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Screen Capture for ALL Windows OSs - Vista (2007) to Windows 10 (2015)

Updated on September 5, 2015

What do you want to capture?

What do you need?
What do you need? | Source

Any screen capture falls in these categories:
1. Capture the entire screen;
2. Only capture the active window; or
3. Capture an area you specify.

1. CAPTURE ENTIRE SCREEN - 2 methods

There are two ways to capture the entire screen.

Print Screen key - somewhere at the top right of your keyboard
Print Screen key - somewhere at the top right of your keyboard | Source

a. PrntScr key

The tried, tested and oldest method for this purpose as far as I can tell, the PrntScr key has been around for at least a couple of decades.

This is a 1-step process - you simply press the 'PrntScrn' key.

Note: The captured image is saved to the Clipboard; you cannot press CTRL+V or Right-click and 'Paste' to save the capture directly as an image file in your folders at this stage, you can only paste the capture in an image-editing program like Paint.
From Paint, it can then be saved in a variety of formats, including .jpg, .bmp, or .gif.

Windows key - somewhere at the bottom left of your keyboard
Windows key - somewhere at the bottom left of your keyboard | Source

b. Windows key + PrntScr key

i. Press these two keys together.
ii. The entire screen dims for a moment to let you know it has worked.


The captured screen image is immediately saved as a .png file in your Screenshots folder (Libraries>Pictures>Screenshots).
You can now edit and use this image as you please.

Capture of my entire desktop
Capture of my entire desktop | Source

.

2. CAPTURE ONLY THE ACTIVE WINDOW

.

Alt keys - on either side of your Space bar
Alt keys - on either side of your Space bar | Source

Alt key + PrntScr key

The old PrntScr key to the rescue in a 1-step process again.
i. This time, hold down the ALT button and press PrntScr.

Like with method 1 above, You cannot press CTRL+V or Right-click and 'Paste' to save the capture directly as an image file in your folders at this stage, you can only paste the capture in an image-editing program like Paint.

Capture of an active window from my desktop
Capture of an active window from my desktop | Source

.


3. CAPTURE AN AREA OF CHOICE

.

Source

Windows Vista was the debut OS for a nifty little program called Snipping Tool, which comes with its own integrated image editor.
Search for Snipping Tool in Windows to open it.

Using Snipping Tool

Step1 - Click on the arrow beside 'New' to view the options.

The 4 options Snipping Tool offers you
The 4 options Snipping Tool offers you | Source
Looks like trees on an island... A free-form snip of my desktop seen above
Looks like trees on an island... A free-form snip of my desktop seen above | Source

a. Free-form Snip

Free-form Snip allows you to cut a piece of the screen in whatever shape you please.


b. Rectangular Snip

Rectangular Snip, as the name suggests, captures a rectangular area of the screen, the size of which you control using your mouse.

A Window Snip of an active window
A Window Snip of an active window | Source

c. Window Snip

c. Window Snip captures the active window on which you click.

A nice feature of this is that it will capture your entire taskbar with 1-click - no dragging the mouse required.

Entire taskbar captured with 1 click!
Entire taskbar captured with 1 click! | Source

d. Full-screen Snip captures the entire screen

No explanation necessary. Right...?


Step 2 - Use the in-built image editor
When you have completed your selection, the program immediately takes you into its image editor. Here, you can write and draw on the image using pens with highlighters and pens with different points and colors.
This is particularly useful for drawing attention to parts of the capture via arrows, highlights and text.

The editor opens automatically after you have taken your Snip...
The editor opens automatically after you have taken your Snip... | Source


Note: You will need to click on the Cancel button if you leave the Snipping Tool open before you can return to other programs.

Capture Screen options at a glance

(click column header to sort results)
   
Entire Screen  
Active Window  
Free-form  
Print Screen key
Yes
No
No
Windows Key + Print Screen
Yes
No
No
ALT + Print Screen
No
Yes
No
Windows Snipping Tool
Yes
Yes
Yes

Final Word

I started on HubPages 2 weeks ago, and this is my third technology-related Hub.

I have to say that Snipping Tool is the hands-down winner for anyone who wants to use basic screenshots with their Hubs.

That said, there are a variety of screen-capture tools available for free download all over the internet which have more features and advanced capabilities. GreenShot (http://getgreenshot.org) is a good example.

Just remember to screen any program that you download over the internet with an updated anti-virus program (Avira - https://www.avira.com/en/avira-free-antivirus - is a good free alternative for that).

Happy Capturing!

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