Don’t you hate it when you contact us for tech support with a strange issue, and then you can’t recreate it? Don’t feel bad. It happens all the time, even to us. Sometimes those rarely occurring issues can’t be fixed unless you get some photographic evidence of what’s going on. This quick guide will show you how to take screenshots of your desktop.
There are plenty of reasons you may want to take a screenshot besides to show tech support that random computer problem that plagues your workstation every full moon. You can capture portions of your screen and put them into documents, walk clients through getting to certain areas of your website, or document what you are seeing during a webinar.
You’ll notice on your keyboard, towards the top right, above the Insert Key (usually) is a key that says PrtScn or Print. It’s a little misleading; these days that key doesn’t typically do anything with your printer (older operating systems were a little different). In Windows, pressing that key takes a screenshot of your entire desktop. Everything you can see on your monitor(s) gets captured and sent to the clipboard.
The clipboard is where data is stored temporarily when you do a Cut, Copy, or Paste. When you copy text (or image data or any other type of data) it is stored on the clipboard, and pasting retrieves that data.
To take a screenshot, just press your Print or PrtScn key, and open up an application like Microsoft Word, OneNote, Outlook, or MS Paint and press CTRL+V to paste the image in. You’ll then be able to save the file and share it.
Remember, this method will take a screenshot of EVERYTHING you see on your screen (or screens). If you want to just take a screenshot of a particular application or window, click somewhere in that window and press Alt+PrtScn. This will only take an image of that particular window. You would paste it in and save it the same way.
Using Microsoft OneNote
If you have OneNote, one of the coolest features is the ability to take great screenshots. By default, the command is Windows Key +S. This will gray out your entire screen. With your mouse, drag a box around the area you want to take a snapshot of, and it will automatically paste itself into OneNote. From there you can save it and share it with others.
Awesome Screenshot is a Firefox and Chrome addon that lets you take and share screenshots right from your web browser. It won’t work on any other part of your screen, just your web browser, but it has some cool annotation tools so you can circle and draw attention to specific areas. Go to www.awesomescreenshot.com and install the addon, and right-click inside your browser and click Awesome Screenshot to get started. From there you can share the screenshot online or save it locally.
Next time you have a strange issue pop up that is hard to recreate when one of our technicians is remoted into your PC, take a screenshot and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org