Screen Captures

On this page

On a Mac
On a PC
Special Programs for taking Screen Shots

On a Mac

  1. Two key commands will create a screen shot.
    1. Command, Shift, 3 (do not use the numeric keypad numbers) will take a screen shot of your entire screen.
    2. Command, Shift, 4 (do not use the numeric keypad numbers) will give you a cross hair cursor. Draw a box around the area of your screen that you want to capture.
  2. Your screen shot is saved as a .png file. Depending on your operating system, the location of the file may vary, most likely it will be placed on your desktop.
  3. The file will be named as "Screen Shot" with the date and time appended. (If you have a very old Mac operating system, it may be named Picture 1, Picture 2, etc.)
  4. Crop out unnecessary portions of the screen shot. See the section on cropping.
  5. The .png file created will work fine on web pages, but will benefit from compressing better for fast web page delivery. You can compress a file by resaving as .png, .jpg, or .gif. with a software program that allows for setting the compression level. See the section on saving files for the web.

On a PC

  1. Click on the Print Screen key (top of the keyboard to the right of the F12 key).
  2. An image is taken of your entire screen and stored temporarily in your clipboard. To capture only the active window instead of the entire screen, hold down the ALT key while clicking on the Print Screen key.
  3. Open a graphics program and paste the screen information into a file. Choose a program that will also save files as JPEGs or GIFs.
  4. From the Edit Menu, choose Paste (or use the shortcut keys, Control V).
  5. Crop out unnecessary portions of the screen shot. See the section on cropping.
  6. You will need to save your screen shot as a JPEG or GIF to be used on web pages. Generally, saving as a GIF will work better for screen shots. Limiting the number of colors in your color table will help to keep the file size down. See the section on saving files for the web.

Special Programs for taking Screen Shots

There are programs and utilities for taking screen shots that offer more control and extended features beyond what you get by using the operating system methods detailed, above.

Added features include:

  • image editing
  • batch processing
  • capturing editable text
  • saving captured text in tab-delimited format for importing into spreadsheets and databases
  • capturing screens at timed intervals
  • capturing at higher resolution for better print quality
  • anti aliasing scaling for better quality resizing
  • adding captions automatically
  • video captures

Performing a search, you can find a plethora of programs and utilities available. Two of the most popular programs are: