Have you ever been working on your computer when suddenly a wild error appears? If you need to better explain your problem to tech support, snapping a quick screenshot can be super effective.
A screenshot is a handy tool that will save whatever is displayed on your computer monitor as an image that you can edit, share, and use to your liking. Using a screenshot, you can snap a picture of a web page, notification box, file folder, desktop icons; basically anything you view on your monitor can be saved as a picture.
If you turn your attention to the upper row on your keyboard, you will see the magic screenshot button PrtScn or Print. On a standard keyboard, you can find the PrtScn button above the insert key and to the right or F12. In Windows, taking a screenshot is as easy as pressing the PrtScn button. After the screenshot is taken, the image will temporarily be saved as a .png file on your clipboard.
With the image saved on your clipboard, you can now access it with any program that uses the clipboard, like Microsoft Word, MS Publisher, Outlook, MS Paint, OneNote, the full list is too extensive to list here. Now that you have your favorite image editing program open, it is just a matter of pasting the image with CTRL+V, or you can also use right click > Paste.
There is a handy screenshot shortcut that will allow you to take an image of only the application you have selected. You do this by using Alt+PrtScn, this will save you time from having to crop the edges off your screenshot. Your next step will be to paste the image as you would normally.
Apple users have to do three times the work to take a screenshot by hitting three keys: command + shift + 3. Then you can copy/paste the screenshot into your photo editing app or document editor of choice. On the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch, snap a screenshot by holding down the Home Button and pressing Sleep/wake. On mobile devices the image will be saved in your Saved Photos folder. You can take a screenshot with most other smartphones and tablets, however you may need to resort to the manual, as they differ between all devices.
If the internet is the source of most of your screenshots, then there is a free tool that will make online screenshots easier called Awesome Screenshot. The appeal of Awesome Screenshot is that you can take a screenshot only of content in your browser that you are interested in. You can download this tool for free at www.awesomescreenshot.com, it is compatible with both Firefox and Chrome.
Now that you have the ability to turn your computer monitor into a virtual camera, you can now do so much more with your PC and mobile device. You can better communicate IT problems, put together an easy-to-follow web tutorial, paste pictures into documents, and the World Wide Web is now your photo studio. Next time your computer has an error, send a screenshot to support and get the problem resolved in a fraction of the time!