Forever snippy

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

Q: In Windows 8.1, pressing the PrintScreen button takes a snapshot of my desktop and saves it to my Windows Clipboard so I can paste the results into Word, Excel, or elsewhere; but how do I create a file image of my PrintScreen results?

A: In Windows 8 and 8.1, holding down the Windows key and pressing the PrintScreen button will take a screenshot of your desktop and automatically save it to your Libraries, Pictures, Screenshots folder, as pictured below.


As an alternative, my favorite method for converting screenshots to files is to use the Windows Snipping Tool, which is included in Windows 8, 7, and Vista. To access this tool, select the Start button, All Programs, Windows Accessories, Snipping Tool. (Alternatively, you can also search for Snipping Tool.) To use the Snipping Tool, click the New button; this action will cause your screen to freeze and turn gray. Next, use your mouse to select the screen area you want to capture, after which your captured image will appear in the Snipping Tool canvas, as pictured below.


To save the captured image as a file, select File, Save As, browse to the path where you want the file saved, enter a file name, select the desired file format (PNG, GIF, JPG, or MHT), and click Save. The advantages of using the Snipping Tool rather than the Print - Screen tool are that you can specify the exact area to be captured, produce a higher-resolution image, and save the image to a variety of popular file formats. Furthermore, no cropping is required.

J. Carlton Collins ( is a technology consultant, CPE instructor, and a JofA contributing editor.

Note: Instructions for Microsoft Office in “Technology Q&A” refer to the 2013, 2010, and 2007 versions, unless otherwise specified.

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