Worth a thousand words

You can make your computing experience so much better if you master a few simple skills. This is the first in a series of columns to help you with that.

Take a screenshot

When you need to explain what’s wrong with your computer, send a picture. A picture shows exactly what’s going on. It always clarifies your explanation, and sometimes, it’s the only explanation you need.

There are lots of ways to take a screenshot on your Windows computer. We’re going to focus on just the three easiest ways.

Method 1
Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 all include the Snipping Tool. To use it in any of those versions of Windows:

  • Click on Start |Windows Accessories | Snipping Tool
  • In Mode, choose the type of area you want to capture
  • Follow the prompts to capture the area you want
  • Windows 10 presents you with some editing tools; earlier versions don’t do that. When you have what you want, save the file. Save it to a location where you can find it again

We can make getting to that Snipping Tool much easier. See this column to see how to pin this to your Start Menu in Windows 10: http://computercarekelowna.com/the-easy-way/#outsmart-start.  

Method 2

In Windows 7, 8.1 and 10, you can simply press the Print Screen key to take a picture of your screen.

What confuses some people is that you can’t immediately see that picture the way you can with the Snipping Tool. To see or edit it, you’ll need to open your picture editing software and paste in the screenshot.

If you understood that, great! You’re done!

If I lost you there, just use the Snipping Tool as above, or if you have Windows 8.1 or 10, use the method below.

Method 3

Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 include a feature that snaps a picture of your full screen and places it in a folder where you can easily find it. How great is that!?

Press and hold the Windows Key and the Print Screen key simultaneously. Windows will take a screenshot and save it to a folder in your Pictures called Screenshots. Pretty easy.

Other ways

Are there other ways to do this? Absolutely. You can use a program called SnagIt, which adds features and costs $US50. Gadwin PrintScreen comes in free and paid versions.

There are other programs, too. If you work with screenshots a lot (I do.) it’s helpful to have those features. If you need to take a screenshot once in a blue moon, it’s good to know the capability is built into Windows.

Send the screenshot to someone

Now that you have your screenshot, you are halfway to getting help. It doesn’t do you any good to have it if you can’t share it.

How can you send that screenshot to someone who can help you? Again, there are lots of ways, but we’ll look at the easiest one, which is always to drag and drop it into the message.

If you want to use email:

  • Locate the screenshot
  • Did you save it automatically to the Screenshots folder inside your Pictures folder? Did you put it on your Desktop? Somewhere else? Find it
  • Open your email program or your web-based email
  • Create a new message
  • Click on the screenshot and drag it onto your new message
  • Address and send the message as you normally would

If you want to use Facebook Messenger, the steps are the same, but drag it into the message window instead of into an email.

It’s just that easy.

Yes, there are other ways. Maybe your messenger program or your email program or your web-based email has an icon to click on to attach a file. Do that if it’s easier.

There’s no wrong way if the way you do it works

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along. Send your screenshots to [email protected].


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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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