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!

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.

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:

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

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

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.

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.