December 4, 2017

How to Send a Screenshot

Filed under: Main — Tags: , — admin @ 12:01 am

“I’m having difficulty understanding what you see,” I write. “Can you send me a screenshot?” Invariably, the next email I receive includes a screenshot. Sadly, about 90 percent of the time, the screenshot arrives as an image pasted into a Word document.

Word features a Screenshot command, which is probably part of the problem: On the Insert tab, the Screenshot command is found in the Illustrations group. I’ve never used it, but readers do when I ask them to send me a screenshot. There’s got to be a better way — and there is!

Professionally, I use special programs to capture the screen. I use Snapz Pro X on the Mac and Snaggit on the PC, along with Camtasia for capturing video. These tools give me specific controls over the image captured, the cursor, and they provide editing capabilities. Still, it’s entirely possible to use only the operating system to grab a screenshot.

In Windows, for example, the keyboard’s Print Screen key grabs a screenshot of the desktop. When the system has two monitors, both images are captured. They’re saved in the clipboard, like any copied image data. From there, you can paste the screenshot image into any program that accepts pasted graphics, which includes your email program or even Gmail or other web-based email apps.

Yes, it’s that easy.

The Print Screen key might be labeled PrtSc on some keyboards. It frequently shares the Pause key.

Further, you can focus the screenshot in Windows by pressing the Alt+Print Screen shortcut, which captures only the active window. So to send a screenshot of your Word document:

  1. Position the document in the window so that the relevant part appears.
  2. Press Alt+Print Screen.
  3. Start a new email message.
  4. In the body of the message, press Ctrl+V to paste.
  5. Send the email.


Now if you want to get fancy, you can edit the image: Open the MS Paint program in Windows and paste the screenshot into a new drawing. You can then resize the canvas, crop, highlight parts of the screenshot, and so on. Save the image to storage so that you can attach the file to an outgoing email message. This process adds more steps, of course, but it gives you more control.

Another option is to use Dropbox’s automatic screenshot upload feature. When enabled, any screenshot you snap is saved to the clipboard as well as to a file on Dropbox’s cloud storage. I use this feature often.

Of course, you can still paste the screenshot image into a Word document. The problem is that the image is now embedded in the document and resized as well. So instead of seeing it as large as it could be, I must extract the file or zoom-in on the document to view whatever details are retained. Instead, it’s easier to press the Print Screen key and paste. And somewhere I read how computers are supposed to make things easier. Go figure!

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