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How to Make a Screenshot and Put it in a Message

Submitted By: brynn Date: August 16, 2015, 02:08:52 PM Views: 843

 
How to Make a Screenshot and Put it in a Message

Often when you ask for help in, well, any kind of internet forum, but especially so in a graphics forum, you might be asked to provide a screenshot.  After all, as they say, "A picture is worth a thousand words."  While it's not hard to do, nothing about it is entirely obvious for a new computer user.  You also might see it called a screen dump, screenie, screen cap or capture, screen print, print screen, etc.

This is a detailed tutorial, but the steps are written so that if you're in a hurry, you can read just the 1st sentence of each step, and then move on to the next; while those who want a fuller understanding can read the whole thing.  Since I've only ever used Windows, the details covered will be for Windows.  But the general process goes for any operating system.

You don't need any special programs to do this, other than what you can find on any Windows computer.  Once you become more experienced with graphics and computers, you may want to get some specialized tools, and especially you may come to prefer a certain graphics program for this task.

And finally, this is one of those things that takes a lot longer to explain than it actually does to do it.  After just a little bit of practice, you'll be doing it in your sleep :-)

There are 2 general steps to providing a screenshot -- make the screenshot and display the image.

Make the screenshot

For any computer:

     1.  Make sure that what you want to show in the message, is in the middle of your screen, and that all or most of it is showing.
     2.  Press the Prnt Scrn key once.  This copies the entire content of whatever is showing on your screen, to the clipboard.  (You can't see the clipboard, it's sort of imaginary.)
     3.  Go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > Paint (or open any raster graphics program, such as The GIMP, MyPaint, Paint.NET, or photo editing program).  Paint comes installed on probably all Windows computers, but you could really paste the image into any graphics program.....even Inkscape, although that would be the long way around (and probably make it a little blurry).
     4.  Once Paint, or whatever program you're using is open, click the Paste button.  Now you have an image of the entire content of your screen, ready to save.  But there may be some reason why you want only a small portion of the image to go into the message (like to protect personal info that may be visible on the screen, or save space).  So you might want to crop it.  Or maybe you would like to add some additional graphics, like text, or "....circles and arrows (and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us" ).
          4.a.  If you're using Paint, I've actually found it kind of tricky to crop and illustrate.  Maybe it's been updated since I last used it, I don't know.  But if you just need to get the image in the message, go ahead and save the whole thing.
          4.b.  If you're using some other graphics program, it's probably easier (than MS Paint) to crop and illustrate, if you like.
     5.  Click Save As.
     6.  Choose which format (extension) you want for this image.  Any of them will do, but PNG or JPG would be preferable for this forum.  Give it a name, and don't forget where you save it, because you'll need to find it again later.

For Windows7:

     1.  For Windows 7, go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > Snipping Tool.
     2.  When the Snipping Tool opens, there will be a small window, and the regular cursor will be turned into a crosshair (giant plus sign).  Place the crosshair in any imaginary corner of the soon-to-be new image.
     3.  Press the mouse button and hold it down while you drag the crosshair to the opposite imaginary corner of the image you want to show; so that you've dragged a border around whatever part of the screen you want in the screenshot.
     4.  Release the mouse button, and the new image is now showing in the Snipping Tool window.
     5.  Click Save or Save As.
     6.  Choose which format (extension) you want for this image.  Any of them will do, but PNG or JPG would be preferable for this forum.  Give it a name, and don't forget where you save it, because you'll need to find it again later.

Display the image

The decision about whether to insert or upload often depends on whether the forum offers an attachment feature.  It's probably a little faster to attach an image.  But because hosting images takes so much more space than text (and therefore costs more), attachments priviledges are often limited, and in some forums, non-existant.  Attachments are allowed here.  And if your screenshot is truly the entire screen, an attachment would be preferred.

Attach an image or other file to a message:

     1.  Either click New Topic, or Reply, to open the message editor.  Look below the box where you type the message, and click "Attachments and other options".
     2.  Click Browse button.
     3.  Locate the screenshot image that you saved above, click on it, and then click Open or OK.
     4.  If you need to add another attachment, click just below Attach: field on "(more attachments)".
     5.  If you mess up and need to delete an attachment, click just to the right of the Browse button, on "(Clear Attachment)".
     6.  When you're finished with typing the message, just click Post.

Insert an image into a message:


     1.  Choose a host for your image. 1
     2.  Follow the prompts and/or instructions at the host site, to upload the image.  Tip:  Probably there will be a Browse button, just like with attachments.
     3.  Follow the instructions and/or prompts at the host site for copying the image's URL (internet address).  Tip:  Probably it will start with http://.
          3.a.  If your screenshot is truly the size of the entire screen, please look for and copy a special code that the host site provides for thumbnail size images.  It will place a thumnail size of the image in the message, and create, automatically, a link to the full size.  All you have to do is copy the short string of code.
     4.  Come back to the browser tab where you have the message editor open, and the cursor is where you want the image to go.  If you copied something that starts with http://, click "Insert Image" button .  This will place a small bit of code in your message, and the cursor will be flashing right in the exact place where you need to paste the URL.
     5.  Past the URL right where the cursor is flashing.  You can do that by either right-click > Paste;  or Ctrl + V (which is the keyboard shortcut for pasting).
          5.a.  If you copied a small bit of code for a thumbnail image (probably starts with  "{url=http://...}") (except with this kind of brackets []), you can just paste that small string of code directly into the message box (without clicking Insert Image button).
     6.  When you finish typing your message, click Preview, to make sure the image looks like you expect.
     7.  If everything looks ok, just click Post.

1 There are a multitude of places to put your images, which are available across the internet, both free and paid.   I would say there are 3 varieties -- simple image hosts, file-sharing sites, and gallery sites.  Image hosts only accept images; which is also true of gallery sites, except they may sometimes host other files, in some cases; while file sharing sites will accept all kinds of files.

One attractive feature of the file sharing sites, is that you don't have to worry about inserting or attaching an image.   You would just paste the link to it into your message.   But personally, I would suggest image hosts, or attaching the image, for the simple reason that people who might want to help you on the forum, might not have time, or want to go to the trouble of downloading your file, before they can view it. By using an image host, you have the image either inserted into the message, or otherwise, it's attached.   As someone who has answered hundreds of questions about Inkscape, I often do pass up answering a message, if I have to download a file to see the problem.   I'll leave it for someone else to answer.   Maybe that's just me, but worth considering, imo.

A quick selection of free image hosts that I know to be reputable:  ImageShack, imgh.us*, imgur

I haven't really kept up with file sharing sites, since I don't use them.   I know that Mediafire* has been around for a long time.   And I know that dropbox*, which is a cloud based storage/file sharing site, seems to be very popular.   I couldn't speak to their reputability though.

And finally, what I mean by gallery sites, is deviantART*, or flickr*.  They usually will offer user accounts and better searching; while image hosts may not offer either.

  "Alice's Restaurant" by Alro Guthrie
 * accepts SVG images/files
 
 
Brynn
August 2015



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