How Do I Take a Screen Shot?

Nov 30, 2010


No doubt you’ve worked with technical support staff when you’ve had an error on your computer system. Often, error messages can contain a large amount of data and it’s not the easiest thing to relay over the phone.

At this point, tech support individuals will often tell you to take a screenshot and send it to them. This means, they want to see exactly all of the messages that are on your screen. How do you do this?

The first thing you’ll need to do is find the Print Screen key on your keyboard. It may be abbreviated as Prt Scr instead. The key is generally to the right of the function keys and above the delete key.

print screen

Tap once on the Print Screen key when you’re within Windows. Now, open up a new document in Microsoft Word or open Paint. Now go to Edit then Paste. You will see your entire desktop as a single image.

country side view

As you can tell, if you have a high-resolution screen or you have multiple monitors, the picture size can get quite large. In order to avoid having to trim the size of the image, it’s often easier to take a screenshot of just the active window. For instance, you may have this error display on your screen:


Instead of having the entire screen displayed in the error message, select the error message. Next, hold down the ALT key on your keyboard and tap the Print Screen key. The ALT keys can be found to the left and right of your space bar.

Now, with ALT+Print Screen used, we are able to see just the single active message:


There are additional screen clip and screen shot tools that can be used, some even from Microsoft, that will offer enhanced functionality. If you have Windows 7 or Vista, click on Start and then type in Snipping Tool. This will allow you to take free-form snips of anything on your screen. Microsoft OneNote also offers this ability.

For more information, feel free to review these articles:

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