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How to print, file or email anything on a PC screen.

by Dave Eisler,   January 2022

While there are inexpensive tools to make the process faster and easier, it is possible to copy anything on a PC screen using only the tools that came with your computer. This tutorial shows how to use the built-in capabilities of Windows to capture an area of the screen and email it.

Capture this image
and this caption.
1 Ladies & Gentlemen, Start Your Mice
Let's capture Pam together with her text caption. Press the Print Screen key (it's near the top-right of the keyboard). Result: Nothing happens! At least nothing visible. But, deep inside your machine's memory chips, a copy of the entire screen is stored on the "clipboard". How do we get it out?

Print Screen key.
  To use the clipboard image, open a document and paste it in. For this tutorial, we'll use Microsoft Paint.
2 Click the Start button on the taskbar at the bottom-left of the screen.
  Handy Taskbar Tip
Whenever you need a tool on the taskbar but the taskbar isn't visible, click the Windows key (it looks like a flag on bottom-left of the keyboard). Result: the taskbar pops into view.
Click Programs.
4 Click Accessories.
5 Click Paint. Result: Microsoft Paint opens.
6 Click Edit on Paint's main menu.
7 Click Paste.
8 Oh no, the bitmap isn't big enough! Just click Yes to enlarge it.
Crop the Picture

Now "crop" the screen shot down to Pam and the caption. Use the Select tool to do that. You might think, how convenient, the Select tool is already the active tool. But, we can't select an area inside an already selected area. Strangely, we need to quit the select tool and go back to it. Got it?
9 Click another tool, such as the Pencil tool on the left border, to quit the Select tool.
10 Click the Select tool, it looks like a dashed rectangle.
11 Roll the mouse pointer to any corner of Pam's image, and press the left mouse button.
12 While holding the mouse button down, drag the mouse pointer to Pam's opposite corner, then release the button. Result: Pam is outlined by a dashed box.

Unfortunately, Paint doesn't have a Crop tool. So, what we have to do, strange as it sounds, is save the currently selected area to a file, then open that file.

13 Click Edit on the main menu.
14 Click CopyTo.
15 Pick a folder in the Save-in field (I like to use Desktop), think up a filename, and type it in the File-name field (I sometimes express myself with bad words here). Important: Remember that folder and file name, we'll need it in step 19.
16 Click Save.

Now, open the file we just saved.
17 Click File.
18 Click Open.
19 Select the folder and filename from step 15.
20 Click Open. Result: an alert dialog box opens.
21 Click No, don't save changes to untitled. Result: there's our image!
  If you just want Pam's printout, click File / Print and you're done.
Compress the File

Before mailing a file this size, think about the time it will take the recipient to download it. Compress the file as a courtesy.
22 Click File.
23 Click SaveAs.
24 In the Save as type field, select JPEG.
25 Click Save. If you just wanted to save Pam to a file, you're done.
Finally, Send It

Send the image file to anyone by email as an attachment.
26 Click File.
27 Click SaveAs (trust me here, this is a time-saving trick!)
28 RIGHT-Click the compressed file. Result: context menu opens.
29 Click SendTo.
30 Click MailRecipient. Result: Your email program opens with the image attached. Note, this trick only works if your email program is "Simple MAPI" compatible, such as MS Outlook Express.
31 Fill in the recipient's Address.
32 Click Send. Result: Success, the image is sent!
Clean Up

You thought we were done? Not till we clean up our garbage.

33 In Paint, RIGHT-Click the compressed file.
34 Click Delete.
35 Click Yes, confirm the delete.
36 Click Cancel.
37 Click File.
38 Click Open.
39 RIGHT-Click the BMP file.
40 Click Delete.
41 Click Yes, confirm the delete.
42 Click Cancel.

Final Note
A good screen capture tool does this same task in far less time and with far fewer clicks.
To learn other advantages of low cost screen capture tools, click here.

To learn about PixelMetrics screen capture programs, click here.

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