Sometimes it’s useful to be able to capture a screenshot or “photo” of what’s appearing on your computer screen at a particular moment. Or perhaps you might want to capture only a partial area of the screen.
Screenshots can be used in lots of different ways. They can be very useful for work and college type projects for instance. A couple of examples that you’ll already have come across are:-
- Illustrations in eBooks
- Graphics in websites
eBooks and websites (like this one) often have some sort of step by step guide using screenshots illustrating how to do something. How to use a software program for instance.
Capturing screenshots on a Chromebook is as easy as falling off a log.
All you need to do is press and hold down the [Control] key and then tap the [Switch Window] key as shown below:-
Nothing much appears to happen apart from a momentary blink of the screen. But whatever was on the screen at the time will appear as a “png” picture file in the Chromebook’s File Manager. If you only want to capture part of the screen, this time press and hold down both the [Control] key and the [shift] key and then tap the [Switch Window] key. When the little cross-hairs image appears, drag it around the area you want to capture. Either way, the image you have just captured will show up as something like “screenshot-xxxxxxxx-xxxxxx.png” in the File Manager.
To open the File Manager just press and hold down the [Control] key and this time tap the [o] key. (That’s the letter “o” rather than a numerical zero)
If you want to copy the resulting file (say to a USB memory stick) simply plug in a USB stick and then copy the file by selecting it and then press and hold down the [Ctrl] key and then tap the [C] key. Next, select the USB drive by clicking on it and paste the file into the USB folder in File Manager by pressing and holding down the [Ctrl] key and this time tap the [V] key.
In other words it’s just the same sort of copy and paste function that you’ll probably already be familiar with.
Here’s an example screenshot of Angry Birds running on a Chromebook:-
Next thing you might want to do is crop the image or alter its size and that will be the topic in a future post using one of the Chromebook photo-editing apps.
PC & Mac Screenshots
I actually captured the screen-shot below using a software program called Snagit by techsmith.com. But you can do it for free on both a Mac and PC and there’s no need to install any software.
If you haven’t come across this before you’ll be amazed at how easy it is. All you need to do is press the [Print Screen] key on your PC keyboard. That’s it. Really! You might not think that anything’s happened when you do this but please read on to find out what’s going on.
The [Print Screen] key is on the top row to the right of the F1- F12 keys on a standard PC keyboard. After you’ve pressed this key, whatever is showing on your screen at the time is captured to your clipboard.
You can then paste the contents of your clipboard anywhere you like. You could paste [Ctrl+V] it into a “Word” or “Excel” document, use it as an image in a web page or in some other application.
A slight variation is that if you press and hold down the [Alt] key and then tap the [Print Screen] key you will capture only the active window.
For either option, you might want to crop the image or alter its size. If so, import the image into your favourite photo-editing program and make any adjustments required.
Similar idea to the PC screenshot above but on a Mac press and hold down the [Shift] and [Mac] keys together and then tap the  key. This will capture the screen-shot to your desktop as a PDF file. Or tap the  key instead and then drag the cross-hair cursor that will appear around the area you want to capture.
You can then double-click on the icon that will have appeared on your desktop (it will be called Picture 1 or similar). This will open it in “Preview”.
To edit the screenshot, export it from “Preview” as a JPEG image and then import it into your photo editing program ready to crop etc. prior to pasting it to where you want to use it.
iPod Touch screenshot
It’s the same procedure for all three. Here’s a photo that I captured with a screenshot (and then cropped slightly) from within a newspaper app on my iPod Touch:-
Here’s another one – this time it’s a screen shot showing the familiar introduction screen of a DVD movie that I copied to my iPod Touch:-
Side Note Here.
Watch out for a future post where I’ll include a feature about copying and converting DVD’s to watch them on an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch).
To grab a screenshot with any of these, just press the main button on the front and at virtually the same time press and release the “off” button at the top. Perhaps allow just a split second before pressing the second button. But that’s it! If you’re in a quiet environment you’ll hear a sound like a camera shutter and the photo will automatically be saved in your Photos app.
If you want to use a photo or screenshot like I’ve done here, simply connect your iPad/iPhone/iPad Touch and copy the file from your Photos app to say your Desktop. If you want to crop or edit it in some way, change the file name from IMG_0001 or whatever the number is to something that your photo editing software will understand, e.g. – ipodphoto.