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How To Use Screen Capture

Screen Capture and the Print Screen Key

Here we are going to discuss how to get a picture of something that is on your screen into a Word document or similar application. I am sure you have seen instruction documentation which has built in screen shots of the process that it is explaining. If you were wondering how to do that, here is one simple way.

We will be using the “Print Scrn” key.

A lot of people seem to think that if you hit that key then whatever is on your screen will shoot out of your printer. Well, back in the good old days of DOS, that was the case but nowadays, when you press the “Print Scrn” key a copy of your screen is sent to the “Clipboard”.

What is the “Clipboard”?

It is an area of memory set aside for temporary storage, so normally you can’t see it or its contents and that is fine just as long as you know it’s there.

You can use the clipboard to copy text from one place to another with the cut and paste features built into Windows and many other programs, simply highlight the text you want and press “Ctrl” and “C” together, this COPIES the highlighted information to the “Clipboard”, then move your cursor into the location or document where you want it to appear and press “Ctrl” and “V”, this PASTES the information stored in the “Clipboard” to the new location.

It is worth noting that the information stays in the “Clipboard” until it is overwritten by a future “Ctrl” + “C” operation.

So, how does that help us?

Well, if we had a word processor document open that we were working on and we wanted to include a screen shot of our desktop in that document, simply hit “Print Scrn” and then “Ctrl” + “V” and the image should appear in your document. Try it using Wordpad, the lightweight word processor that comes with Windows.

Here’s another little trick using “Print Scrn”, if you hold down the “Alt” key and press “Print Scrn”, that copies just the contents of the active window to the “Clipboard” rather than the full desktop image.

So, there you have it, play around with it and soon you will be an expert.

Good luck,


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