One of the most popular newsletters I have composed has to do with  the “Snipping Tool” in Windows. I am sharing it with you for two reasons:
  1. As I work with educators in various locations, few know about this feature.
  2. The Snipping Tool is so valuable, I use it multiple times every day.
Most people are familiar with the concept of “Print Screen.” Pressing that button copies the entire screen to the clipboard, where it can now be pasted into a document or PowerPoint presentation. Some people know about Alt + Print Screen, which copies the active window.
What if you don’t need the entire screen or even an entire window? What if you only need one image or want to take a snapshot of one paragraph of text? That’s where the Snipping Tool becomes gold.
The Snipping Tool made its debut in Windows Vista, and is alive and well in Windows 7 and Windows 8. To find it, click “Start” and key the words “Snipping Tool” into the search window. Your result will appear.




Once you realize the value of this little tool, you will likely use it regularly. Pin it to either the Start menu or the Task Bar so that it is close at hand. Right-click on “Snipping Tool” and choose the desired location.




Click the Snipping Tool. The screen will dim and a small dialogue will appear which says, “Drag the cursor around the area you wish to capture.” Release the mouse button, and a window containing the snipped image appears . Below is an example.




The most common continuation is to save the snip, probably to the desktop. It now operates just like any picture. You can drag it into a Word document or PowerPoint presentation. You can email it as an attachment. Windows immediately copies the snip to the clipboard. Because it’s on the clipboard, even before saving the snip, you may paste the snip into a document.

Where Could You Use the “Snipping Tool”?

  1. Do you compose reports which require graphs? If the graph has already been created and you can bring it to the screen, you can snip it and paste it into your document.
  2. Do you use screen shots from your computer in PowerPoint slides? You rarely need the entire screen. Instead of having to crop the tool bars and other extraneous matter, snip only the part you need.
  3. Do you need to capture small pictures from the screen? What about the need to capture only a portion of the picture? The Snipping Tool is the answer.
  4. Do you find yourself viewing a set of directions on-screen, but those directions involve moving away from that screen, meaning you no longer see those instructions. Instead of printing it all on paper, snip those directions. The set is now safe and sound in its own window.
  5. Do you make airlines reservations, hotel reservations, or order goods online? Your screen will display your confirmation number. While an email of that confirmation will be forthcoming, why not snip the confirmation right off the screen in the mean time. Save it to the desktop and then trash it once the email confirmation arrives.

Are you reading this newsletter on your desktop or laptop computer? If so, why not give the Snipping Tool a try. Snip a paragraph and try saving it on your desktop. Open a Word document and use the “Paste” command to add the snip. Try dragging a snip from your desktop into a Word document.

If you learned something new, why not share it with others? Below, click one of the social sharing links.