(303) 794-0694
- This Week's Free Computer Tip -

110 - The Print Screen Key

The problem -
Scenario #1 - An error message has popped up on your screen and you want to capture the message accurately so you can tell someone (like Computer Skills Group) about it.

Scenario #2 - You spent a good long while getting your Internet dial-up connection to work and you want to capture "pictures" of the settings, just in case you lose them some time in the future and need to reset them.

Scenario #3 - You just learned how to perform something complicated on your computer and want to make some notes about how it was done, for later use. It involved hitting certain keys on windows that opened as you worked.

In all three cases, the ability to capture a picture of the screen would be very useful. This can easily be done. There is a key in the upper right area of your keyboard labeled "Prt Scr". (Laptop keyboards have non-standard layouts so the key may be located somewhere else) You have hit the key before, but it did nothing. What did you do wrong?

Here's how it's done -
Step #1 - If you tried hitting the "Prt Scr" (Print Screen) key, but nothing happened, you were on the right track, but only half way there. Hitting the Prt Scr key makes a copy of the image of your full screen, just as you see it. That image is stored in an area of memory known as the "clipboard". Yes, this is the same clipboard used when you "cut" or "copy" text from a document. However, in this case, you have copied an image (like a photograph), rather then text.

Step #2 - Now you have to capture this image so it can be viewed or saved for future use. To do this, you next open a document in an application such as Word, and paste that image into the document. Word is not the only application you can do this with, but it is usually the most convenient one to use. (Any application capable of including an image, can be used. PowerPoint and Outlook emails are additional examples.) This document can be printed and/or saved, as you want.

That's it, but how about one more tip -
Often, as in the case of capturing error messages, all you care about is the error message window. You could care less about printing all the junk in the background. Can you capture the image of just the error message window? Absolutely!

Just remember this - the ALTernative to printing the entire screen is to hold down the "ALT" key as you hit "Prt Scr". This captures the image of just the current window.
(And, don't worry about the "current" part. I'm mentioning it only because I'm being technically correct. When you want to capture something, it will nearly always be the current window. When an error message is showing on your screen, it is automatically the current window.)

Try this a couple of times just to see how it works. I think you'll find it very handy on those occasions where you need it. Anytime you want to tell a friend how to do something, nothing does it better than to send a picture of the actual screen.

email us
Home | About our company | Why call us? | What we do | Why teach on YOUR computer? | Pricing & Payment | How will I benefit?
This Week's Free Computer Tip
Computer Tips Revisited