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How to use the print screen button

Updated February 21, 2017

The print screen button is a common key that is found standard on keyboards. This button may not do anything noticeable when it is pressed, but if you understand its use and function, it can provide many benefits. Whether you need to take screenshots for tutorials, documentation, or just show off your wallpaper, the print screen button is a valuable tool on the computer.

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  1. Locate the "Print Screen" button on your computer keyboard. It is usually located to the upper right side, next to the "F12" button or just to the right of the "enter" button.

  2. Choose what you want to capture. The "Print Screen" button captures everything visible on your screen, so load up a webpage, picture or just your desktop if that is what you want to capture.

  3. Press the "Print Screen" button one time. Nothing will happen, but the snapshot will be posted to your clipboard.

  4. Open a photo editing program like MS Paint. Go to "Edit" and "Paste" or press "CRTL + V" on your keyboard to paste the printed screen into the program. If you wish to save the file or make any changes, you can work on it from here.

  5. Download a program that expands the use of the "Print Screen" button. One of the most popular programs is "SnagIt". "SnagIt" is able to capture photos, video and even text that comes from a desktop (see Resources below). All these functions can be accessed through the program and used by pressing the "Print Screen" button.

  6. Crop "Print Screen" pictures to capture only certain sections that are needed. Paste the printed screen into a photo editing program like Adobe Photoshop and use the "Crop" tool to select the portion you want to keep.

  7. Check the photos when printing the screen in certain cases, because some video files or websites can actually block the print screen function from occurring and present an all-black picture or just black out their content.

  8. Tip

    Each new press of the "Print Screen" button erases the last saved print screen so be cautious when pressing this button.

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About the Author

Alan Donahue started writing professionally in 2003. He has been published in the Norwich Free Academy "Red & White," UNLV's "Rebel Yell" and on various websites. He is an expert on wrestling, movies and television. He placed second in the NFO Screenwriting Contest and received filmmaking awards from Manchester Community College and Norwich Free Academy. He currently attends Academy of Art University.

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