Screen Capture, Screen Shots, and Screen Grabbers
I want to capture the computer screen and put it in a PowerPoint Presentation, how can I do this?
I want to grab part of the screen and put the picture in a handout. Is this possible?
What free or inexpensive software is available for screen capture?
Screen capture or grabber software allows you to take a snapshot of the computer's screen or part of the screen. You can then paste the picture into a document or save it as a file. If you create presentations or handouts, you may want to copy pictures from the computer screen to put them into your project.
On this page, you'll explore:
Both Mac (Shift-Apple-3) and Windows (PrintScreen) have options for capturing the screen, but you may want to explore some packages that let you store these files in different formats.
Besides the standard screen dump, there are other ways to capture the screen.
If you have Mac OSX, it's easy to use the built-in key commands for grabbing a screen.
- Press Command (Apple)-Shift-4. The pointer turns into a bull's eye.
- Select the area of the screen you wish to capture. The screen is captured and saved as a PDF file called Picture 1 on your hard drive.
- If you hold down the Control key in addition to the Command (Apple)-Shirt-4 while clicking the bull's eye, the image is stored on the clipboard.
If you have Mac OSX, you can also use the Grab Utility. This allows you to capture windows that are open.
- Open Grab (located in Applications/Utility).
- Choose Capture > Timed Screen.
- When the Timed Screen Grab dialog opens, click Start Timer.
- Click the menu you want to capture and keep the mouse button pressed until the Timer Screen Grab dialog closes and the picture appears.
- Use the Grab preferences for option options such as showing the pointer.
The PRINT SCREEN key allows you to capture the Desktop or individual windows. You'll have to look for this key on your keyboard, it's placement varies with the type of keyboard.
To capture the entire screen:
- Press the PRINT SCREEN key. The image will be placed on the clipboard.
- Open an application such as Microsoft Word, pull down the Edit menu and choose Paste. Or, press Ctrl-V to paste.
To capture the current window on your screen:
- Press the ALT + PRINT SCREEN key. A screen shot your the currently selected window will be placed on the keyboard
Although the screen capture options built into Mac and Windows will serve most purposed, you may wish to use a commercial software package for more advanced applications.
Use the following shareware/freeware/demo websites to search for screen capture or grabber software:
- Download.com from CNet - search for screen capture or grabber
- Google (Windows) - list of popular screen capture software for Windows
Screen Capture/Grabber Software Downloads
- 5 Clicks - Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP (Try it free; buy for $9.95) - saves as png, jpg, or bmp
- Screen Catcher - Older Mac (contains lots of choices and options)
- Snapz - Mac - trial version ($29.00)
- CaptureEze - Windows
- Screen Capture - Windows
- SnagIt - Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP (Try it free; buy for $39.95) - does video off screen too
Once you've captured the screen, you may want to do some editing. This is particularly important if you plan to post your visuals on the web or people will be downloading your materials from the Internet. You want your files to be small in size, but easy to read.
Use the following articles to learn more about screen capture techniques:
- Screen Shot Tips & Tricks from About.com
Try the Screen Capture/Grabber Software
Download one of the screen capture packages and give it a try!