tech tips for writers

Tech Tips for Writers #124: What the Heck Does ‘Print Screen’ Do?

Tech Tips for Writers is an occasional post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future Tip.

Q: I push ‘PrintScreen’ (or PrtScn) and nothing happens.

I have to teach this as a full-blown lesson in my classes because it is so counter-intuitive.

  • When you push PrintScreen, it saves a copy of your screen to the clipboard. Now, you must tell the computer where to put it.
  • For example, open MS Word and a new document. Paste (using Ctrl+V or right click+paste or the icon on the toolbar–or Edit-paste) and a copy of your screen will appear as a picture.

It can be pasted into docs, emails, cards, wherever you’d like.  Just don’t forget to paste it!

If you’re looking for more than a snapshot of your entire screen, that’s called a ‘screenshot’. Most (well, actually, all I know of) digital devices have a method of accomplishing that without extra software, add-ons, or tools:

  • Windows devices (laptops, desktops that run Windows): it’s a tool included in Windows called the Snipping Tool. Once you activate this tool, you can take a full or partial snapshot of your screen with some annotations
  • Mac: Command Shift 3 for a full screenshot; Command Shift 4 for a partial screenshot
  • Surface tablet: hold down volume and Windows button
  • iPad: hold Home button and power button at same time; this saves a snapshot of your screen to your camera roll
  • Online: use a screenshot tool like Jing (software download), Nimbus (online websites only), or Snagit (software or an extension)

Question? Leave a comment here and I’ll answer it within the next thirty days.

More tech tips:

Quick Search for Plagiarized Images

The 3-Click Rule

Keyboard Shortcut for Find

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy and To Hunt a Sub, her debut fiction. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her nonfiction books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

64 thoughts on “Tech Tips for Writers #124: What the Heck Does ‘Print Screen’ Do?

    • Yep. I use it to grab pictures that inform my story, remind me what I’m trying to explain. I also use it when my computer freezes to grab a screenful of changes I made before I reboot (which is what I had to do today!)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m a Mac user, and the tip to use COMMAND + 3 or COMMAND + 4 has been one of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve ever received about using my Mac to the fullest. So much easier than the Grab function that comes with Mac! The shots open in Preview, where you can convert them to jpegs, edit them–for example by adding text or lines–or adjust the size. Or you can just rename them on your desktop and drag them to a folder for future use. I also use the snipping tool when I work on a PC. It’s not as handy, but then, very little on a PC is as handy as the same function on a Mac🙂 !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE print screen, but I have dual monitors and it captures both, so I typically have to edit the image after the capture. It’s one of my favorite tools–that and the clipping tool.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Tech Tips for Writers #124: What the Heck Does ‘Print Screen’ Do? – Kate McClelland

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