Print Screen

General Information

There will be times when you are working with your computer when you will find it convenient to be able to take a 'picture' of something that is on your screen, to be able to save it and use it later on. One common use for this activity is when you have an error message on your screen that you don't understand, and you want to be able to show it to someone later on so that they can explain it. Another use is to be able to show parts of a screen in a document, just like you have seen with the various examples in this tutorial. Taking a picture of this type is called making a screenshot, and it's done using the Print Screen key on your keyboard.

Note: The Print Screen key can be labeled as Prt Scr, Print Scr, Prt Scn, Prt Sc, Prnt Scrn depending on your keyboard. For the example here, we will use Prt Scr to represent this key.


Making a screen capture

You can either take a screenshot of your whole screen, or only the active window. To take a screenshot of your whole screen, just press the Prt Scr key. To take a screenshot of only the active window press the Alt and Prt Scr keys down at the same time.

The screenshot that you make is kept on the virtual clipboard. To be able to do something with it, you need to change the screenshot into an image file. To do this, open any graphics editor such as Paint, and from the Edit menu select Paste (or use the shortcut for paste, Ctrl-V). Then, save the resulting image in any format that you want using the Save or Save As options in the File menu. Once you have done this, your screenshot will be like any other image file on your computer, which you can edit or send.

Exercise: find the Print Screen key on your keyboard, and press it. You have just taken a screenshot of your screen. To see the screenshot open the Paint application by going to the Start menu, then All Programs, then Accessories and finally selecting Paint. Now select the Paste option from the Edit menu. You will see the screenshot appear in the application. You can try to save it if you want, or just close Paint. Note: on ETI computers to the Start menu, then Programs, then Accessories and select Paint