#BlogJune 15 – Things I wish I knew earlier 1. Snipping Tool

I once helped a student put a couple of different screenshots onto a page by using the Print Screen key and pasting them into a word document. They were amazed. “It’s my final year of uni and I only just learned about this!” They said. “I’d been printing things out and gluing them and photocopying them… argh, what a waste of time!”

I’ve started a little series, “Things I wish I knew earlier”, sharing recent discoveries of life hacks, shortcuts, or just normal ways of doing things that I’ve been doing the hard way for no reason…

Snipping Tool

I only learned about Windows’ Snipping Tool last year.

In case you don’t know about it: it’s a really easy way to screen capture. Open Snipping Tool and drag a box over a section of the screen that you want to save. From there you can easily save it as a png, gif or jpg, directly email it to someone, or add highlighting and pen lines before saving.

It’s part of Windows Vista and onwards. Macs have Command-Shift-4, which allows you to draw a box and when you release it the png is saved to your desktop. I think they had that functionality before Microsoft.

snipdemo

The above demo ironically captured in the most complex way possible (screen capture > video > gif) because the one thing Snipping Tool cannot snip is itself.

The long way I used to do it was use the Print Screen key, open Photoshop or Paint, paste as a new document, crop as required, and possibly draw boxes with a yellow border and transparent background colour around important things to highlight them. Then I’d have to save as both a photoshop file and a jpg. NOT ANYMORE!

I learnt this tip from a colleague and proceeded to pass it on to anyone else who would listen. SO convenient.

The only downside is the jpgs are not top quality. If you need high resolution, the photoshop method may be the best. But for most purposes – capturing an error message, demonstrating procedures, etc – it is totally fine.

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3 Comments

  1. Greenshot is a free I think open source screen capture tool for windows. It adds in some editing and sharing capabilities. Uses the print screen key. Well worth a look.

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