Have you ever wondered how the “Print Screen” key functions? This key can be used to capture a “screenshot,” an image of your desktop or the active Window of the software application that you are using. (The “Prt Scr” function key may operate differently depending on the operating system installed on your PC or laptop, and whether you are using a 32 bit or 64 bit computer. Also, the appearance (e.g., “PrtScn”) of this function key can vary depending on the model of your external keyboard or your laptop keyboard.) If you are using a laptop keyboard (instead of an external keyboard), you will usually need to use a function key, typically shown as “Fn” along with the “Prt Scr” key to capture a screenshot.
When you press the “Prt Scr” key while using a PC or laptop which has either XP or Windows 7 operating systems, nothing happens….or so it seems. What's going on is that a screenshot of an image of your desktop or the active Window of the software application that you are using is temporarily stored in the Windows Clipboard waiting to be pasted into whichever document you choose. When you open Word, PowerPoint, an e-mail or Paint, and “right click > paste”, or enter the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + V,” the image is pasted into your document.
If you have multiple Windows open and only want to capture the screenshot of the “top”or “active” Window, such as an error message, hold down the “Alt” key and then press the “Prt Scr” key. This combination of key strokes will allow you to copy only the active Window to the Windows Clipboard. To insert the image of the active Window into your document, “right click > paste” or enter “Ctrl + V” again.
When using Windows 7 on a 64 bit machine, pressing the “Prt Scr” key darkens the entire screen and a cursor with a click and drag appears. Use the click and drag cursor to select the area to be captured.
When you release the click and drag cursor, two tool bars will appear around your selection. The vertical bar allows you to share your screenshot via email, Twitter or Facebook. The horizontal toolbar has the following options: edit online, upload, print, copy, save, and close.
The Windows 7 operating system also has a Snipping Tool, which includes more sophisticated options for capturing a screenshot. The Snipping Tool can be found by clicking the Windows Start button located in the lower left-hand corner of computer screen. Enter Snipping Tool in the search box and then click on Snipping Tool. You can access the Snipping Tool drop down menu by clicking on the arrow next to “New.” An explanation of how the four screen capture features, Free-form Snip, Rectangular Snip, Window Snip, and Full-screen Snip, operate is provided when you click on the each feature.
To reach a practice management advisor, call the PMRC Helpline at (800) 341-9715 or e-mail your questions to pmrcHelpline@mail.michbar.org.