Free Screen Image Captures – Use PrScn to Capture Any Windows Screen Graphic

Do you ever wonder how people go about capturing the image of a currently displaying Windows screen? Perhaps not, maybe you already own a graphic capturing package. That is fine, keep reading; you may still find value in this article. Of a certain, those who run Windows Vista and Windows 7 have such a program. It is called “Snipping Tool” and it resides under Accessories in the Program Manager menu.

A problem exists when using “Snipping Tool”: other than a highlighter and an ink pen, it has no worthwhile editing functions. Images that are captured with this tool must be saved and then reopened within a full graphic editing software. To further complicate matters, older versions of Windows do not include “Snipping Tool”; neither do most graphic editing packages include screen-capturing features.

Here is a little known but long existing Windows screen-image capturing method. It too requires that you open an image-editing tool, but there is no need for double programs, and neither must you have a graphic tool that includes a screen capture utility.

On your keyboard you will see a key labeled “PrtSc/SysRq”. This can be used, when setup under the right program arrangements, to force a printer dump of the current screen. Right now, a printer dump is not our focus. Instead, we will use this special key to capture the current display screen.

It works like this:

  1. Tap the “PrtSc/SysRq” key one time. [Do it now. It will not hurt a thing].
  2. Open the Windows integrated Paint software (Start, All Programs, Accessories, Paint). [Or open whatever graphic program that touches your fancy].
  3. Click on the Paste function.
  4. There it is, the screen shot that you just captured using the Windows “PrtSc/SysRq” screen capture routine.
  5. Limit the capture to just what you want by applying the graphic editor’s Crop function.

This is quick and easy, even more so than a Snipping Tool type software. I use this Windows feature whenever I pull a picture from Wikimedia Commons for use with my ezine articles. It often saves time over going through the download route. What’s more, the captured image can also be pasted directly into a word process or most any other software that receives graphic input. Just for the show of it, I captured this screen as I typed, pasted the capture onto the bottom of the article, captured the copy, and then pasted the copy into Paint for final cropping and saving.

Cool, Huh?