About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

April 6, 2010


Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , — Ron @ 4:36 am

I had a great email from AP telling me about someone teaching her a great windows feature this week.  I thought I had written about this hidden feature long ago.  In searching through all of my columns I found that I had not, so today we will take a look.

You know how it works… you are emailing a friend about something strange happening on your computer.  It would be much easier to put a picture of what is happening in the email instead of trying to describe it.  Or take my example, when writing a training manual; pictures are always needed for the step-by-step explanations.  Or you just made that big score playing online scrabble.

Wouldn’t it be neat if Microsoft provided a free tool to allow us to grab a “screenshot” of what we needed? The answer to that is, “Yes!” They have and it has been available in most all Windows versions.   It  is still available in Windows 7.

The perceived worthless “Print Screen” button on your keyboard used to do something slick in the old “DOS days”, back before Windows ever put in an appearance.  By pressing the “Print Screen” button you could print out the screen that was displayed.  That is very boring by today’s standards; however, in those days it was high-tech.

To get a picture of your window all you have to do is press and hold down (for a second or two) the “Print Screen” button.  This key is usually found on your keyboard in the upper right corner labeled, “Prnt Scrn”.

Try it now.  Go to your computer and open a window of anything on your computer.  Press the “Prnt Scrn” button a hold it for a count of “two”.  There you have it; you have just copied whatever was on your desktop into your system’s clipboard.  If you are using two monitors you just copied both windows.

How can you prove it?  Simply open a program like Word that allows graphics and paste as you normally would paste text.  The easy way to paste is to use the “Ctrl-V” button combination.  There it is, your screenshot is now in your document.  You can paste the graphic in most programs including email; though, you will have to check to make sure yours will allow this.

Now let’s look at one last print screen trick.  Use, the “Alt-Prnt Scrn” keys if you only want to copy one active window and not your entire desktop.  The only rule here is that the window you want to copy is active, i.e., you click on that window before copying.

This screenshot remains in your clipboard until you copy something else into it or you restart windows.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Double Clicks. Double Clicks said: This week's column about screenshots […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Screenshots » -- — April 7, 2010 @ 5:04 pm

  2. […] had quite a few emails after the screenshot column last week about the print screen key.  Thanks for emailing me and please keep them coming!  A […]

    Pingback by Advanced Screenshots » — April 13, 2010 @ 5:58 am

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