Using Native Image Capture Tools in Windows 7

October 13, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Older versions of Windows offered limited functionality when it came to taking a screengrab for use in a document or email. You were pretty much limited to the Print Screen button on your keyboard, next to the F12 key – a limitation that saw many ignore this method entirely in favour of third party tools.

However in Windows 7 screen capture has been made much easier with the Snipping Tool, a great feature that allows you to quickly and easily take a grab of any portion of any object or window on your desktop. This can then be used straightaway or manipulated in an image editing tool.

Alternatively, you might choose to email the image straight away, or include it in a document.

Snipping Tool

Available via  Start > All Programs > Accessories > Snipping Tool, this app will immediately activate, making the rest of the desktop opaque for  you to then select the section or window you wish to grab.

Snips are copied to the clipboard automatically (although this can be disabled in the Tools > Options screen) and you can use the email icon to send the snip either as an attachment or in the body of your message.  A pen, highlighter and eraser are also available for you to edit the snipped screen grab, useful if you wish to alert your reader’s attention to something.

Grabs can be saved in PNG, JPG or GIF format.

Windows 7 – Screen Capture with Print Screen

Print Screen remains a useful function in Windows 7 – screen capture is still important, after all. By pressing the Print Screen (or Prt Scn) key you can copy a grab of your desktop to the clipboard. This can then be pasted into an Office document or email by pressing CTRL+V; alternatively you can open Paint (Start > All Programs > Accessories > Paint) and press CTRL+V or Edit > Paste to edit the image in some way. If you have more advanced image editing tools such as Adobe Photoshop, you can also paste into here.

You don’t just have to grab the full desktop with Print Screen either – press ALT+PRINT SCREEN to copy the active window to the clipboard.

Manipulating Screen Grabs in Microsoft Paint

Once your screen grab or snip has been taken, you can also manipulate them in Paint. Full screen grabs in particular should be edited in this way. Paint isn’t the most effective image editor, but is suitable for manipulating and annotating grabs.

Go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > Paint to launch the utility – Windows 7 features a new version of the enduring Paint app, which features a new user interface and a few new options. You can use this to Rotate, Resize and Crop images or take sections of your screen grabs with the Select tool, while a variety of Brushes and Shapes can also be used to annotate your screen grab.

You might also opt to copy a portion of text and paste it into Paint – here, the text is converted into an image, and it is a simple task to annotate, highlight or manipulate the text using the provided tools.

Save options include JPG, BMP, PNG, GIF.

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