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Windows Snipping Tool - A Better Option than Print Screen

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 6/15/2009

If you're used to using Print Screen to copy data on your computer screen, it's time to take a step up. With Vista's new Snipping Tool, you can copy anything, from text to images to parts of the desktop background. It's easier to use than Print Screen too, because the "snips" open in the Snipping Tool window, which contains tools and the option to e-mail the snip.

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    The Snipping Tool is a new feature in Windows Vista. The Snipping Tools lets you drag your cursor around any area on the screen to copy it. When you let go of the mouse, the snip appears in the Snipping Tool window. There, you can save it, edit it, and/or send it to an e-mail recipient.

    To access the Snipping Tool, either click Start and in the Start Search window type Snipping Tool, or, click Start>All Programs>Accessories>Snipping tool. However you open it, here's what you'll see. [See Image 1]

    You create a snip by dragging the mouse across the area of the screen to capture. By default, it's configured to let you drag a rectangular box around the area you want to copy. (Note that you can change this by clicking the New button in the Snipping Tool dialog box. There you can select from Free-Form, Rectangular, Window, and Full-Screen.)

    After the snip is taken, and in the Snipping Tool window, you can easily edit the snip using a variety of tools. You can write on a clip with a red, blue, black, or customized pen or a highlighter, and you can easily erase what you've done with the eraser. [See Image 2]

    Here's how to get started:

    1. Click Start, and in the Start Search dialog box, type Snip.

    2. Under Programs, select Snipping Tool.

    3. Drag your mouse across anything showing your screen. When you let go of the mouse, the snip will appear in the Snipping Tool window.

    4. Click Tools to access and use the tools offered if desired.

    5. When the snip is ready to be send via e-mail, click File, and click Send To.

    6. Click E-mail Recipient or E-mail Recipient (as attachment). [See Image 3]

    7. Insert the recipient's names, change the subject if desired, type a message if desired, and click Send. [See Image 4]

    The Snipping Tool is a far better tool than Print Screen and is well worth experimenting with. Take a few minutes to add it to your Quick Launch area (in Options) and take a few snips. Make sure you take snips of text from a web page, parts of a picture, and perhaps even parts of your desktop background.

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    The Snipping ToolEdit your snip with the tools availableE-mail your snipAdd recipients, text, and change the subject