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#30-Screen Captures and What to Do With Them

June 03, 2003

LTA Overview

A group of reference librarians were preparing an assessment instrument to gage the library skills students have on entering college and after completing a program of face-to-face and online instruction. The goal was to create questions in the real context students face while completing research. For example, instead of asking students which sets of words they would use to search for a particular type of encyclopedia, we provided several screen captures of our catalog’s online search screen using different search terms, fields and combining terms then asking students to select the most effective method. It allowed us to examine the combined synergy of several skills all in one question. We could only accomplish that using pictorial questions.

Credits

Eileen Stec
Librarian
Rutgers University
estec@rci.rutgers.edu

In order to prepare the draft questions, the team learned how to capture data from a screen, place it in a Microsoft Word document, crop it, make it stay in the desired location and in some cases, label the capture with arrows along the edge. That is why this tutorial was born.

Over time I hoped that people would continue to use screen captures to illustrate searching techniques within handouts and PowerPoint presentations. That has happened to a certain degree. Some individuals have branched out from screen captures and used the related instructions to insert and manipulate clip art for class materials, signs throughout the library and, occasionally, for invitations to retirement parties and baby showers. Every use increases the likelihood that the skills will be used again. The overall goal is for a professional library culture comfortable with text-based communication to become more conversant with the highly visual “Generation Y” undergraduates using our tools and services.

Using Built-in Screen Capture Feature in Microsoft Windows

Conventions used in this document

  • Buttons and menu selections are printed in bold type.
  • Some screens were captured using a program other than the built-in Windows screen capture. Those instances are noted.
  • Cautionary or important notes have a rose-colored background.
Copying Active Window
  1. Have the window you want copied open and active (the bar at the top of the window must be blue, not gray)
  2. Hold down the alt key and tap the Print Screen key (it’s on the top row)–you have now made a copy of the window and the system is storing it in its clipboard.
  3. Place your cursor in the Word document where you want the top of the screen capture to “land.” Select Edit, then Paste from the menu or use the short-cut keys, by holding down the Ctrl key and tapping the letter v. You should get something like this.

Lta30B

Copying Entire Desktop
  1. Have the windows open that you want copied. You will get exactly what you see on the desktop and ONLY what you see on the desk top.
  2. Press the Print Screen key (it’s on the top row) –you have now made a copy of the window and the system is storing it in its clipboard.
  3. Place your cursor in the Word document where you want the top of the screen capture to “land.” Select Edit, then Paste from the menu or use the short-cut keys, by holding down the Ctrl key and tapping the letter v. You should get something like this:

Lta30C

Note: I left my cursor over the RUL logo when I took the screen capture, so I got the little yellow java script mouse-overs. Be intentional where you place your cursor.

Capturing Open Menus in Document Window

(This process requires two hands.)

  1. Have your active window open. With one hand click on the menu you want open and KEEP DEPRESSING THE MOUSE BUTTON—don’t let go!
  2. With your other hand depress the Alt key and tap the Print Screen button.
  3. Place your cursor in the Word document where you want the top of the screen capture to “land.” Select Edit, then Paste from the menu or use the short-cut keys, by holding down the Ctrl key and tapping the letter v. You should get something like this:

Lta30D

Note: I was able to get two menus open, because I chose the menu selection Edit, that had a small triangle at the end of the line, like this: triangle, then selected Send. This will not work with all menu boxes because they are not all true menus. Capturing those boxes is beyond the capability of the Windows screen capture.

Capturing Multiple Windows

By following the same directions for “Copying the Entire Desktop” you can obtain more than one window like the one below

Lta30F

Cropping

But, what if you only want the multiple windows, and perhaps not even the entire larger window? Use the cropping tool. Here are the steps:

  1. Select View, then Toolbars, then Picture. This will ensure that the toobar you need to crop is available.
  2. Click once on the screen capture you placed in your Word document—that makes the picture active.
  3. Select the cropping tool. Lta30G
  4. Now you can begin to shave down your picture from the outside edges. Center the tool over one of the little squares at the edge of the screen capture.
  5. Click once, hold and drag horizontally to the left. When you’ve cut as much as you want from the right side, release the mouse button.

Lta30HHere is the result of one crop:

Lta30IIf you repeat the procedure with the top, bottom and left side, you will be left with this:

Lta30J

Resizing a picture
To Expand Size of Picture:
  1. Click once on the picture to make it active.
  2. Position your cursor at one edge of the picture until it turns into this double-headed arrow.
    Lta30K
  3. Keeping the cursor steady click once and hold, then drag slowly away from the picture until is the size you need, or the picture is more recognizable.

Caution: The screen capture loses resolution if the size is increased too much

To reduce the size of the picture:

Follow steps 1 and 2 above, then,

3. Keeping the cursor steady click once and hold, then drag slowly toward the center of the picture until it is the size you need.

Adding arrows or labels to a screen capture

You can add arrows, labels or shadow a box or picture so it appears to float on the page.

Lta30MThese choices all come from the drawing toolbar. If the toolbar, below, does not appear at the bottom of your Word Screen, from the menu, select View, then Toolbars and click on Drawing.

Lta30N

To Create Arrow, Changing Color and Thickness
  1. Click once on the arrow selection.
  2. Select the place in your document where you want the tail of the arrow to begin. Click and hold down the mouse button
  3. Drag your mouse to the place you want the point of your arrow to be, and let go of the mouse button.

Don’t like the color of your arrow, or the thickness of the line?

To Change Color
  1. Click once on the arrow you drew to make it active.
  2. Click on the small triangle next to the line color button. Lta30O
  3. You will see a palette of available color choices like this

Lta30PClick on the color you want (or click on More Line Colors… for additional choices) and your arrow will assume that color.

To Change Line Thickness
  1. Click once on the arrow you drew to make it active.
  2. Click on the line style button. Lta30Q
  3. You will get several choices from the selection box: Lta30R
  4. Click on the style/thickness you want and your arrow will immediately change.
To Create Label Using Text Box

Lta30SThe text box is a movable box that you can place letters into and move easily to a desired location.

To Create Text Box
  1. Click on the Text Box tool.
  2. Click and hold the mouse button where you want one corner of the text box to begin.

Drag the mouse diagonally. When you let go of the mouse you have created the opposite corner of the text box.

Lta30Aa

To Make Invisible Text Box

In the example directly above, the words “Starting corner” and “Ending corner” don’t appear to be in a text box, but they are. The line color of the box was set as No Line.

To makes the lines surrounding a text box, invisible:

  1. Click on the text box to make it active
  2. Click on the small triangle next to the line color button. Lta30T
  3. Select the No Line option in the line color box.

Lta30U

To Create a Shadow for Text Box

To create a shadow you need to start with a text box.

  1. Click on the text box to make it active.
  2. Click on the Shadow button on the drawing tool bar Lta30V
  3. You will see a menu with examples of boxes with shadows cast in different directions. Lta30W
  4. Click on the shadow type you want. If you use shadows throughout your document, be consistent. Have all shadows fall in the same direction and be the same length.
To Fill Text box with Color

You must first have created a text box before you can fill it with color. Steps:

  1. Click on one of your text boxes to make it active.
  2. Click on the triangle next to the Fill Color button (on the drawing toolbar). Lta30X
  3. A color chart will open. Select the background color you want and click once.

Lta30Y

If your text box fill color covers over your text, do the following:

Select Draw on the drawing toolbar, then Order and finally, Send to Back.

Your typing should reappear.

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