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How to make a screen shot?

To make a screen shot you either need ctrl + prt sc or fn + prt sc (depending on the age of your computer). When you do this, it looks like nothing has happened, but you have actually put a picture of your computer screen on your clipboard. You can paste it into a Word document, or a Paint document, save it as a .doc or .jpg file and attach or send it wherever you need to. [Macintosh users: Scroll to the bottom of this FAQ.]

Need more details? Here's a step-by-step explanation:


--Every Windows computer has a 'ctrl' button in the lower left hand corner of the keyboard. Some computers have a 'fn' button right next to the 'ctrl' button. If you have 'fn', you should use it to make a screen shot. If not, you'll need to use 'ctrl' + 'alt' (also in the lower left hand corner--hold them down at the same time).

--You'll also need to find 'prt sc' (print screen) which is in the upper right of your keyboard. So you want to hold down either two keys at the same time (fn + prt sc) or three at the same time (ctrl + alt + prt sc).

--As soon as you do this, your computer takes a “photograph” of what’s on your screen. The photograph is stored inside your computer in an invisible place called the clipboard.

--To make the photograph visible, you need to open another program (for example, Word or Paint) and paste the photograph in. In almost every program, the command for paste is ‘ctrl’ + ‘v’.

--Once the screen shot is visible, you'll need to save the document or file. If you are saving it in a word processing program, make sure to Save As... Word document (.doc). If you are saving it in Paint, the best choices are JPEG or GIF.

To see a video demonstration of a screen shot on a PC click here.

You can make screen shots two ways.

--All versions of OS 10 can make a screen shot by holding down the Shift + Command + 3 keys at the same time. If you have your computer volume turned on, your computer will make a sound like a camera taking a picture. The screenshot will be placed on your Desktop and will be named Picture1.png or Screen shot xxx with the date and time. The file is saved as an image and can be attached to an assignment or placed inside of a Word document.

--OS 10.6 and 10.7 users can also take a screen shot using Preview.

  • Open Preview and go to the File menu and choose Take Screen Shot
  • You can choose From Selection... or From Window... or From Entire Screen.
  • A crosshair will appear if you choose From Selection... and you can drag to select the area you want a screen shot taken of. A new image will appear in Preview and can be saved to .pdf, .jpg, .png or other image formats.
  • A camera will appear if you choose From Window... and you can single-click on the window you want a screen shot taken of. A new image will appear in Preview and can be saved to .pdf, .jpg, .png or other image formats.
  • A Countdown to screen shot has started will appear if you choose From Entire Screen and the timer will give you a chance to arrange your windows to the way you want them to appear int he screen shot. A new image will appear in Preview and can be saved to .pdf, .jpg, .png or other image formats.

To see a video demonstration of screen shot on a MAC  click here

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