Windows 7 Screen Capture Tool

We’ve finally gotten a built-in tool in Windows to capture those screenshots for blogging/documentation/whatever purposes.  And it has been given the magical, oh-so-logical name of Snipping Tool!

Update: I’m aware that Vista already contained this tool.  But I’m one of those guys who managed to stay away from Vista so to me it’s new :-)

Let’s see if I can capture what it looks like by using the tool itself.  Hmm, I can’t…  Which is probably quite logical as it shouldn’t get in the way when you want to capture a screenshot of something.  What you want to see then is anything but the actual tool used to do it, right??

I’ll go for the old-fashioned way then: ALT + Print Screen (it captures the active window).

Windows 7 Snipping Tool - Capture those screens!

In that screenshot I’ve demonstrated a couple of its features.  It comes with a Pen that you can customize a bit into several colors and thickness.  You’ve also got a marker tool called Highlighter – that’s the yellow part.  And there’s an Eraser tool to remove any markings or pen editions you’ve made previously.

Another feature that’s not shown but that’s really useful is that the screenshots are automatically copied to the clipboard.  But you can switch that off through the options if you don’t like it.

Snipping Tool Options

I would have hoped that a couple more features had been included, such as the ability to draw arrows without needing to use a freehand tool (as shown in screenshot above), and a Rectangle/Ellipse tool for some extra markings.

Anyway, what this means as far as I am concerned is that I no longer need to install my favorite screen capture tool (I’ve used a couple over the years but the last one was Screen Hunter).  But for editing some screen captures I’ll still need to resort to my favorite image editor (

Where is it located? Well, Start Button > Snipping Tool.  At least, that’s where I found it in my Windows 7 Enterprise edition.

What’s the hotkey? It’s CTRL + Print Screen.

How do you use the hotkey?? From the moment that you start up the application, it wants to make a screen capture.  What this means is that your mouse pointer changes into a crosshair whenever it goes outside the Snipping Tool window.  All you now need to do is hit the ESC button.  Then switch to the application that you’d like to capture, possibly opening up a menu.  With everything in place just as you want it captured, hit CTRL + Print Screen.  There’s your crosshair again.

Have fun!




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