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I originally shared this post well over a year ago, but since I get visitors looking for this exact information on a near-daily basis I figured I should share it again.
You’ve probably seen them all over the place: images of a computer or tablet screen that show what’s on the screen. Those images are called “screenshots”, because each one is basically a snapshot, or picture, of a computer screen. Screenshots are also sometimes called “screen grabs”.
Screenshots: What Are They Good For?
Screenshots can be VERY useful. Here are just a few examples of things you can do with them:
1. Take a picture of an error message on your screen to share with a tech support person.
2. Take pictures of online images for future reference. This is especially great for when you’re redecorating or remodeling: grab screenshots of every color scheme, room layout or idea that appeals to you. It’s also a godsend for party planning and craft ideas.
3. Take pictures of suspicious or offending messages posted online, in case you need them as evidence later. For example, if your child is being bullied on Facebook you can take a picture of the posts to prove they existed if the bullies should delete them before school or other authorities can be informed.
4. Take pictures of your screen when you’re using a certain program, like MS Word, and you need to explain to someone else how to do something in that program.
5. Take pictures of maps you create in Google Maps, MapQuest and so on, in order to have the images available on your tablet even when you don’t have a WiFi connection or in order to print hard copies to take with you on the road.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
Overview of the Process
The basic process is this: press a certain keyboard button or button combination (I’ll get more specific about this in a moment) to copy the image of your computer screen to the computer’s ‘clipboard’, and from there you can paste it into any program that can accept images. Just open the desired program and click on the ‘Paste’ icon. It’s usually a picture of a little clipboard with a tiny piece of paper on it.
Most of the time, I’ll just open up MS Word and paste the screenshot in there. You can also paste screenshots into graphics editor programs, photo editor programs, Microsoft PowerPoint, and many more. Just go with whichever program you’re most comfortable working with.
Remember, when you take a screenshot the image will include EVERYTHING that’s visible on your computer screen. You can either close or minimize any windows you don’t want in the shot, or you can edit the image so it shows only what you want after you’ve pasted it into another program.
Taking A Screenshot in Windows
When the image you want is displayed on the desktop, press the appropriate keyboard key, or key combination:
1. If your keyboard has its own, totally separate Print Screen button (it may say “Print Screen”, “PrtScr”, “PrtSc” or something similar), just press that button to take the picture and copy it to the Windows clipboard.
2. If your keyboard does not have a separate Print Screen button (most laptops don’t), you’ll need to use a key combination: two keys pressed simultaneously. Depending on your keyboard, the correct combination will be one of the following:
a) If your keyboard has a “FN” or “Fn” key (the abbreviation stands for ‘function’), press that key + the Print Screen key (see the list of possible key names in item #1, above) simultaneously to take the picture and copy it to the Windows clipboard.
Note that the Print Screen key will combined with some other key, and the Print Screen function is only activated when you press that key and the Function key simultaneously. For example, on my keyboard the “End” key is also the “PrtSc” key; to take a screenshot, I press the “END/PrtSc” key and the Function key simultaneously.
b) If your keyboard does not have a Function key, follow the same procedure as in #2 above but press the Control (Ctrl) key in place of the Function key.
Taking A Screenshot On A Mac
When the image you want is displayed on the desktop, press the Command, Control, Shift and numeral “3” keys simultaneously. From there, paste into your desired program as described above.
How To Take A Fire Screenshot
This works on all generations of Fire Tablets, provided the tablet has buttons for volume control—the first generation Fires didn’t.
With the image you want to capture onscreen, simultaneously press the power and volume down buttons. These must be light, quick key presses, just hard enough and lasting just long enough to register as key presses. It doesn’t always work every time, it’s one of those things where you kind of have to get the hang of it but keep trying and it will work. I take screenshots from my various Fire tablets this way all the time to illustrate how-to posts about the Fire tablet line.
Your screenshots will be stored in a Screenshots folder, accessible on the Photos tab of your Fire.
And that’s all there is to it!
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Tech Tip of the Week: Where’s My Stuff? Cloud vs. Device.
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