Tag Archives: snipping tool

Rectangular Annotations Using The Snippet Tool

Although the snipping tool that comes with Windows 7 provides the option to capture a rectangular screenshot, it doesn’t allow you to create rectangular annotations on the screenshot. Boo! In fact, the miserly annotation tools that the snippet tool provides are pretty poor. They amount to the provision of merely the pen tool and the highlighter tool. We’ll skip those because they don’t offer any precise way of annotating with rectangles.

What you can do, and this isn’t ideal (come on Microsoft!), is take the screenshot using the snipping tool and then open the screenshot in Microsoft Paint, where you can add the annotations.

Snipping Tool Save


To do this you will have to save your snipping tool screenshot somewhere and then open it up in Paint. With the image open in Paint, select the rectangle shape, select a colour and then drag the rectangle over the area you want to annotate.

Select a Colour In Paint

Click to enlarge

To recap:

  • snipping tool – to take the screenshot
  • Microsoft Paint – to draw a rectangle with a colour of your own choosing

In an ideal world, the snipping tool would come with more useful annotating capabilities, but at least if you have Windows 7 you should have access to Paint in addition to the snipping tool.

Don’t forget, when you have finished annotating in Paint, you must save the image again.

Snipping Tool For XP

Although Windows XP is now ten years old, many people see it as a reliable operating system and still use it. By default, however, Windows XP does not come with an in-built snipping tool like the Windows 7 Snipping Tool.

If you need a snipping tool for XP, you will need to look at “third party” solutions, and we’ve got two listed here.

The Snippy Snipping Tool For XP

Snippy was made for XP! Once downloaded, the Snippy icon will appear in the taskbar notification area. Clicking on the icon activates Snippy and you can then mark out the region of the screen that you want to copy. Also, if you are cutting out a portion of an Internet Explorer window, the URL will also be copied to the clipboard; this makes it very convenient to select something interesting on a web site and send it out in an email message.

When you initially activate Snippy, the mouse cursor changes to a pen with which you can draw around what you want to snip. If you want to copy a rectangualr area of the screen, you can hold down the shift key while you drag with the mouse.

Gadwin PrintScreen Snipping Tool For XP

The Gadwin PrintScreen Snipping Tool is a step up from Snippy and allows you to set up hot keys to initiate the snip. The Destination tab controls whether the screen prints out instantly, is copied to the clipboard, is saved to a specific folder, or even sent via e-mail. You can perform full screen captures, or capture only a specific window.

You can resize your images and save them to 6 different image formats.

But the best bit about this snipping tool is that it works with Windows XP.

Snipping Tool

Windows 7 comes with a very handy screen capturing tool called the Snipping Tool. You can use the Snipping Tool to capture a screen shot of any object on your screen, and then annotate, save, or share the image.

Screen shots, or snips, are a good way of illustrating what you’re talking about, whether it be in a Word document or an email. Suppose a colleague is having trouble finding the place in Word Options where you turn off the display of the Mini Toolbar. You could navigate there yourself in Word, take a screen shot using the Snipping Tool and then email it to your colleague. You would then attain hero status and never want for friends again.

To run the Snipping Tool, click the Start button and type in “snip”. Click on Snipping Tool when you see it listed. You are now ready to snip!

Run The Snipping Tool

The default snip is a rectangular one – this means that you click and drag a rectangle around what you want to snip. When you release the mouse, what you’ve snipped appears in a new window for you to work with.

Work With Snip

Click to enlarge

Annotating The Snip

Sometimes you might find it useful to highlight certain elements in your screen shot. For example, if you want to point out to the aforementioned colleague where to turn of the mini toolbar in Word, a good thing to do is draw a circle around the option. You can draw a freehand circle with the pen tool, and the pen tool is active as soon as you have made the snip. All you have to do is click and drag on the screenshot to start drawing.

Note: You can’t ctrl-z to undo your work! However, you can use the eraser to delete any annotations you make…

Using the standard blue pen, you can get something like this:

Snipping Tool Blue Pen

You can also highlight using the Snipping Tool to get something like this:

Snipping Tool Highlighter

How you annotate is entirely up to you. You can change the tool you use by using the toolbar (you don’t say!):

Snipping Tool Toolbar

There are four kinds of snips that you can take:

  • Free-form Snip – draw a free-form shape around an object on the screen.
  • Rectangular Snip – drag the cursor over an object to form a rectangle.
  • Window Snip – select a whole window, such as a browser window or dialog box, that you want to capture.
  • Full-screen Snip – capture the entire screen.

To choose which form of snip to use, click the down arrow to the right of the New button.


Four Kinds Of Snips

Alternatively, if you use the same kind of snip all the time you can just click the New button and you’ll be ready to use the last form of snip you took.

Saving The Snip

As soon as you have taken your screen shot using the Snipping Tool, it’s in your clipboard. This is handy because it means that you can paste it straight into your Microsoft Word document or your Outlook email. The clipboard is very clever, too. The annotations you add to your screen shot are also added to the clipboard. So you can take a screen shot, add some highlighting and drawings using the Snipping Tool’s tools, and when you ctrl-v to paste the screen shot into a Word document, it will include all your scribblings. Cool.
Alternatively, if you want to save your screen shot as an image in is own right, you can do that too. Press ctrl-s or click File > Save As, and then name the image and find a location on your computer to save it.