How to Take a Screen Shot or Capture

I ran a promotion on Friday for my Organized Mom blog, and I came to the realization that the MAJORITY of people do not know how to take a screen shot.  It’s fine that almost everyone doesn’t know this skill, I just wasn’t aware of the fact that people didn’t know it!  It was definitely another one of those, “why would I post about this, everyone knows how to do it” kinds of things, where I completely forget my audience again.  Bad Sarah!  Anyway… the ever elusive… how to take a screen shot of your computer post…

There are several reasons you may want to have a screen shot of your computer.  One of the really handy uses is when you get an error message.  When I’m troubleshooting a problem, having the actual error message can do wonders in fixing the problem more quickly.  Other reasons may include entering contests or promotions, or even using a screen shot in a blog post of something you want to show everyone.  There are several methods that can get you that screen shot you’ve always wanted!

Windows 7 Snipping Tool – In Windows 7, they’ve put a screen capture tool right into the Operating System!  Such smart folks over there at Microsoft!  All you need to do is click the start menu, then start typing “snip”.  The snipping tool should appear and allow you to click on it.  Once you click on it you can click and drag your mouse to “highlight” the area you would like to screen shot.  The clip will appear in the snipping tool, from there you can save the image to somewhere, copy it to the Windows clipboard, or email it right from the snipping tool.

Print Screen Key – There is a handy little button on your keyboard labeled “PrntScr”, which means Print Screen.  The only issue with the print screen button is that it will only save the image to the Windows clipboard, meaning to see it anywhere you need to paste it somewhere.  Also, it will take your entire screen, so the image can be quite large.  You can open up a word document and paste it inside, or an outlook new message and paste it there.  Once it’s saved into the word document you can send that word file where you need it to go.

Screen Capture Software – If you really want to go crazy with screen shots you can purchase a screen capture software.  I actually use SnagIt for mine, since I do a lot of screen shots for my blog.  I purchased SnagIt about 30 days before I installed Windows 7, then I saw the snipping tool, and said “doh!”  It’s ok though because I actually use both options quite a bit.

Hopefully next time I run a promtion I won’t require people to do something they don’t know how to do!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.



About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website


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  • Do you know if it is possible to do a screen shot on a Mac?? I have not figured out how (but I am still learning all kinds of things on here!!)


  • You’re right, a lot of people don’t know this. I love showing it to the teachers I work with.
    If you use Alt + PrntScrn, you only get the front window, which I like if I don’t want the captured screen to have anything else in it.
    Another option- I have Microsoft Office 2007 and use their OneNote application for screenshots and organizing things that I save. I think they’ve improved it for Office 2010. Also, there’s a OneNote app on iTunes, that’s FREE for a limited time.

  • You forget that the entire world does not use Microsoft technology. On a Mac you can use Grab application to capture a screenshot.

  • LOL Kathy, you must not be a regular reader. I definitely did not forget that the entire world doesn’t use Microsoft technology, I just refuse to acknowledge them. tee hee. I am VERY much a PC, and almost never talk about Apple stuff. Thanks for the info though!

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