Wednesday, September 06, 2017

How to Capture the Screen Using Screenshots

From websites that block the ability to print, to procedural documents, to simply not having a printer handy, the ability to take screenshots can be extremely effective. A great example of how this becomes helpful is when placing online orders. Some websites send confirmation emails instantly. Others come hours or days later. Inconsistencies like this can leave you wondering if you will get a confirmation at all. Most of the time this is not necessary, but if you need it for your records or need to follow up with an issue later, it is better to have the information.

On another note, printing can be costly and inconvenient. Also, if you are a mobile worker or on vacation, a printer might not be available the moment you need it. This is when knowing how to capture screenshots becomes a valuable tool.

How to Capture the Screen Using Screenshots

Capturing the screen by taking screenshots can be accomplished in two main ways using built-in keyboard shortcuts. 

Capturing the entire screen 

Capturing the entire screen is helpful when:
  • Multiple windows with important information are open
  • You are trying to compare items side by side
  • You have more than one monitor and want to capture multiple monitors
To capture the entire screen or screens, press the Print Screen button, or Control + Print Screen buttons at the same time. The print screen button is typically located above the Insert button on the keyboard. NOTE: If the functions of the F keys are reversed, you may need to press the Fn key with the print screen button.

Although it will appear as if nothing has happened when taking a screenshot, the image is temporarily being stored on the clipboard. Paste the image into a document or email by pressing the control + v key to paste the screen capture. When pasted into a document, the document can be saved as a digital receipt or record and filed accordingly. When pasted into an email, the sent email retains the copy of the screenshot and can be accessed later if necessary.

Capturing only the active window

Capturing only the active window is extremely handy because it allows you to capture a single element or idea without needing to crop an image. This is especially helpful when the images, or screen captures, being taken represent steps of a project. The active window is also a time saver when it is a small window on the desktop and would require large amounts of cropping.

To capture only the active window, press the Control + Alt + Print Screen buttons at the same time. 

Using the exact same desktop as above, the following is what is captured when using the control + alt + print screen keyboard shortcut: 

As you can see, capturing only the active window neatly captures the entirety of the most recent active window without cropping or extra work.

Taking screenshots is a tool that can be useful in many situations once the strength of it is understood. Whether it is to capture a receipt from an online order, to retain something that cannot be printed, to keep digital records, or to document a process, screen captures are very effective. Knowing how to capture the entire desktop and all active windows, as well as only the active window, saves time and makes the process much more effective.

As always, knowing all the options available to the tools we use every day can make the difference in how much we get done and how accomplished we feel!

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