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Screen Capture Tutorial Share Your Problems

Drew's Windows
Screen Capture Tutorial

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OK this is a really useful tutorial all about how to take ANYTHING you see on screen and either save it or send it to someone so they can see just what you're seeing. You'll find it's the best way to get tech support people to understand that you're really having the problem you're describing. That you really do see an error message about 100 characters long. That your computer really won't load their program and so much more.

Now you'll have an easy and instant way to capture a combination of text and pictures from any page. And you can use this to save pictures even if you can't copy the pictures themselves. Don't use it to steal other peoples' pictures, but certainly to archive pages you see, you'll find the Screen Capture to be an almost instant and easy tool to add to your arsenal.

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Below I'm going to show you some examples of the type of screens I capture AND HOW TO DO IT. Then I'll show you just how easy it is to cut, crop and copy your captures using Paint (although you'll be much happier with Photoshop, Fireworks, Corel or any real paint type program).

Finally I'll show you 2 easy ways to email your captures to anyone any time.


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OK, Let's go.

OK, so if you look on your keyboard you'll see that you have a 'Print Screen' Button, Some times it's up at the top above your arrow keys other times it's off to the left a little. But you'll find it. And now we're ready to use it.


Reasons To Use Screen Capture
Here's an alert screen I get whenever my email can't talk to the sever. I use something called IMAP. It talks to the DAK website usually. Anyway what's important is that when I want to tell my host what I'm seeing, I just capture a screen like this and email it to him.


A Better Way- Wow!
But Wait. Here's the first extra tip. Most people don't know this but you don't have to capture an entire screen from your computer. In fact since I have 2 monitors on all my computers, when I capture a screen it's two monitors wide. But You Don't Have To.
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If you hold down the ALT key when you hit screen capture, you'll only capture the active window. In this case it's the Alert box above. Isn't that neat? Not 1 in a 100 (non DAKonians) who know how to use Print Screen know about the special ALT Print Screen Capture. OK, onward.


More Reasons To Capture.
So back to my email problem. How do I tell my host what's wrong? Do I try to type all the numbers in the error message above (which I copied using the ALT Print Screen By the way) or do I simply capture this box and send it off. You see how much effort this can save you?


More Captures
OK, not to beat my webhost to death, but this is a Ping Plot. This tells me how fast the signal goes between my office and the site. Sometimes there's a problem at the site and sometimes there's a problem in between. Anyway now I can see it and best of all I don't have to call and see if the site is up or down. I can see for myself where the problem is and if it is at the site, I can just email the Ping. Right now everything is just fine.


Even More Captures
OK, this one isn't for my host. This is for you. Every day we get hundreds of SPAM emails blocking the DAK Customer Service email boxes. This is a copy of one from June that one of our guys sent to a customer who didn't understand how we could have missed his email. Well when we get hundreds of SPAMS, sometimes we end up deleting one of yours. Sorry. But, you can see just how useful this screen show was in showing how hard it is for any of us on the Internet to sort through and find your really important emails. We do try.


Want To Send A Copy Of A Page To Someone?
This is easy. Here's the DAK page on the LPs To CDs. Of course you could email the page. But, you could also do a screen capture of the page and send the part you want. Look below


Hang On Using Alt Print Screen Is Awesome
Ah, here's another neat trick. You can actually use the ALT Print Screen to crop just the area you want to show before you send it. So here what I've done is taken the DAK page again and reduced the page window size to show just the picture and text I want to show. Then I used the ALT Print Screen and everything is all cropped just the way I want. Of course I'll show you how to crop in a minute, but this is pretty neat.


OK Now On To How To Do The Graphics Part.
This is easy. We're going to open Paint. But, I can't encourage you enough to use Photoshop, Fireworks, or Corel or any commercial paint program. Anyway to open Paint, just go to your Start Menu, then Click Programs, then Accessories (sometimes you might have to look in System Tools to find Paint) and then Click on Paint.

Now that Paint is open, you can either hit Ctrl V, or use the edit menu to paste in the picture on your clipboard into paint. Oh did I ever mention that when you hit Print Screen, you're actually coping whatever is on screen into your clipboard? Anyway, you are. And Don't forget to take my Windows Keyboard Shortcuts if you don't know about Ctrl C, Ctrl A, and of course Ctrl V and many more.


