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ITsVISTA Tip 4: Vista’s Snipping Tool Captures More Than My Screen

TipsWhile the old ‘Prnt Scrn’ still works in Vista to capture the entire screen to the clipboard, you then need to paste that image into a program so you can grab the part you want, and save it to disk. Vista’s new Snipping Tool simplifies this task.

Available under the Start menu’s Programs/Accessories (or simply type Snipping Tool in the search box), Snipping Tool allows you to capture the entire screen, the active window, a rectangle, or even a ‘freestyle’ selection. Once captured, it can save the file to disk as HTML, JPG, GIF, or PNG. If you have the mail program setup, you can also e-mail the file.

That’s not all. Beyond just capturing and saving part of your screen, you can annotate or highlight parts of the capture with the pen and highlighting tools. Below I’ve captures a freeform window, highlighted a few things, and used the pen to draw an arrow and write ‘OK!’.

In the next capture (part of the Snipping Tool’s Help page) I turned off the colored line around the outside, and used the rectangular tool. It also contains some highlighting, and the pen was used in two different colors to underline text.

The new Vista Snipping Tool is a great addition, especially for someone putting together a tutorial like this. The ironic thing is that I couldn’t use the Snipping Tool to capture the first two images on this page, since the interface disappears when you click to select something (so I had to fall back on Prnt Scrn). It did work for the last two, and very easily I might add, not only capturing my screen, but also my heart (violin music plays in background)…

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  • Brian

    Jul 24, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    I have a problem accessing a secure portal at work to process my email. Originally I could not enter text on a reply, but that sorted after I downloaded a MIME update for the interface. However now I can type text but Outlook crashes when press the send button. I have tried setting the security to its lowest setting and turniing off protected mode but it makes no difference. Any idea how to get around it before I return this computer/.

  • RebelEagle

    Sep 23, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    Ok I actually have a couple questions. The 1st refers to the snippit tool; where exactly is it?/I have Home premium is it not included with this version. followed your directions to the letter ,even tryed the run feature still no snippit tool located?.
    Ok question #2: why do you care for the UAC sooo much; I honestly find it very annoying;kinda like an insult to my intelligence;but everyone has there own opionion and mine is it’s a nuisance;show or tell me a very good reason why I should turn it back on.

  • Joe

    Sep 27, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Try turning on the Tablet features:
    Control panel
    Classic view
    Program and features
    Turn windows features on or off
    Select tablet optional features

    As to UAC, I’m a ‘Systems Administrator’, so much of my day is spent undoing the stupid things users sometimes do. If UAC helps prevent some of those things, it’s the best thing since sliced bread! Understandably, if you’re a power user, and are careful about what you click on and what you install, then UAC isn’t nearly as useful. I leave mine on simply to help me in case one day I have a brain fart and start to do something stupid, but once your machine is setup, I barely ever see it.

  • Jarde

    Nov 4, 2007 at 8:23 am

    UAC also prevents silent installs. I call myself as a power user and I newer turn uac off, because not my own actions, but if some prog trying to do silent install I`d like to be notified..

  • RebelEagle

    Nov 6, 2007 at 2:50 am

    Ok You’ve convinced me to turn UAC back on and After reading the comment about programs being silently installed without my knowledge; I believe that being the main reason for turning it back on, and it will stay on too. thx for the feedback.

  • Selena

    Dec 20, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Is the snipping tool for Vista for a certain version, I don’t seem to have it with the basic?

  • Roopa

    Feb 13, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    hey..can you tell how to use prt scr ,after pressing it it copies to clip board but where to paste it to get image?

  • Joe

    Feb 13, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    @Roopa: Wordpad is a simple option if you don’t have a high-end graphics program like Photoshop to paste the image into.

  • Leona H

    Feb 17, 2008 at 1:49 am

    I did have Snipping Tool before HP reformatted my har disk but now it isn’t any where on computer. It was a very helpful tool. Where can I get it to down load?
    Appreciate info.
    thank you

  • Leona H

    Feb 17, 2008 at 2:12 am

    Fot\rgot to ask… i don’t know how to make the “prt scr” function.. been on computer since ’81 ad just nveer used it..duh! I tried it with and with the ctrl but nada! help

  • Joe

    Feb 17, 2008 at 10:48 am

    @Leona: Strange that it just disappeared, you can’t find it by typing ‘snip’ in the search bar? PRT SCR works by pressing that button, then pasting into a program that accepts images, like Photoshop, or even WordPad.

  • Leona H

    Feb 20, 2008 at 12:28 am

    I know that, but there is no icon and no snipping tool on my hard disk anywhere according to my search and also a browse shows only cardfile.exe and folder en-US.
    any suggestions?

  • Ken Mason

    Jan 14, 2009 at 2:07 am

    Here are 2 more printscreen tips:

    captures only the ACTIVE window.

    Hit to capture an error window’s TEXT onto the clipboard. You don’t have to even have to select the window.

    Neat, eh?

  • Ken Mason

    Jan 14, 2009 at 2:09 am

    Looks like my message got truncated.

    Hit Alt-PrtScn to capture only the ACTIVE window, and Ctrl-C to capture an error window’s TEXT.

  • Dessy

    Feb 4, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Hey, I have a question. I tried turning it on from the features on/off but there’s no such thing as a “Select tablet optional features”! I thought that it might have been named differently but there’s nothing with “tablet” or “optional” there!
    I could really use some help with this :(

  • mike

    Apr 19, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Home Basic doesnt have the SNIP tool

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