This will be old news to many readers, but I only recently discovered the Snipping Tool in Windows 7, and it is so useful and easy to use, I feel compelled to share. With this little gadget you can take a stable snapshot of anything on your computer screen and paste it into a Word doc, an e-mail, a blog post, or pretty much anything you would normally paste into. There’s often no need to save it or crop it, because you select exactly what you need in the first place. And no need to attach it, because you can simply paste it.
The snipping tool can capture anything on your screen (the image above is a snip I took of my screen saver), but my favorite use of this tool is to grab a chunk of redlined text from MS Word or part of a PDF of page proof to paste into an e-mail when communicating with a writer. If you’ve ever tried to paste actual redlining into an e-mail, you know that even if the results look good at your end (unlikely), they’re completely unpredictable at the other end. Likewise trying to grab just part of a PDF without jumping through a lot of hoops.
Snipping is much faster. Here’s how to do it:
—Find something you'd like to snap a picture of on your screen—let’s say a paragraph of tracked changes—and make sure it’s the front-most window on your screen.
—Locate the Snipping Tool in the Windows Start menu (use the search box if necessary) and choose it.
—When it opens, your screen will dim and your cursor will turn into crosshairs.
—Drag the crosshairs to highlight the area you want to snip. (If you don’t like the first result, click New in the Snipping Tool box and it will let you start over. To abandon the tool at any point, press the Esc key.)
Once you have your snippet, it stays on your clipboard until you paste it somewhere (or until you copy something else, whichever comes first). If you think you’ll need that snippet again, you can save it in various formats.
A disadvantage to snipping is that the resulting image, while stable and uneditable, is sometimes a little fuzzy. It helps to grab the image by one corner and shrink it a bit. Here’s an image I grabbed from a Word doc. I was able to paste it directly into another Word doc and into an email, but in order to use it in this post I had to save it and upload it. (TypePad is fussy that way, but you might be able to paste directly into your own blog).
Here’s a snip from a PDF of some page proofs:
Not too bad, eh? I won’t claim that this is the right tool for every kind of image capture, but whenever you need a quick and easy screen-grab, it might be just the thing. Tip: Once you find the tool and open it, it will appear in your taskbar. Right-click on its taskbar box and choose “Pin this program to taskbar” to keep it handy.
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