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Taking a Screen Shot

A screen shot is a picture of what is on your computer screen, or a portion of what is on your screen.

Imagine you have a pesky error message that keeps popping up. Take a screen shot of it and email the image to someone who might help you understand it. If you find a valuable table of information on a website, take a screen shot of that information to preserve it for reference. If you see a great haircut on a website photo, take a screen shot of the person to show to your stylist.

How you take a screen shot varies from device to device and has become more simple with newer machines. I have listed below the directions for the most common computers, tablets, and smartphones. Scroll down to that which applies to you.

DESKTOP/LAPTOP COMPUTERS

Windows XP and Windows Vista (Home Basic Edition):

To capture your whole screen, click the Print Screen key (key in upper right of keyboard labeled “Prtscn”). To capture just your active window, hold down the Alt key while you click the Print Screen key. Your picture is stored in the Clipboard. Click Start > Accessories > Paint. In the Paint window, click Paste to place your image on the screen. Click File > Save As to name and store your image. Click Save.

Windows Vista (Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate) and Windows 7:

These operating systems include an accessory program called the “Snipping Tool.” Click the Start Button > All Programs > Accessories> Snipping Tool. Your screen will take on a gray color. Click in the upper left of the area you wish to capture and drag your cursor diagonally to the lower right of the screen. The selected area will not be gray. If you are not happy with the selection, click New and re-draw your selection. If you are happy with the selection, click Save, name your image, and choose where to store it.

Windows 8:

Hold down the “Windows” key and the “Prtscn” key at the same time. Your screen will dim for a second to let you know the picture of your screen has been taken. Your image will be stored in the Pictures folder under the Screenshot category.

Apple iMac and MacBooks:

To capture the whole screen, hold down the Command key, the Option key, and the number 3 key at the same time. You will hear what sounds like a camera shutter click. To capture only part of your screen, hold down the Command key, the Option key, and the number 4 key. Your cursor will become “crosshairs” and you can drag out a rectangle to define your screen shot area. When you let go of the mouse, you will hear the shutter sound to confirm the picture has been taken. The picture will go to your desktop and will be called “screen shot 2012-12-10 at 9:10:00am” (current date and time). From there you can rename and move it.

TABLETS

iPad:

Hold down the Home button and quickly press on the Power button (the timing takes some practice). The photo of your full screen will be saved in your Photo app.

Windows 8 Tablet (Surface, RT):

Press and hold the Windows Home and the Volume Down buttons at the same time. Your screenshot will be in your photos app.

Kindle Fire:

No built-in screenshot function exists in the Fire. There is a way to enable the feature but the process is quite involved and not for the faint of heart.

SMARTPHONES

iPhone:

Hold down the Home button and quickly press on the Power button (the timing takes some practice). The photo of your full screen will be saved in your Camera Roll (Photo app).

Windows Phones:

Beginning with the Windows Phone 8, you can take a screenshot by holding the Power button and then quickly pressing the Windows button on the front of phone. Your screenshot is stored in the Screenshots album (in Photos.).

Android Phones:

Android 4.0 and newer: press and hold the Volume Down and Power button at the same time. Earlier Android phones: press and hold the Home button then quickly press the Power button.

Once you have the image you wish, you can edit and email it like any other photograph.

One screen shot picture can literally save you 1,000 words … and a lot of frustration. Try it!