Use Snipping Tool to capture screenshots

Windows Vista and later includes the Snipping Tool. It allows to take screenshots of an open window, rectangular areas, a free-form area, or the entire screen.

Snips can stored as an image file (PNG, GIF, or JPEG file) or an MHTML file. You can also e-mail it. Moreover, Snipping Tool includes a basic image editing of the snapshot, with different colored pens, an eraser, and a highlighter.

Since Windows 10 a “Delay” function was added, which allows for timed capture of screenshots. This function is relevant because it allows to take a screenshot showing context menus or handles that appear around a graphic object when that object is selected. Those menus and objects handles disappear when any other item is clicked on so without this function it would be impossible to capture.

Types of snips:

  • Free-form snip: it draws a free-form shape around an object.
  • Rectangular snip: you can form a rectangle around an object by dragging the cursor.
  • Window snip: you can select a window, such as a dialog box and capture it.
  • Full-screen snip: it captures the entire screen.

Once you have captured a snip, it’s automatically copied to the Snipping Tool window. There you can make changes, save and share.

How can I open the Snipping Tool?

  • For Windows 10: go to the Start button, then type snipping tool in the search box on the taskbar. Select Snipping Tool from the list of results.
  • For Windows 8.1 / Windows RT 8.1: Go to the right edge of the screen, type snipping tool in the search box, and then select Snipping Tool from the list of results. There is another way to get to the tool: using a mouse you can point to the lower-right corner of the screen, then move the mouse pointer up and select Search, continue like in the first option.
  • For Windows 7: select the Start button, type snipping tool in the search box and select Snipping Tool from the list of results.

Work with your screenshots

Once you have opened the Snipping Tool open you can select one of the following to work with your screenshots:

  • Capture a snip: go to Mode in the tool or (in earlier versions of Windows) select the arrow next to the New button. Then you have to choose the kind of snip you want and you will see that the whole screen change to grey. Now you can select the area of your screen that you want to capture.
  • Capture a snip of a menu: once you have opened Snipping Tool, open the menu that you want to capture. Only if you use Windows 7, press the Esc key before opening the menu. Then, press Ctrl + PrtScn keys and the screen changes to grey including the open menu. Finally, select Mode (in earlier versions of Windows select the arrow next to the New button), choose the kind of snip you want and select the area of the screen that you want to capture.
  • Annotate a snip: Once the screenshot is done you can draw or write on or around. You can select the Pen or the Highlighter.
  • Save a snip: now select the save snip button, it will open the save as box and you have to type a file name, location, and type. Finally select save.
  • Remove the URL: if you capture a snip from a browser window and save it as an HTML file, the URL appears below the snip. So if you do not want that the URL appears you can do this: in the Snipping Tool, select the Options button. Once in the Snipping Tools Options box, clear the Include URL below snips (HTML only) check box, then select OK.
  • Share a snip: go to the send snip button, and then select an option from the list.
  • Enlarge, rotate, or crop your snip: in Snipping Tool and with your snip opened, select Edit and then Edit with Paint 3D. Now you can use features for sizing, color, text, and many other enhancements.
  • Print a snip: right click on the snip (in the folder where you’ve saved it) and select print. You can make choices for how you want to print your image.
  • Place tool on the taskbar: you can select pin to taskbar by searching snipping tool in the search box on the taskbar.
  • Delay your screenshot: in Snipping Tool, select Delay and then select, for example, 5 seconds. Once you selected Mode, the 5-second countdown starts. You have to open the menu that you want to capture and in the following seconds, you will see the screen turn grey, so you have to use the mouse to draw around the area you want.

Keyboard shortcuts to use in Snipping Tool:

  • Choose a snipping mode: Alt + M
  • Create a new snip in the same mode as the last one: Alt + N
  • Move the cursor to select from different types of snips: Shift + arrow keys.
  • Delay capture by 1-5 seconds: Alt + D
  • Copy the snip to clipboard: Ctrl + C
  • Save the snip: Ctrl + S

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