The Windows Snipping Tool allows you to capture all or any part of any object on your screen and allows you to save this as an image.
Most people are accustomed to the print screen option (PrtScn key) that allows you to take a complete screen capture or copy an active window (Alt + PrtScn) and then edit images using the windows paint utility.
The Windows Snipping Tool offers much more than this, it is very easy to use and is much more user friendly removing the need to open multiple programs in order to paste and edit screen shots.
Read our step by step instructions below on how to get the best out of this very useful tool.
How to Access the Snipping Tool
To open the snipping tool click the Start button or press the Windows key. In the search box, type Snipping Tool, and then click the Snipping Tool option in the list of results to start the program.
There is also a Snipping Tool shortcut under Accessories on the Start > All Programs menu. You may also wish to create a shortcut to the program on your Quick Launch toolbar or desk top.
Capture Methods for Snips
The Snipping Tool allows you choose one of four capture methods as follows:
- Free-form– Hand draw a shape around an object
- Rectangular – Drag the cursor around an object to form a rectangle
- Window – Select an active window e.g. browser window or dialog box
- Full-screen – Capture the entire screen
The tool allows you to capture a complete shot or crop (snip) around any object on your screen.
After you make your choice the resulting capture is shown in the snip mark-up window where you can highlight important areas and add notes to the image (annotate), save or share it.
The image is also automatically copied to you clip board and can alternatively be pasted into documents directly, if needed.
How To Capture a Snip
- Open the Snipping Tool as explained above
- Click the arrow next to the New button, then select the type of snip you wish to use from the list (Free-form Snip, Rectangular Snip, Window Snip, or Full-screen Snip)
- Select the area of your screen that you want to capture
- The resulting capture will show in the snipping tool mark-up window and is also copied to your clip board
How To Capture a Snip of a Menu
- You can also capture a drop-down menu, such as the Start menu, or other item that disappears when the window closes
- After opening the snipping tool press the Esc key before you start your snip
- Then open the chosen menu or on-screen element that you want to capture
- Press Ctrl+PrtScn, choose your snip type by pressing the arrow next to the New button and capture your desired selection
- The resulting capture will show snipping tool mark-up window
How To Highlight Important Areas of Your Snip
- Once you have captured your snip there are some useful editing features that allow you to use a pen or highlighter to mark-up and make notes on important areas of the image. This is particularly useful for those that want to emphasise a contextual aspect of any image captured.
- The pen thickness and tip can be customised depending on your needs and is available in a variety of colours. There is also an eraser if you need to make any corrections.
How To Save Your Snip
- To save your captured image, you need to click on the Save Icon button which is found in the toolbar of the snipping tool window. Alternatively you can click File > Save As from the dropdown menu.
- Images can be saved in a variety of formats including PNG, JPEG, GIF, or MHT (single file HTML).
How To Share Your Snip
- After you have captured your snip you may to wish to share it
- To do this click the Arrow on the Send Snip button (envelope icon), and then send it via e-mail either in the body of a message or as an attachment. Alternatively you can click File > Send To from the dropdown menu.
- All snips are always copied to the clipboard and can be pasted into documents regardless.
Useful Snipping Tool Tips
It can sometimes be difficult to see through the white overlay that the program automatically places over the screen as you make your selection. To remove this, click Options when the tool first opens, uncheck “Show screen overlay when Snipping Tool is active,” and then click OK.
You can also change the ink colour of the snip border, choose to keep the border on captured images and include the URL below HTML snips, if you so wish.
As mentioned above, all snipped images are automatically copied to your clipboard. Therefore, you can by-pass the snipping tool mark-up window and paste captured images directly into documents, if desired, by using Ctrl + V with keyboard or right click and then Paste with your mouse.