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Using The Print Screen Key For A Quick Screen Capture

In response to my article about Bumptop‘s 3D desktop customization software, a reader asked how I made the screen capture that was posted with the article.  This is an excellent question, the answer to which many heavy computer users might not admit they don’t know.  For Windows users, the answer lies in using the Print Screen key, which is on all standard keyboards (typically to the right of the F12 key).

Starting from the screen you want to capture, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Print Screen key – note:  this may be labeled PrtScn.
  2. Open an image editing program.  For my screen capture, I used Paint.net, an excellent free image editing program compatible with Microsoft Windows.
  3. Go to Edit – Paste.  From this step, the screen capture shot should paste into the image editing software.
  4. Make whatever adjustments you would like to make to the screen capture; e.g., crop, brightness, contrast, and the like.
  5. Select File – Save As.  Give the screen capture a file name and file type.  Click the Save button.

And you’re done!  You can use this method to capture a screen shot of your desktop or any active window in Windows.

For Vista users, you can also use the Snipping Tool.  To find out more about capturing your screen shots with the Print Screen key, the Snipping Tool, and other utilities, check out the excellent article on this subject at About.com, which you can link to here.  For a handy YouTube video explaining how to use Vista’s Snipping Tool, link here.

Thanks for the question!  Have fun!

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