While screencasts and video demos offer certain advantages over text, screenshots are still important to supplement your text content if you want to cater to an audience that’s goal-oriented or needs more control. In this article, I’ll show you how to take screenshots in Windows 7 efficiently.
You probably know that you can press Print Screen and paste the screenshots from the clipboard to Paint or your preferred image editing program, crop it, then save it to a PNG. But you can streamline the whole process by using dedicated tools that allow you to easily capture a window or a rectangular area. I’ll show you two different methods.
Method 1 – Gadwin Printscreen
Gadwin Printscreen is a freeware screenshot utility that I’ve used for many years. The advantage over the built-in snipping tool that I’ll show you later on is that you get a lot more flexibility. For example, you can configure the keyboard shortcut, output format (e.g. PNG, JPG), and the file naming convention of the output.
Download Gadwin PrintScreen.
Note: If you’re using a 32-bit Windows 7, download the 32-bit installer instead. If you aren’t sure what you’re using, visit the Microsoft page that explains the difference between the two.
- Open the installer and follow the instructions.
Once installed, you can now take screenshots using either the default keyboard shortcuts (Print Screen button for full screen, Shift + Print Screen to capture the current active window, or Ctrl + Print Screen to capture a rectangular area) or the PrintScreen widget.
(Optional) By default, Gadwin PrintScreen saves to a PNG format in
C:\Users\<Your User Name>\Pictures\My Screen Shots. I recommend changing this to the folder you are currently working on and to change the File Name Template to something more relevant to your current project. Also, to take screenshots faster, you might want to disable the preview so that the screenshot goes straight to a file.
Method 2 – Snipping Tool
Snipping Tool is a screenshot utility built into Windows Vista and later.
I don’t know why they decided to make it sound like a medical tool, but if want something simpler or out of the box, then the Snipping Tool is for you.
Open it by opening the start menu and typing “Snipping Tool”.
When Snipping Tool first opens, it defaults to taking screenshots of the selected window.
To change the screenshot to another mode, click the dropdown arrow below New.
Click on the window you want to take a picture of.
Click the Save button and voila!