You’ve been getting this annoying pop-up for days. You contact your IT Help Desk who asks if you would be able to send him a screen shot of the error message… but you’re not entirely sure how to do that.

The “Snipping Tool” is a program built into Windows that allows you to easily capture an image of what is currently shown on your screen. Knowing about this tool is beneficial for your Help Desk consultants since you can email or share the image as an attachment when you are experiencing an issue. As an IT professional, I can say that if I am helping a customer with a computer issue, it is often very helpful and much appreciated when a person sends a picture of their computer issue or error message along with their help request. It allows me to quickly identify the problem without asking a lot of technical questions.

How to Find the Snipping Tool

To quickly find and open the Snipping Tool, click on your Start button (usually at the bottom left of your screen) and begin typing “Snipping Tool”. It should appear after a few letters.

The screenshot to the right was taken from a computer with Windows 10 installed, but Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 should be very similar. Alternatively, you can find the “Windows Accessories” folder in your Start Menu and it should be there as well.

How to Take a Screenshot

Once the program is open, click the New button with the pair of scissors to the left of it. Your screen should then become transparent and a crosshairs, or +, will appear. Click and drag your mouse around the area you would like to capture and create a box. Release the mouse button when you’re finished selecting.

What you highlight in this box will become your screenshot. Your screenshot image will then appear in the Snipping Tool program window. To save, select File > Save As and name your file. And that’s it! You can now easily create and share screenshots from your computer.

This basic tool comes standard with Windows, but I find many people have no idea that they have this at their fingertips. Note that this will only work on a Windows PC; if you have a Mac or use a different platform, there are other ways to take screenshots, but you will not have access to the Snipping Tool as discussed in this blog post.

So, next time you’re getting an error message or one of your programs isn’t working, take a screenshot and send it along with your help request. Your IT guy will be able help solve the issue much faster and get you back up and running in no time!

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