Viola. Whatever was on your clipboard is now pasted into Paint. Here you can see that I'm using the Select Marquee to pick just the area I want to keep. In short, you can either
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send your entire screen capture with no problem, or you can be a bit more elegant and just select the part you want. Now you can do several things. If you use Ctrl C, you can just copy what's selected and paste it into a new page, you can save it as a .GIF if it's like artwork or JPEG if it's more like a picture. Either way, you'll be ready to send it off to show anyone anywhere what you want.


One more thing. You can also use the text tool to write right on the picture what you want them to look at. I often point out important parts or make notes. It's easy and it does help clarity if there's a lot going on.

So now you know everything there is to know about Screen Capture. And you know enough to crop and annotate just the parts you want to save. Now let's email our efforts to someone.


How To Email Your Pictures.

This section on emailing Screen Captures also covers emailing any of your digital pictures as well. Once you're doing this it's all the same.

Here's Outlook Express. (It's about the same with Outlook.) I figure if you're using some other program you probably have a good reason and you've taken the time to learn all about it so I won't try to do that here. Of course, all programs are similar so it's probably worth following along.

OK, do you see up top where I have my big red arrow? That's where you click to attach a picture (or any file).


Once you've clicked the Attachment Button, you'll get this dialog box. Just navigate to the picture/file you want to send (usually I put things on my desktop so I don't lose them) and then you can double click the picture or click it once and then click the 'Attach' button at the bottom right.


Once you click the attach button, you'll see your file above where you write your email. Wasn't that easy? There's really nothing to it. Just a few clicks and you're on your way.


Here's Another Way To Do It.
OK here you're looking at the DAK home page which I've 'cropped' by moving in the side and bottom to just show My New Top picks. (Of course if you go buy one of these I'd be thrilled). Anyway, So here I've hit ALT Print Screen.


OK, HOLD ON. Let me explain something. What we want to do is simply paste my screen capture into Outlook by using Ctrl V or the paste button in Outlook without making it an attachment. Well maybe I'm stupid but usually it doesn't work. For some reason that I've never figured out, Outlook won't take my paste. So if any of you know what's wrong, email me and I'll be forever beholding.

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But Fear Not, There's A Workaround. If you look above at the picture, you'll see that I pasted the DAK page into Word. Yes, that was easy. Just open Word and hit Ctrl V or the paste button and wonder of wonders, you'll paste it right into Word. Of course do you want it in Word? No. But scroll down and we'll use my workaround.


So here we are in Word. What you do is just Click on the picture and you'll see the little bar show up around your picture and probably a picture toolbar appear too. Well all you have to do once you've selected the picture is hit Ctrl C and now you really do have it on your clipboard in a way that Outlook Express can handle. Wasn't that easy?

Oh there is one thing you need to do. When you open the email you want to send, be sure you've selected 'Rich Text', NOT Plain Text. Plain text is just, well, text. No pictures, no bold, no color, nothing. It's great, but if you want to send emails with all the bells and whistles, just click on Rich Text and you'll have great looking emails. You can change it here or you can do it permanently in tools. Anyway, it doesn't matter when you "ATTACH" a picture, but it does matter when you 'Paste In' a picture.


OK a drum roll please.
Here's my email with the picture pasted in. Now there's no attachment to worry about. Some people prefer things this way. And now you know how to do both. I'm sure you'll be sending lots of pictures to friends, service techs and work-mates from now on. You now know a lot more than most people on the Internet. Enjoy and Good Luck. . .Drew


A few last things that I want to mention.
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OK Drew, Here's My eMail address.
I was was not
a DAKonian before.

It's Spam Free. I won't rent, sell, or trade your name. . . Drew
See My Privacy Pledge

Grabbing Screen Captures like most things we do on our computers is simply picking up one more tool. And there's just no way that anyone (maybe other than me) is simply going to read a manual to find out all the things you can do with your computer or any particular software program.
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So, stay tuned and I'll keep ferreting out useful tips along with finding the neatest and newest electronic tools for us to use at home and at the office

f you'll use the link at the bottom to tell me what you'd like to learn how to do next, I'll try to create the next step-by-step tutorial about your subject.

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There's no question that the more you know the more you can do. And I want you to be able to do a lot with all the new technologies that I run into and that you help me look for.

So be sure to check out my keyboard shortcuts tutorial because you really do need to know and use the Ctrl C, Ctrl V and Ctrl A to use screen capture and do lots of the things you want to do on your computer. And there's a bunch more.

Still have questions? Did I miss something (probably)? I'll add it if you write to me.

Enjoy. . . Drew


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