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Capture a Screen Shot Using the Snipping Tool in Windows Vista


A picture is worth a thousand words. In many cases it helps to show someone a picture of your computer screen (called a screen shot) instead of trying to explain what you’re seeing. A screen shot of an error, application, or settings can be a life saver when working with a support IT professional, or to show someone how to do something by showing them screen shots of every step.

Windows Vista includes the Snipping Tool which helps taking screen shots very easy. This guide shows you how to use the Snipping Tool to take, edit, and save screen shots of your computer.

Snipping Tool Options

Before you start capturing screen shots (also called snips) with the Snipping Tool it helps to familiarize yourself with the Snipping Tool’s options to get the best experience.

Let’s open the Snipping Tool’s options by doing the following:

  1. Type Snip in the Start Menu’s search box.
  2. Click the Snipping Tool in the search results.
  3. Press Esc on your keyboard to cancel the current screen shot (snip).
  4. Click Options in the Snipping Tool’s window.

snipping-tool1.png [1]

Here’s an explanation of all the Snipping Tool’s options:

How-to Capture a Screen Shot

There are different ways to capture a screen shot using the Snipping Tool. When you open the Snipping Tool select the type of screen capture you want to take by dropping down the arrow next to the New button and select the type of screen capture you want to perform. The different types of screen captures are listed below.

Once you select the type of snip you want to perform it will be saved the next time you use the Snipping Tool.

Take your screen shot by clicking the New button or if you open the Snipping Tool and use the saved type of snip the screen capture will happen automatically. You’ll have to draw a shape, box, or click on a window or your computer screen to take the screen shot depending on what type of snip you selected.

Once you’ve taken your screen shot another window will open with the screen shot loaded in it where you can edit and save the screen shot. I’ll talk about that later.

Editing a Screen Shot

When you take a screen shot using the Snipping Tool a window will open right after the screen capture is taken that lets you edit the screen shot.

snipping-tool3.png [2]

You can write on the screen shot with the selected pen. You can change the color of the pen by selecting the arrow next to the pen button and selecting your color of choice. You can also highlight a portion of the screen shot with a highlighter or erase a portion of it with the eraser.

Saving Your Screen Shot

Save As

When you’re ready to save your screen shot on your computer, click the Save button (blue disk) and then select the location you want to save it at and give it a name.

Email Screen Shot

You can also e-mail the screen shot using Outlook or Windows Mail if you’re set up and using them for your e-mail. Simply click the envelop button to start your default e-mail program and the Snipping Tool will create a new e-mail for you and place the screen shot in it. This is an easy way to send screen shots to someone helping you fix a problem.