Create a snapshot of your screen (screenshot)

March 16th, 2011

Wizard A friend called to ask me how to take a screenshot of a program’s settings menu. Generally, there are two built-in alternatives to grab a picture of the screen:

  • capture the whole screen – press Shift + Print Screen to copy the whole visible screen, then paste in an application (can be either a graphic editor like Photoshop, or rich-text editor like Word)
  • grab the current (active) window only – press Alt + Print Screen to copy, then paste in an application

These shortcuts apply to Windows, but there are the equivalent shortcuts in MacOS also. Just try different combinations of Shift, Option and Command keys together with Print Screen to see which does what.

Bear in mind, that some applications (video or games) use advanced techniques to display content, utilizing what’s called an overlay surface. In such cases, you may or may not be able to capture the window’s content.

Additionally, if you wish to record video of your interactions with a program, you will need to use a dedicated screen capturing application.

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