Windows Print Screen Key

The Windows Print Screen Key can be a powerful tool if you know how to use it to its full potential. There are some who initially think that when they press the Print Screen Key that it will literally be sent to the printer! That's okay, we've all been there, done that. Just don't tell anyone! Actually, if you are using DOS, it will be sent to the printer.

Print Screen/SysRq

The key may appear differently depending on the manufacturer of your Windows keyboard. The standard position would be at the upper right hand corner of your keyboard and may appear within this sequence of keys...

F9 F10 F11 F12  Print Screen
 Scroll Lock Pause/Break



The sole function of this key is to take a snapshot or picture of your computer screen and copy it to the clipboard (the clipboard is an invisible holding area for content that is copied). Its the same thing as if you copied something from a document and it is now on your clipboard waiting to be pasted in its final destination. Its that simple. As quoted by Webopedia...

Often abbreviated Prt Scr, the Print Screen key is a useful key supported on most PCs. In DOS, pressing the Print Screen key causes the computer to send whatever images and text are currently on the display screen to the printer. Some graphics programs and Windows, use the Print Screen key to obtain Screen Captures.

Now, how do you get to see those Screen Captures or maybe even send them to someone? The quickest and most effective method is to have a graphics editing program handy. If that is not an option, you can open your favorite word processing program and create a new document. Position your cursorFlashing Cursorat the beginning of the document or wherever you want the screenshot to appear.

Using your keyboard, press Ctrl + V which will Paste the screenshot in your open document. Now you can Save (Ctrl + S) the document to wherever you wish, make sure to name it appropriately so you can easily find it.

You can now send this file to anyone via email, use it in a presentation, create your own little book of screenshots showing how to perform a specific task, etc. The possibilities are endless.

We use the Windows Print Screen Key regularly. You probably will too once you get the hang of it!

Windows Alt Prt Scr

Now, for those who have read this far, we are going to share another neat little feature of the Windows Print Screen Key. Pressing these keys...

Alt + Print Screen

...will take a screenshot of the currently selected window, not the entire screen like the normal screenshot function. This allows you to target that specific window that you have open and nothing else. No more cropping those screenshots to grab the content you were after!

Windows XP/Office 2003/Outlook Users - 3 Step Print Screen and Email

Users of Windows XP/Office 2003/Outlook can use their Print Screen Key (PrtScn) and paste (Ctrl+V) the results directly into an email message or any other Office program (like Word) that supports images. Note that this does not apply to text based email.

Windows print screen images are saved in .bmp (Bitmap) format.

Using one of the above two methods; full screen capture or open window only capture, go through these 3 simple steps to capture a screenshot and send it via email...

  1. Take your full screenshot by pressing the Print Screen Key or...
    take your open window screenshot (currently selected window) by pressing the Alt + Print Screen Key.
  2. Open a new email message and position your cursorFlashing Cursorwhere you would like your captured image to be placed.
  3. Press Ctrl + V to paste the captured image into your new email.

In summary, it is this simple...

Do I Need a Print Screen Program?

For most Print Screen requirements, users of Windows (XP/Vista/7) and Office (2003/2007/2010) may not need to buy a Print Screen Program.



Here is a link to a picture of a clickable Windows Keyboard with detailed explanations of each key. Use your back button to return to this page.

Windows Keyboard


Last modified: 2010-10-02T09:41:17-0700


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