Built into both Microsoft Windows and Macintosh operating systems is an easy way to capture the contents of your computer screen into an image file, often referred to as a “screenshot.”
A screenshot can be helpful when you are trying to obtain assistance as it allows your support person to see exactly what your computer screen was showing (a long error message, for example) at the time the screenshot was taken.
In today’s post we’ll cover how to take a screenshot and send it by e-mail for both Windows and Mac users.
1. To capture the contents of the entire screen press the Print Screen key. Or, to take a picture of only the foremost active window or application, press and hold down the Alt key and then press Print Screen.
2. Click the Start menu, and click to select All Programs, Accessories, and then Paint.
3. In the Paint window, click Edit and pull down the menu to release on Paste as shown; your screen capture image will appear in the window.
4. Click the File menu and pull down and release on Save As.
5. Enter a File Name for your image, select an appropriate File Type such as .PNG, and click the Save button to save a copy of the screenshot in your ‘My Pictures’ folder.
6. Back in the Paint window, click the File menu and pull down to release on Send.
7. Your default e-mail application (likely Outlook Express) will open, and a new message window will appear with your screenshot image attached. Fill in the recipient’s e-mail address, enter an appropriate subject line and message, and click Send to deliver your message with the screenshot image.
Creating a screenshot on a Mac is very easy. To capture the contents of the entire screen press and hold down the Shift, Apple, and 3 keys simultaneously, then release them.
A “camera shutter” sound confirms the screen capture, and an image file labeled Picture 1 appears on the Desktop as shown below.
The image contains an exact representation of your entire screen at the moment you released the three keys, and is ready to be e-mailed. The file format will depend on your operating system version and how your computer’s preferences are set, but it will likely be in .PNG or .PDF format (either is fine). If you wish you can rename the file but it isn’t necessary to do so.
Note that if you wish to capture only a portion of the screen, press and hold down the Shift, Apple, and 4 keys, then release them.
A small gray crosshairs cursor will appear on your screen; click and drag to select the rectangular area to be captured, then release the mouse button. The camera shutter sound confirms your screenshot and the image file automatically appears on your desktop just as with a full screen capture, except the image will only contain the selected area of the screen.
To send a screenshot by e-mail from your Mac, open your preferred e-mail application (probably Apple’s Mail program). Click New to create a new message. Enter the recipient’s address in the To field, and enter appropriate Subject and Message text. Then click the Attach button and select your image file, and click Send to deliver your screenshot and message.
An even easier way to e-mail your screenshot on a Mac is to click on the image file on your desktop and hold the mouse button down, drag the image file over the Dock and hold it over the Mail icon as shown below, then release the mouse button.
The Mail application will automatically open a new e-mail message with your screenshot image attached. Complete the To address, subject line and add a message if needed, then click Send.