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Picture this. You sign on to Zoom for a family gathering. It’s great to see the smiling faces you’ve missed. You catch up and are grateful to be able to connect, even from a distance. You recall seeing others take pictures of the “Brady Bunch” grid of people and wished you knew how to do it too. This post is for you!
Taking pictures of a screen on your computer or phone is referred to as a “screenshot” or “screen capture”. Screenshots are a wonderful way to capture the memories of special occasions. They can also be extremely helpful when used at work or in school. I believe that knowing how to capture all or part of a screen is a core competency these days if you are trying to become more tech-savvy. I tend to take screenshots whenever I attend online meetings or prepare to give a presentation.
The ability to take a screenshot is especially helpful for students during distance learning as well as for adults who use screens more and more during the workday. Screenshots can be taken on most mobile devices and computers. Once you learn how to do it, I guarantee your online learning or work-from-home experience will improve!
Why Take a Screenshot?
Everyone can benefit from using screenshots! Once a screenshot is taken, it can be saved to refer back to later or sent to someone, which can be helpful in a variety of ways. Here are just a few of the many uses for screenshots:
If you are a student currently learning online, screenshots might be a great way to help you take notes during virtual lectures or presentations. Taking a screenshot can allow you to capture the information being presented so that you can refer back to it later, without having to miss information as it is presented in the live lecture. Having trouble copying a set of instructions or difficult formulas during a math class? All you need to do is capture the image on your screen, insert it into a document where you are taking notes, gathering information to complete an assignment, or study for a test, and you can come back to it as many times as you need.
Many people, learn best in a visual format, student or not! If you are a visual learner, you may find it more useful to take a screenshot while you listen rather than trying to feverishly write everything down which takes longer and may cause you to miss new information being presented or make a mistake.
Screenshots are a great tool for anyone trying to teach a specific computer skill to another person using step-by-step images. A screenshot will show exactly what the teacher’s screen looks like so that the learner can model it, without any instructions being lost in translation. This can apply to teachers, parents, students – really anyone teaching or showing someone how to do something on their device! Do you have an older parent that you want to teach a computer skill remotely? Use a screenshot to show them exactly what they need to do!
Wouldn’t it be nice to magically if we could effortlessly remember everything we are told or see? Unfortunately, most of us can’t. Screenshots are a great way to capture something that you want to remember and use for future reference. This could be anything from an address to something you saw online that you want to go back and check out or tell someone else about!
How to Take a Screenshot
Now that you know why you might want to take a screenshot, let’s look at how to do it on different types of devices:
iPhone & iPad
If you have an iPad or an iPhone that still has a home button (which includes the 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and SE), press the home button and the lock button at the same time. The screen will briefly flash white and the image will automatically be saved to your camera roll. If your iPhone does not have a home button (the X, XS, XR, and 11) press the volume up button and the lock button at the same time. You will see the same flash and the image will be saved to your photo album. If you’re more of a visual learner, see the graphic below.
If your Android phone has a home button, press the home button and the power button at the same time. Your screenshot will be saved to your photos, sometimes into a “screenshot” album, depending on your version of Android! For Android devices without a home button, press the volume down button and the power button at the same time. If your phone has Google Assistant, you can also say “Hey Google, take a screenshot.” The graphic below provides further instructions.
There are two kinds of screenshots that you can take on a Mac computer. One option is to capture an image of your entire screen and everything on it. To do this, hold down Command + Shift + 3 on your keyboard at the same time. You will hear a sound effect of a camera shutter clicking and the image will be saved to your desktop. You can also choose to only screenshot a part of your screen. To do this, hold down Command + Shift + 4 at the same time, then use your mouse to click and drag a rectangle around the area that you would like to capture. The partial screenshot will be saved to your desktop. See the graphic below and this YouTube video (by Howcast) for more help!
Windows Computer (PC)
There are multiple ways to take a screenshot on a Windows computer. If you want to capture an image of your whole screen, press and hold the Windows button (shown in the graphic below) and the Print Screen (PrtScn) button at the same time. This will save the image to your “Pictures” folder, in a subfolder called “Screenshots.” If you only want to capture part of your screen, you can use the Snipping Tool. Go to the Start menu in the bottom left corner of your screen and search “Snipping Tool.” Click “mode” and choose “Rectangular snip,” then click and drag the area that you want to capture. Click File > Save As to save this image to your computer. This YouTube video (by creator Kevin Stratvert) and the graphic below will provide you with more information!
Chromebooks allow for full screenshots and partial screenshots. To take a full screenshot on a Chromebook, hold down the Control key and the Show Windows key (a rectangle with two vertical lines to the right). The screenshot will be saved to the Downloads folder. To take a partial screenshot, hold down Control + Shift + Show Windows, then drag a rectangle around the area you want to capture. See this YouTube video (by Digital Trends) and the graphic below for more detailed instructions!
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