A 'screenshot' or 'capture' is a still, digital image, or 'snapshot' of what
appears on all or part of a computer screen. There is also software that can
capture a sequence of mouse
movements and screen activity in a movie to be played back with a Microsoft
Media, Flash, or QuickTime Player, however, this article limits it's
scope to single static
Why take a screenshot?
you work at a computer, having the knowledge
take a screenshot
quickly and easily can be very useful.
you've written an e-book.
present that e-book on your website, you'll
need a screenshot of how it looks. Perhaps the
software you've just bought doesn't perform
in the way
it should. Being able to take a screenshot
as it happens might not only help the
developers of the software diagnose the problem,
but also provide clear
is not working as it should.
If you work with images on a
computer, taking a quick screenshot can
be more appropriate than simply saving
an image. You
may want to zoom in to a particular
area of an image, or perhaps take a still
picture of a video or web cam sequence. These
are just a few of the many practical uses of
your screen at a particular moment.
Taking Screenshots with Windows XP
Creating a simple screenshot using Windows is
very simple, follow the steps below:
the window you
to record (this may involve running a program).
down the Alt key and press the Prt Scr key
(on most keyboards this is to the right of
the F12 key and above the Insert key).
Microsoft Paint (Start -> All Programs
-> Accessories -> Paint).
Edit -> Paste from the menu.
that to a .gif or .jpg file.
best file formats to save screenshots are as
a .jpg or .gif. Bitmaps (.bmp)
large in comparison (often as much
as twenty times as large) and are therefore
are good for images with gradients
of colours, like photos. .gifs produce
but are far better suited to
images with few colour variations. Make sure
saved images to ensure they provide
the quality and level of detail you require. You'll
also often be able to select a 'quality
%' when saving to jpg. This allows you
to reduce the file size further, but
there's a pay off in loss of quality.
Don't go below 80% as you'll loose detail.
Try for 90% in general.
are more flexible and powerful ways you can
take screenshots. For example, MWSnap is a
freeware program available as a download at
has five snapping modes. You can snap the
full desktop, a window, a definable fixed
size rectangle, or a particular area of
the screen by using your mouse and guidelines.
This can significantly shorten the time
you require to tidy up the screenshot.
screen capture program you use, make sure as
a minimum it supports the following file formats:
BMP, JPG, TIFF, PNG and GIF formats, and if
possible, with selected colour
depth and quality
settings. These are standard image formats
that will be easily recognized when you want to
import the images to other programs, show
them on the Internet, or email them (again,
you'll want to generally use .gifs and .jpgs).
will allow screenshots to be taken on an active
window (the method of saving a screenshot using
Windows that's described above uses 'hotkeys'),
and you'll also want to be able to easily print
you'll need to look out for in a reasonable
freeware screen capture program is a zoom
tool for magnifying selected parts of the screen,
and a ruler
for measuring screen objects lengths. A
colour picker showing screen colours with
separated RGB parts would also be useful. MWSnap
has them all.
are more sophisticated commercial screenshot
programs which allow you to take more complex
image on the left for example shows
a paper tear, a fade to edge, and a shadow
effect on a
of the top left corner of Microsoft Paint.
All these effects and more can be achieved
with a more sophisticated application.
ability to take a simple screenshot should
be part of everyone's basic computer skill-base.
There's no doubt at some time in the not too
distant future you'll need to click those keys
to save that shot.