Tuesday, September 1, 2015

How to use the snipping tool in Windows 7

Windows 7 comes with a neat little feature called the snipping tool.  This application works in much the same way as the Print Screen function; it captures what's on the screen when you use it.  However, the snipping tool offers much more flexibility than Print Screen.

To open the snipping tool, click on the Start button and type "snip" in the Search bar.  "Snipping Tool" will be displayed in the results; if it's the highlighted result, either click on it or press <ENTER>.  If there are more than one result, click on Snipping Tool.

The snipping tool window will open.  If you've never used it before, New will probably be selected.  (If it's not, select it now.)  Using the mouse, click on a corner of the area you want to snip, and drag the mouse to the opposite corner, so that the whole area you want to capture is selected.  You can capture a large or small portion of the screen, but it must be rectangle-shaped.  (If the window that you want to snip from is not currently open, open it now and then flip back to the snipping tool and choose New.)

Once you've selected an area, that area will be copied into the snipping tool window.  From here, you can mark the image, highlight it, and otherwise play around with it.  The default tool to use is a blue pen, but you can change the color or thickness of the pen by clicking on the down arrow next to the pen icon located with the other icons at the top of the window.

This row of icons contains the common tools you can use with your snipped image.  Choosing New will allow you to grab a new image, discarding the current one if you haven't already saved it.  The disk icon lets you save your image, in PNG, GIF, JPEG, or HTML format.  The next icon -- two identical sheets of paper -- is the Copy icon, which will let you copy your image to import it in Paint, Word, or just about any other program.  The envelope is the Send Snip icon, which you can use to email your snip through Outlook.  The pen icon was mentioned in the previous paragraph, and next to that one is the highlighter icon, which you can use to highlight any part of your image (or the whole thing) in yellow.  The last icon is the eraser, which will erase any modifications you've made, but won't erase the image itself.

To customize the snipping tool program, click on the Tools menu and select Options.  (If the menu bar does not appear by default, press the <ALT> key to make it appear.)  From this screen, you can change the default ink color, as well as other preferences.

(Originally published on Helium.com, December 2012)

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