The Print Screen Button

June 1, 2009

Have you ever noticed a button on your keyboard labeled something like “Prt Scr”? The actual abbreviation on your keyboard may be slightly different, but it stands for Print Screen. Those of you who used personal computers before Windows came around may remember that the print screen button would actually print what was on the screen as soon as you hit the button. But when Windows came around, that changed.

Now when you hit the print screen button, it takes a screen shot (a picture) and stores it in the Windows Clipboard. The Windows Clipboard is the temporary storage area that is used when you copy and paste. After you hit the print screen button, pull up Microsoft Word or some other similar program. Then click on Edit/Paste in the menu (or hit Ctrl-v on the keyboard). It will paste an image of what the screen looked like when you hit the print screen button. Once you’ve got the screen shot in Word, you can change the size, crop, and so forth.

But what if you don’t want an image of the whole screen? Perhaps you just want a shot of the current windowed application. No problem. Instead of hitting print screen by itself, hold down the Alt key on you keyboard and hit the print screen button.

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