Tuesday, March 22, 2005

How To Copy Your Windows Monitor Screen

So you think the Windows Print Screen keyboard key doesn't do anything any more? Because it copies the contents of your monitor screen to the Windows clipboard which runs invisibly in the background, you can't see it working until you Paste its contents somewhere.

Let's look at this handy feature.

Go ahead, press the Print Screen key once. Now open your favorite graphics editor, or if you don't have one go to Start > Programs > Accessories and click on Paint. Either way, when the program comes up press Ctrl and V which is the shortcut key combination for the Windows Paste function. VOILA'! Now you can edit your picture and Save As a BMP, TIFF, or preferably a GIF or JPEG file, to the folder of your choice.

When I practiced these instructions a minute ago I came up with a GIF file that was 148 kb in size. The BMP version was a whopping 2.84 MEGabytes, way too big for useful email sharing. The JPG, which is a compressed graphic file, was 112 kb, which isn't too bad.

The images will display as the same size of your monitor screen setup so for email or use on your web page you'll want to resize the image to something more manageable, around 200 to 600 pixels wide. While still in Paint you can use Image > Attributes to resize. Just be sure to adjust width and height proportionately or you'll squash your image. Or hit the Default tab in Attributes for a reasonably-sized image, about 36 kb on my system.

Another tip: If you're going to work with photos much and don't want to spend several hundred bucks for the ultimate graphics program, Adobe Photoshop, check out VuePrint at http://www.hamrick.com/

As much as I use Photoshop for professional image processing, VuePrint is my standard image viewer/processor, and has been for fifteen years. I'd be lost without it. You can be up to speed in VuePrint in no time, as opposed to the five-year learning curve in Photoshop. Ed Hamrick doesn't know me, and I'm not getting a penny for this endorsement. Try it.

A final note: You can't use the Print Screen function to copy Windows Media Player screens and similar applications, sorry. Use SnagIt instead.

-- Dalton Hammond
Other Windows Tips

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