Many people don’t know how to use the screenshot feature to their advantage. Most know it exists, but don’t have many applications for using it. In this article, I’ll show you how to use this feature both on a Mac and a PC and how it can be used in our daily lives.
First, on a Mac, if you select Command + Shift + 3, it will take a screenshot of your entire desktop and it will put it in a JPEG file format on your desktop. If you push 4 instead of 3, you will see the crosshairs enabling you to select a portion of your screen. Once you release the mouse, a JPEG file will be saved to your desktop. It will be named automatically in this format, but with your current date: “Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 8.36.55 AM.”
On a PC, once you have your information displayed on your desktop that you want to copy, you will press the “PRT SCN” button on your keyboard at the top-right. After you do this, you must now paste it into another program to view it. I typically like to use Paint for this. Click the Start button in the lower-left corner, scroll down through the programs and click “Windows Accessories.”
In the menu that opens up, you’ll see Paint. Right-click “Paint,” move your cursor over “More” and then select “Pin to Taskbar.” This puts the Paint icon in your taskbar, making it a lot easier the next time you look for this program. Open Paint and then at the top-left, click “Paste.” You will see a copy of your entire desktop. Now, you need to save the image. Click “File” and then hover over “Save as” and in the slide-out menu, click “JPEG picture.” You can save it in a different file format if you know which one you need, but JPEG is common and easy to work with. Once you click “JPEG picture,” a box will open that will allow you to choose where you want to save this file and what you want to name it. Make your choices and then click “Save.”
Whether you use a Mac or a PC, you now have a screenshot file located on your desktop or wherever you saved it. Let’s talk about how you can use these files.
I routinely use this feature when I am with my customers. For example, many struggle with remembering their wireless network name and password. So, I make a print screen of the information and I save it to their desktop so they can find it easily and simply. However, if you are going to use this method to save important information, be sure your computer is secured with a login password so unauthorized users can’t get access.
I also use this feature to easily send information to my associates. If I need to send them a portion of a web page, or a document that I may be working with, I can easily do it using the screenshot feature.
Another opportunity where I use this feature is when I sign up for a new account, such as an email or even subscribing to a website. Often they will ask you to choose security questions and passwords. Instead of writing all this down, I make a screenshot of the information and I save it to my desktop. Then I email it as an attachment to myself and save it in a specific folder in my email so I can access it anywhere I have an Internet connection. Once I email it to myself, I delete the file from my computer so others can’t get access to that private information.
As a troubleshooting tool, there are times when a message will popup on my screen and it will disappear before I have a chance to read it entirely. I often will make a quick screenshot of the message so I can have more time to study it and find out what it is telling me. You can also use this to send a screenshot of something that may be wrong with your computer so your computer gal or guy can analyze it and get back to you without having to do a personal visit.
There are many ways to use this feature and you should practice it a few times so that when the occasion arises for you to use it, it will be easy and comfortable for you to do so.
For more than 15 years, Scott Lindsay has helped thousands of people better their skills, publishing more than 500 articles about Apple and Microsoft software, the computer and the Internet. You can reach Scott for comments or questions at ScottLindsay@live.com.