Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Snipping Tool in Windows Vista

Before you start, you have to change some of your settings. Luckily, it's very easy to do, so let's get right to it! To begin, go to Start, Control Panel and click on the Programs link. Then under the Programs and Features section, click on the option that says "Turn Windows features on or off." Once you do that, a new window will appear with a list of all the features Vista has to offer. You'll see all kinds of things and some of them will be checked, while others are left alone.
Go ahead and scroll down until you find the Tablet PC Optional Components feature. Make sure that box is checked and then click OK. In order to be able to use the Snipping Tool, you must have that feature enabled. Otherwise, you won't be able to find it on your computer.
As you all probably know, the older versions of Windows mainly made use of the Printscreen button (PrtScr) on the keyboard to make screenshots. So, whenever you wanted to make a screenshot for yourself, you had to hit that button and then go into a photo editing program and crop it, sharpen it, etc. until it finally looked the way you wanted it to. Well, in Windows Vista, you can actually bypass a lot of that work.
Today, I'm introducing the Windows Vista Snipping Tool to you. This tool is so cool, I just know all of you are going to fall in love with it by the time you're done reading this tip. And I promise that if you have Vista on your computer right now, you're going to want to try it out ASAP! First of all, to open the Snipping Tool, go to Start, Accessories, Snipping Tool. (You can also access it by typing the word "snip" into the search box under the Start menu).
When it opens, you'll see a box with three commands in it. Those are: New, Cancel and Options. The New button is what you can use to decide what part of the screen you want to capture, the Cancel button can be used to cancel any action after you've already started a screen capture and the Options button is there to help you choose which way you want your Snipping Tool to work. The box with all of these choices will come up every time you want to do a screenshot.

When you're ready to take your screenshot, get the Snipping Tool open and click on the New button. From there, you can choose which type of shot you'd like to do. The choices are: Free-form snip, rectangular snip, window snip or full-screen snip. When you've decided which one you want to do, focus in on what you want to capture. You may have a photo you want to make a screenshot for or you might have part of a Web site that you'd like to send to a friend. Either way, make sure it's up on your screen so you can start to "snip" it.
To snip what you want, just drag your mouse until you've captured what you want. Once you've got it snipped, you can choose from different customizing options to add certain things to your image. For example, you can use a highlighter to highlight certain things in whatever color you'd like to use. You can use the pen tool to write in some colorful text and if you make a mistake, the eraser tool is always there to bring you back so you can start over. Now, if none of those tickle your fancy, you can click the Options choice to change your image around even more. This is what the Options window looks like:

 Now, when you're done with your screenshot, you can either save it or you can even send it to someone in an e-mail. To save it, go to File, Save and just save it to a folder on your computer. I always like to save mine to My Desktop and after saving decide where I want to move it, but it's up to you. If you'd like to send your screenshot in an e-mail, go to File, Send To and you can choose to send it in the body of an e-mail providing you have Windows Mail set up for this task or you can send it as an attachment. Then just type in your recipient's e-mail address and they'll be able to see all the snipping work you did!
I know this new tool might still be a little confusing to you, but you can't really get a good feel for it until you've tried it yourself. So, my recommendation is to go and experiment with it as much as possible. Once you do that, I think you'll find that there's so much you can do with the Snipping Tool and you'll be using it all the time. It really is a cool addition to Windows Vista and it's much easier than using the Printscreen button. With it, you're able to go past all the steps of editing and do it all in one quick swoop. Give it a try today!

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