Master the Art of the Screenshot


Taking a screenshot on your computer is a skill you learn early on, alongside the shortcuts for copying and pasting. In lesson plans, emails, tutorials, and other documents, sharing a picture of your entire desktop or a small snapshot of a detail happens routinely. But have you truly mastered the art of the screenshot? The tip of the hat this week goes to Tech Ambassador John Keisker for teaching an old dog a new trick. Learn how to take a screenshot and choose whether you want it as a file or in your clipboard.

Capture a Screenshot

On Windows and Mac, screenshot captures behave differently:

Windows Screenshots

Within the Windows operating systems, you take a screenshot by pressing the Print Screen key on your keyboard. This makes a copy of your entire desktop and places it in the clipboard, the temporary zone where copied information resides. Switch to the application of your choice and you can paste it with a swift combination of the Control + V keys.

Take a screenshot in Windows

Take a screenshot in Windows

Mac Screenshots

On a Mac, screenshots are more permanent as they become files saved on your desktop.

To capture the entire screen
Command + Shift + 3

Your will hear a shutter sound and your screenshot will be saved as an image file on your desktop.

Shortcut for a Desktop Screenshot on a Mac

Shortcut for a Desktop Screenshot on a Mac

To capture part of the screen
Command + Shift + 4

Your cursor will turn into a crosshair . Click and drag your mouse to make a selection around the area you would like to copy as an image. When you release the mouse button, you will hear a shutter sound and your partial screenshot will be saved as a picture file on your desktop.

Take a Partial Screenshot on a Mac

Take a Partial Screenshot on a Mac

Copy a Screenshot to the Clipboard on a Mac

As you understand, this is the default behavior on a Windows Machine, but not on a Mac. It takes a little extra time to go through the process of inserting a picture from an image file into a document. Instead, having a screenshot ready to be pasted directly can be a real time saver.

This week, John shared with us how to take a screenshot on your Apple computer and have it copied to the clipboard where it is waiting to be pasted. It is as simple as adding the control key to the above combinations:

Desktop screenshot to the clipboard
Command + Control + Shift + 3

Copy your Desktop Screenshot to the Clipboard on a Mac

Copy your desktop screenshot to the clipboard on a Mac, then paste it directly into a document

Partial screenshot to the clipboard
Command + Control + Shift + 4

Partial Screenshot to the Clipboard on a Mac

Copy a partial screenshot to the clipboard on a Mac, then paste it directly into a document

Using this keyboard combination, you could take screenshots of images on the Internet and paste them directly into your documents without any intermediary steps!

Save a Screenshot as a File in Windows

Of course there are times when being able to save a screenshot as a file is the preferred way to go. This tutorial wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t show you how to do this in Windows. If you want to save your screenshot directly as a file in Windows 10 (the only version for which this shortcut works), you need to click on the Windows key + Print Screen. This will save the screenshot as an image in the Pictures folder under Screenshots.

Shortcut Save a Screenshot as a File in Windows 10

Shortcut Save a Screenshot as a File in Windows 10

This new keyboard shortcut is just as useful as the copy paste without formatting we highlighted in a previous article. Thank you again John!

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