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Taking Screenshots and Saving them from Photoshop or Elements

Screenshots on the PC | Screenshots on the Mac  | Screenshot Software | Tutorials Index

Screenshots are images of the interface and steps of a tutorial. There are many dedicated programs to take screenshots, but if you don't write a lot of tutorials you can get by fine with the one built into Windows or Mac OS X.

Sometimes I ask students to send me screenshots of their screen so I can troubleshoot when they're having problems. Here's how to do that in Photoshop and in Elements.

If you prefer to have more options, there is software you can get for taking screenshots. Some take still images only, and some also record movies or Flash. See the software section for links.

 

Taking Screenshots in Windows

Photoshop  | Photoshop Elements

 

Using Photoshop

print screen

With Photoshop open and the area you want to take the screenshot of open on the screen, press the Print Screen key. It is to the right of you main keyboard area, sometimes across from the function keys (F keys), and sometimes in the group of keys below them.

Pressing this key will place an image of your entire screen on the clipboard.

In Photoshop, go to File > New, or press cmd/ctrl + N to start a new document. The document size will already have been entered for you. Press OK to create the new document.

Edit > Paste or type cmd/ctrl + V to paste the clipboard image into your new document.

Note: for some reason Photoshop sometimes misses the size of the image. If you cannot see the whole image in the document PS made, go to Image > Reveal All.

File > Save for Web, and there's your screenshot.

 

Using Photoshop Elements

print screen

With Elements open and the area you want to take the screenshot of open on the screen, press the Print Screen key. It is to the right of you main keyboard area, sometimes across from the F keys, and sometimes in the group of keys below them.

Pressing this key will place an image of your entire screen on the clipboard.

In Elements, go to File > New from Clipboard and Elements starts a new document with the screenshot in it.

Note: for some reason Elements sometimes misses the size of the image. If you cannot see the whole image in the document, go to Image > Resize > Reveal All.

File > Save for Web, and there's your screenshot.

 

Taking Screenshots on the Mac

The Mac has a builtin screenshot capability. All you have to do is use these key combinations to take your screenshots and follow the directions above for Elements or Photoshop to open the screenshot in the program. Note: These instructions are for Panther as it is the only Mac OS I have experience with.  They may not work with Tiger. I don't know as I do not have anything to test it on.

Capture the entire screen: Command-Shift-3

The entire screen, dock and all, will be captured as a PDF file called Picture1.PDF and placed on your desktop as soon as you press the key combination of Command-Shift-3. If you have your sound turned up, you'll hear a camera shutter as the screen capture is made. This does not capture the cursor.

Capture a region of the screen: Command+Shift+4

To capture a region of the screen, use Command+Shift+4. The cursor will change to a crosshair cursor. Click and drag to capture the area you want. If you have your sound turned up, you'll hear a camera shutter as the screen capture is made. A PDF file will be placed on your desktop. This does not capture the cursor.

Capture a window or dialog box: Command+Shift+4+Spacebar

To capture a window or dialog box, use Command+Shift+4+Spacebar. The cursor turns into a camera and highlights each dialog box or menu as you roll over it. When the one you want to capture is highlighted, click. If you have your sound turned up, you'll hear a camera shutter as the screen capture is made. The cursor will not be captured. A PDF file will be placed on your desktop.

Capture a region and send it straight to the clipboard

To take a screenshot that goes straight to the clipboard so you can paste it into a document, use Command+Control+Shift+4 and you'll get the crosshair cursor. Drag to define the screenshot area, and you'll hear the camera shutter sound, but softer this time. You can then paste this at the insertion point into a text document in Word or TextEdit with Command+V, or use the methods above to paste into Elements or Photoshop.

Grab

Grab is a utility included with Mac OS X. Find it in the Applications > Ultilites folder. Double click on Grab to open it, or you can place it on the Dock for faster access. Screenshots taken in Grab open in the Grab window, ready for you to save. Nothing will be olaced on the desktop.

Entire Screen

Command+Z: With Grab open, type Command+Z and click outside the dialog area to capture the entire screen.

Saving a Portion of the Screen

Command+Shift+A: With Grab open, type Command+Shift+A to grab a portion of the screen. the crosshair cursor appears. Define the crop area.

Taking a Timed Capture

Command+Shift+Z: With Grab open, type Command+Shift+Z to do a timed capture. Arrange the windows as you want, and when the time is up, the capture will be taken. You'll hear a beep, and the Grab window will open so you can save the image.

Capturing a Window

Command+Shift+W: With Grab open, type Command+Shift+W to capture a window. Click the Choose Window button and then click on the window you want to capture. The capture opens in the Grab window so you can save it.

When you save these they will be saved as tiffs...there is no alternative...so you will have to open the file in an image editor to change to the format you need, such as gif or jpg to post to the web.

Capturing the cursor in Grab

The main difference between the built-in screenshot capability of Mac OSX and using Grab is you are able to capture the cursor in Grab. To do so, go to Grab > Preferences and choose a pointer type. Make the screenshot as usual. The cursor will appear where you click.

 

Screen Capture Software

 

Mac Software

Easy Crop Take the screenshot, resize it, crop it, and drag it to the dock and drop it on the appliction icon you want to open it in. Fast, easy, and versatile.

Snap and Drag Whether you choose the Freeware or Pro version, it's easy to use and works great.

SnapzPro from Ambrosia Software is not free, but it is reasonable and comes in two versions, one for still images and one that captures stills or movies.

Screenography This software lets you capture specialized cursors like the rotate cursor---a must when writing tutorials. It comes in two versions: Screenography that allows you to make movies, and Screenography Lite that just takes still screenshots.

Windows Software

SnagIt Not free, but the best!
MWSnap Freeware
ScreenGrab Freeware from No-Nonsense Software
HandySnap
GrabCaptureScreen Freeware

 


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