Using the Snipping Tool

by Barry Dysert
(last updated September 21, 2015)

7

The Snipping Tool is a handy Windows utility that allows you to snip a portion of your display to be saved, edited, mailed, etc. The tool is a bit like doing a print screen, except that it lets you capture an arbitrary portion of the display.

Most people have the Snipping Tool on their desktop, so launching it is simply a matter of double-clicking its icon. If you don't have the Snipping Tool on your desktop, you can launch it in Windows 7 by going to Start | All Programs | Accessories | Snipping Tool. In Windows 8 you can press Win+C to display the Charms bar. Then, in the Search box, type "snipping" (without the quotes) and press Enter.

Once the tool has been launched, the display fades a bit to facilitate your capturing of whatever part of the screen you wish. The tool's control window also appears. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Snipping Tool's control window.

At this point, you can cancel the snipping operation by closing the window, or you can continue using the tool. If you click the Options button, Windows displays the Snipping Tool Options dialog box. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The Snipping Tool Options dialog box.

Typically, you only need to set your options once, as they are saved for subsequent uses. The New drop-down list is used to specify what type of screen capture you want to do. There are four options in the drop-down list:

  • Free-Form Snip. This option lets you draw a shape around any part of the display you wish to capture.
  • Rectangular Snip. This option lets you capture a rectangular portion of the display.
  • Window Snip. This option is used to capture a window or a dialog box.
  • Full-Screen Snip. This option lets you capture the entire screen.

Whatever you choose in the drop-down list is persistent, meaning it is saved for subsequent uses.

Assuming you've chosen one of the first two snipping methods, at this point you can click and drag your mouse around the part of the screen you want to capture. When you release the mouse, the captured image appears in the Snipping Tool dialog box. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3. The Snipping Tool dialog box is used to display what was captured.

Using the tools in the Snipping Tool dialog box you can annotate, edit, highlight, erase, save, and email the image. You may want to copy the image to the Clipboard so that you can paste it into another application. Or you may want to save the image to a file for subsequent processing. When you're finished with your snip, you can close the dialog box as normal or select File | Exit.

 This tip (12558) applies to Windows 7 and 8.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Working with Compressed Files and Folders via Zip

Windows 10 provides multiple ways to work with compressed files and folders. One great way is to use the Zip utility, which ...

Discover More

Using Reliability Monitor

Reliability Monitor provides some measure of how stable your system is. It does this by noting, over time, various types of ...

Discover More

Using Robocopy with File Sizes and Ages

Robocopy is a robust file copy utility built into Windows. The various switches built into the program provide very powerful ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Using Notepad

The Notepad editor is about as old as Windows itself, yet it still has its uses even today. Here are some ideas on how to use ...

Discover More

Using the Disk Cleanup Wizard

There are a lot of files that "hang around" on your system that you probably don't intend to keep (if you even realize ...

Discover More

Using the Character Map

There may be times when you need to insert special characters that aren't found on your keyboard. Windows provides a utility, ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine minus 3?

2015-09-22 16:03:42

dneilsen

Great tip


2015-09-22 07:26:55

BHershman

Ray Belanger - thanks, that makes some sense now.


2015-09-21 20:51:39

Ray Belanger

The eraser in the Snipping tool is to erase any modification to the snip - i.e. remove highlighter or other marks that you added after the snip was taken.


2015-09-21 17:58:23

BHershman

After creating a snip, I tried to use the eraser, both by clicking on the button and by selecting the "erase" menu option. The pointer turned into an eraser image which I dragged over a portion of the snip. Nothing happened! The Windows 7 Help did not even mention it!


2015-09-21 15:43:05

Henry Noble

Yes. The Snipping Tool has carried over. The older tools of PrintScreen and Alt-PrintScreen also continue to work.

In addition, the Xbox app includes a new screen recorder that will work with other apps.


2015-09-21 10:47:25

Ted

Does Windows 10 have a snipping tool?


2015-09-21 09:03:06

Henry Noble

Note that you can select the type of file when saving the snip. Open the drop-down list next to "Save as type". Usually, you will want JPG or PNG. Try both to see which generates the smaller file size. Often the difference in size is small, but it can be substantial, depending on the image.


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.