Print Screen (Prt Sc)

Most operating systems have a utility to allow a picture of what is on your screen to be taken and sent to a buffer area called the clipboard. Windows and Mac OS X are no exception.

Windows Users

To take a screen shot of the entire screen, press the PrtSc button on your computer.

To take a screen shot of your active window, hold down the ALT key while you presee the PrtSc button. If you have a laptop, you may have to hold down a Fn key while you press the PrtSc key or the ALT key and the PrtSc key. A snap shot of your screen or window will be placed in the Windows clipboard.

You will then want to open some sort of Paint program (Macromedia Fireworks, Windows Paint, Windows Draw, etc) to paste your screen shot into and save as a GIF or JPG image. If you don't have a favorite Paint program already, you can use Microsoft Paint by doing the following:

  • Click Start, select Programs, select Accessories, then select Paint.


  • The MS Paint window will look similiar to the image below:

  • Hold down the Ctrl key and press the "V" key. This will send a copy of whatever is in the Microsoft Clipboard to the Paint work area.


  • Now you need to save your image in a compressed format such as GIF, JPG or PNG. Select File on the Menu Bar and select Save As.


  • The Save As Window will open and looks similar to the following:


    1. In the Save in field, click the pull-down arrow and select the folder in which you want to save your image.
    2. Type in a filename for your image.
    3. Click the pull-down arrow associated with the Save as type field.
    4. Select one of the compressed image file types: GIF, JPG or PNG.
    5. Click the Save button.

Mac Users

Mac Screen Shot:

  • To take a screen shot and save as a file, hold down: Command, Shift, and 3 keys all at once (you should hear a camera shutter sound)
  • It will be named Picture 1. If you take a second screen shot, it will be named Picture 2.
  • Open your Paint program and then Open the Picture X file that you want to convert.
  • If you want to take a screen shot and copy it to the clipboard, hold down: Command + Control + Shift + 3. You would then copy this into the Paint program.

    Screen shots are saved in PICT format. You can open them with SimpleText, AOL, or any graphic editor. For the most part, the Mac doesn't seem to have a lot of programs that will save images in GIF format, so you may have to choose either PNG or JPG which are both compressed graphics formats. If none of these will save the image in the GIF, PNG or JPG formats, search the Internet and you will likely find a program that will open screen shots and save them as png, jpg or gif. One that seems to be popular is SnapClip. This program not only captures screen shots but will save them in various image formats. It can be downloaded at the Pure Mac site: