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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Check back every Monday for tips on topics from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
I'm Jess Stratton, and welcome to Monday Productivity Pointers. This week, I'm going to show you how you can take screenshots natively with the OS of the machine you're on. And today, I'm going to talk about how to take screenshots natively on the PC. This means that there's no new apps you have to download or install. You can do it right from Windows. So why would you want to take a screenshot, and what can you do with it once you have it? Well for one, sometimes when you're trying to troubleshoot a computer screen as you know, sometimes there's more going on on the screen that words cannot even describe to tech support.
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. And it's much easier just to take a screenshot of what's going on on your screen and send it right to tech support. Also, if you're editing a proof, you can mark up that picture and send it to whoever needs to see it directly. I like to take screenshots when it's just an easier and quicker way to show somebody what's on my desktop. Alright, let's get started. If you use Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, then you already have this built in app called, the snipping tool.
I'm going to open up my control panel because I'm going to pretend I need to take some screenshots of this. Now, you can take screenshots and highlight something that's wrong with your computer or you can also take screenshots to show somebody where they should be clicking. So let's click Start, and you can click on Snipping Tool. If you don't see it in your Start Menu, just start typing for Snipping Tool. The snipping tool will open, and I'm going to click on this drop down arrow next to New. There's a couple of snips I can do. The first one is a free form snip, which will actually just let me click my mouse.
And I'll select whatever I click. Now I'm going to choose Rectangular Snip. But the other two options are Window Snip, which will take a screenshot of the entire window, the active window, not the screen, or a Full Screen Snip. Now, a full screen snip would take everything, this blue desktop, the taskbar, the window, everything. So these are your options. If I choose rectangular snip, this is going to let me drag the cursor and select what I want.
Now I could have just chosen Windows Snip, but I wanted to show you what it does. Let go of the mouse and it will snip exactly what you clicked and dragged with the mouse. Now that I've got my snip, there's some options. I can actually mark up this screen shot directly. I can use a pen. If I click the black triangle, I'll get some options. I can change the color and I can circle things or write free form. I can also select highlighter. This is great for highlighting what people actually need to look at.
Now, if I don't want to use anything, I can choose Eraser. This will let me click on the markup that I've done that I don't want anymore. Now, once I'm happy with what I have, I can send it via email. Or I can choose the disk icon to save it to my computer. I can save as type PNG, GIF, JPEG or as a single file HTML file. Now, the file size is going to be affected by whatever you save it as.
If there's a lot of colors, you can save it as a JPEG or if you want to keep the integrity of it really intact save it as PNG file. If you save it as a JPEG file, the file size will be nice and small. We can save it as a JPEG and this will make it nice and small for emailing. When I'm all done, I can close and I'm back to where I was. So that's how easy it is to grab an area of your screen, mark it up and send it to who needs to see it. You can use it to tell other people where to click and you can also show it when you need help deciding where to click.
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