Get screen print images using the snipping tool - Windows 7 /8

Snipping toolHow many times have you wanted to grab an image from your computer screen but just didn't quite know how to get it done? There was a time when you needed specialty software to do it (or at least do it efficiently), but not anymore. Since Windows 7 a little app has been available as part of the core operating system called the 'snipping tool'. Case in point, I used to use a software program that I had to purchase (for a decent sum of money, if I remember correctly), to capture the images used on this blog. Not anymore, as the snipping tool works just as well for what I need.

To be fair, I also use Photoshop to dress up and optimize most of the images that you see here, but for the average user that really isn't necessary, and the snipping tool will work just fine.

The first thing you need to do is find it. It's under Windows Accessories, but instead of digging around for it (which in Windows 8 can be downright frustrating), it's easier to just search for it. To do this, just hit the Windows key on your keyboard, and while holding it down press the 'S' key (Windows S). On Windows 8 you'll see this pop up in the right side Windows search bar, just type snipping into the box:

Snipping Tool 02

Here's a tip. If you want to just open the program once just click on the title, but if you're going to be using it frequently right-click on the title and you'll get the following pop-up screen:

Snipping Tool 03

Now you can choose to add it to your start menu screen or taskbar, which will make it much easier to find the next time. If you want to add a shortcut on you're desktop select the Open file location, which will open an explorer window where the application is located. Right click on the application name, and select Send to -> Desktop (create shortcut):

Snipping Tool 03a

When you open the tool you'll see a small modal pop-up that looks like this:

Snipping Tool 04

To select what it is that you'll be 'snipping', click on the down arrow next to New, and you'll get the following options:

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I find I use the Rectangular Snip most of the time, but you can select what you're trying to get. Just have whatever it is that you're trying to get the image of active, then click on the New button. If you have left the options to the default settings your screen will dim a bit, and you'll be able to select what you're trying to get:

Snipping Tool 06

I wasn't able to get images of the snipping tool in action, as the act of snipping conflicts with the screen prints I use to grab the images. However, at this point you should be good to go, just grab whatever it is that you're looking to get and you'll end up with the following box:

Snipping Tool 07

You can see that you have some basic tools to add some annotations to the image if you want, or you can just select File ->Save As to save the image as is. Play around with it a bit, it works great for grabbing basic screen prints.