Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Making and editing screenshot

This is something I frequently do and sometimes I get questions where I have to request for screenshots, so might as well make a post in detail on making and editing screenshots.

Irfanview photo editor

To take a screenshot of the computer screen, press the "Print Screen" (Print Scrn|Sys Rq) key on your keyboard. This will copy the image into your clipboard. I like to use Irfanview (click BACK button to get back to this page). It is free, lots of features and very good. However, the creator of the program do accept voluntary donations. If you want that, just type or copy-paste "irfanview" into the search box above, tick the WEB radio button and search. You will find lots of sites to download Irfanview.

Once you have Irfanview in your program, open the program, click EDIT > PASTE in the menu bar at the top and the screenshot will be pasted into the photo editor window. If you want only a specific section of the screen, click and drag your mouse around the section. The section will be surrounded by a black box. Then click EDIT > CROP SELECTION in the menu bar and the section will be cropped. Then click FILE > SAVE AS.... and save it into a suitable folder in your computer. I normally save this in a folder I named "Temporary".

If you want to show the cursor (mouse) in the screenshot, first, make sure you are at the website of which you want the screenshot, then go to Irfanview. Click the "C" key and a screen capture set-up will appear:

Irfanview photo editor screen capture setup

At the top left, you will see the hot key for executing the screen capture direct into Irfanview, and by default, it is set to ctrl+F11. I suggest you leave it as it is unless you have used that for some other purposes. You can chose to capture the whole screen or only the foreground. The radio button to include the mouse cursor is ticked by default, and you should leave it as it is if you want to show the mouse cursor in the screen capture. Once everything is set to your satisfaction, click START and you will be taken to the page you were in before. Place your mouse where you want it to show. If there is a drop-down menu, and you want to show the choices, click the down arrow. If what you see is what you want in the screenshot, press simultaneously ctrl+F11 and the screen will appear in the Irfanview photo editor window. You can do whatever you want like crop, insert text, resize the image, etc, and when done, you can save it in a very wide range of file formats, the most popular ones would be .jpg or .gif

Windows Paint

You can also use Windows Paint which comes with MS Windows and is accessible via START > ACCESSORIES. You can same thing as above, that is press PRINT SCREEN, then paste into Paint. You can also crop, but the process is much more cumbersome than with Irfanview which I prefer.

There is one thing available in Paint that I can't do with Irfanview, that is, highlight a section with a colored circle or point to something with a line or an arrow you will have to draw yourself using line. To illustrate, I will make a screenshot of the post editor as I am preparing this post.

highlight part of screenshot with red ellipse

This screenshot was first done with MS Paint, the color red was selected by clicking on the red square in the color palette at the bottom left:

MS Paint color palette

clicking on the elipse icon in the left sidebar:

MS Paint icons for drawing lines, rectangles, ellipse

then clicking, drag and let go to draw the ellipse around the word "Windows Paint". The file was saved in the .jpg format, reopened in Irfanview, the section I want cropped, saved again and uploaded into this post.


  1. Very helpful post. What I can't figure out is why our screen shots looks so bad when we upload them to our blog post. The clarity of the captures you've got is 100% better than the clarity for what we've got. Any suggestions?

  2. What photo editor are you using and what file format is your screenshot. I am not a graphic expert, but have a nephew who is a lecturer on something connected to graphics.

    Peter Blog*Star
    Generating Revenue from your Website

  3. Using Paint. Doing the PrintScreen, then paste. Had to cut and paste a few different screenshots together. Then they are uploaded and hosted on Photobucket. Copy the direct link into the blog using the blogger post picture tool. Adobe Photoshop could be used, but didn't think it was necessary.

  4. Forgot. File format is .bmp

  5. Hi PUR.TECH,

    There is another free photo editor you may want to try. See GIMP open source cross-platform photo editor. It is almost like the expensive Adobe Photoshop.

    Peter Blog*Star
    Blogger Dough
    (Blogging helped my put 2 sons through college on my pension and if not for blogging, I would have been in financial difficulties. We want to help you do the same)


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