Handy Tools: the Snipping Tool

A couple of weeks ago I was presenting to a group of teachers, one of whom asked a question that I realized wasn’t addressed in a related how-to guide.  During the ensuing break, I decided to work on revising the how-to guide, a process that included taking a couple of screenshots, much like this one (below). 

Several of the teachers who were watching me develop this guide were in awe of the tool that I used to create my screenshots, the Snipping Tool.  One of the hidden secrets in Windows, the Snipping Tool is one of the utilities that I use on an almost-daily basis.  Whether I’m creating a how-to guide, developing a presentation that includes examples, reporting a software error, sharing a Google Map, or capturing a website, the Snipping Tool is my go-to.  

To use the Snipping Tool, type “Snipping Tool” in the search bar at the bottom of your screen, or press CTRL+PrtScn.  To make it available all the time, you can right-click the Snipping Tool icon and choose “Pin to Taskbar” to create an icon on the taskbar at the bottom of your screen.  

Once you’ve opened the tool, you can click the “Mode” drop-down menu to choose from the following options: 

  • Free-form Snip: allows you to choose any area of the screen, in any shape, that you want to capture as an image
  • Rectangular Snip (most common): this allows you to choose a rectangular area of the screen to capture as an image
  • Window Snip: allows you to capture an image of an entire window
  • Full-screen Snip: takes a picture of your entire screen

After choosing your image area, you’ll be shown a preview of the image that you captured, along with options to draw on it with a pen or highlighter, to erase a portion, to copy, or to save the image.  If you copy or save the image, you can then send it in an email, paste it into a Word or PowerPoint file, share it from Google Drive, use it in a Google Doc, and so forth.  Check out the video below to see the process from start to finish.