to offer a visual counterpart to the text. For example, if a tip is explaining how to adjust text size in a Word 2010 document, it might include a screenshot like the one below. The accompanying text would then explain that clicking on the arrow to the right of the text point size would bring up a list of different sizes. It might also mention that numbers can be entered into the field, to change the text to the desired size.
As you can see, the image complements the text, by showing exactly how the computer screen should appear.
Screenshots also provide an opportunity for people to better describe computer problems. Say you’re getting an error message, and would like to be able to clearly explain the error to someone. That explanation is much more effective, when an image is included.
Attempting to use invalid characters in a file name, brought up the error message below. If this error was causing me problems, I might send this image, along with an explanation, to someone at Worldstart for assistance.
To take a screenshot of an active window (the one currently selected), hold the Alt key, and hit the Print Screen key (this is often abbreviated as either Prnt Scrn, or Print Scrn). So, if your error message is the active window, just click Alt + Print Screen. You’ll find the Alt key on either side of the space bar, and the Print Screen key is generally located to the right of the F12 key, in the top row.
Once you’ve taken the screenshot, you can paste it into a document, an email, or an image editor. Pasting is done by either using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + V, by right clicking to bring up a Paste option in the menu, or by using the Paste option in a document’s Edit menu.
If you’d like to take a shot of everything on your computer screen, just click the Print Screen key alone. However, some versions of Windows require the Ctrl key to be held, along with the Print Screen key, for a full screenshot.
If your operating system is either Vista or Windows 7, there’s an added feature, called the Snipping Tool, which will allow you to select just what you want included in your screenshot.
To find the Snipping Tool, click Start, then Accessories. The Snipping Tool is in the Accessories folder.
Click on that and this little dialog box will pop up.
You then select an area of the screen you’d like to capture, and the Snipping Tool will offer you options about where and how to save the image.
Just go to File, then Save As, and you can choose a location, along with one of several file types. Once the file is saved, you can go to that location and open it, just as you would any other picture.
So, the next time you’re having a problem on your computer, and can’t quite figure out how to explain it, try taking some screenshots.