How to do screensshots in OS X and Windows

Screenshots are a helpful tool for many things, especially as part of out Technical Support work. Most technical support issues that we are faced with require us having to understand the process you have taken so that we can copy the scenario on our own system and find where the fault may lie.

When we are sent technical support requests, it is usually much quicker for us to find the fault if we are supplied with your operating details, a written overview of what has gone wrong and a few screenshots of where you feel the problem is occurring (when possible).

Screenshots in OS X

OS X has three quick ways to take screenshots:

To capture a full screen shot press; Shift+Command+3

To capture a selection of the screen press; Shift+Command+4

This turns your mouse into a crosshair that you can then use to click and drag a rectangle around your chosen area of the screen

To capture a particular window press; Shift+Command+4

Then press the Spacebar which will then allow you to move your cursor over your wanted window and then by clicking it, the chosen window area will be captured as an image.

With your sound on, you will hear the sound of a camera shutter when the picture has been taken successfully. OS X will by default save the screenshots to your desktop.

Screenshots in Windows

Windows have two main ways to take screenshots, one involves using the Print Screen key and an image processing program like Paint, and the other involves using the Snipping Tool.

Print Screen + Paint

To save an image via print screen you will need to press the Print Scrn key on your keyboard. 

Note: Depending on your make of keyboard this function could require the 'fn' key to be held at the same time as the Print Scrn key or by pressing the F14 key

Next you will have to open an image processing program, like Paint. To open Paint go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, Paint

In Paint you can now Paste your screenshot image by pressing; Ctrl+V

This file can then be saved by going to File, Save As

Snipping Tool

The snipping tool allows you to grab the screen via the same functions as the OS X screen grabber, however Windows do not have any short cut keys like the OS X and therefore must be opened and run manually.

To locate the Snipping Tool go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, Snipping Tool

Note: To make this locating process quicker in the future you can right-click the Snipping Tool icon and select Pin To Start Menu.

Once the Snipping Tool is running you will see a new window, on this window if you select the down pointing arrow next to the New button you can choose what type of screenshot you want to capture. These options are:

Free-form Snip allowing you to manually draw around your wanted area 

Note: Hold down your left-click until you have drawn around the wanted area; this option is not really the most user friendly.

Rectangular Snip allows you to click and drag a rectangle around your chosen area of the screen

Window Snip allows you to select a specific window to capture as an image

Full-screen Snip captures the full screen and saves it as a file

The Snipping Tool will show you a still image of your screenshot after each one has been taken, you can then choose to Save the file before closing it.

The Snipping Tool closes after each picture has been taken, so I do suggest to either pin the application icon to your Start Menu, or, if you use it regularly, you can pin it to the Taskbar for even quicker access.