How do I grab a screen shot / capture in Windows 7?
I'm writing a research report on Microsoft Windows and need to be able to take screen captures or grabs and include them in the document. I know that "print screen" is supposed to accomplish that, but I'm just not sure how it works. Can you explain how to take a screen capture in MS Windows 7, please?
As someone who spends a lot of time on a Macintosh system where capturing the screen to a file is as easy as a three key combination (Command-Shift-3) and capturing a selection or subset of a screen is Command-Shift-4, I'm always amazed that there isn't a similar capability in Windows that would make it braindead simple to save what you're seeing on the screen to a file. There just isn't.
On the other hand, with a little bit of effort, it's quite possible to capture what's on your Windows screen and drop it into a graphics editor, then take that image and either crop it, resize it or simply save it as a file on your hard drive. Then you can email it to someone, incorporate it into a document, whatever.
The trick is to understand the PRTSCR button on your keyboard. Yup, the one that seems to accomplish absolutely nothing when you press it. Turns out that it does actually do something: it takes a copy of what's on your screen and saves it in the copy/paste buffer, meaning that you could then, for example, paste the image directly into a Microsoft Powerpoint presentation.
More interestingly, when combined with the slick Microsoft Paint program, you can also quite easily paste the image into the app, tweak it as desired, and save it to your disk.
Let me show you how it's done...
First off, look on your keyboard, you'll doubtless find a key similar to:
See what we want? It's labeled "Insert", but in smaller type it says "PrtScr". Since it's the smaller type, it means I'm going to need to use a two-key sequence of Function + the key, so in this case it'd be Function+PrtScr.
Press these keys on your computer and nothing happens.
But something has happened: a copy of your screen has now been dumped into the copy/paste buffer.
To see it, we'll launch Microsoft Paint, and the easiest way to do that is to go to the START menu:
See that box on the lower left that says "Search programs and files"? Click on it and type in "paint":
At this point you can click on the word "Paint" or, since it's a unique program name, you can also more easily simply press Return or Enter after typing in "paint" and the program will launch directly.
When started, though, there's not much to see in MS Paint:
On the top left click on "Paste" and, like magic, a copy of what was on the screen when you pressed Function-PrtScr shows up:
At this point you can use the crop tool, the resize tool, or otherwise hack and slash at the image. Or you can simply click on the little floppy icon on the top left when you're ready to save the image to disk (or press Ctrl-S, actually). When you do, a window pops up as usual:
Take note of where you're going to save the file, then give it a memorable name and click "Save". Done. You just took a screen shot, edited it, and saved it to your hard disk. Not too bad.
Now, a handy shortcut. If you think you're going to be doing this a lot, when you haeve Paint running, right-click on the icon on the menu bar and check out what's shown:
If you "pin" the application to the menu bar, the icon will always be available without you having to worry about typing "paint" into the start menu!
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