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Hit Us with Your Best — Screenshot!

A picture is worth a thousand words — especially when it comes to tech support! Technical issues can be difficult to describe. But by following a few simple steps, you can “take a picture” of the entire screen and send it along to share exactly what you’re seeing. This is something your operating system allows you to do; there is no need for a special app or plug-in.

Screenshots are an ideal way to capture an error message that may not seem helpful to you, but which can provide invaluable clues to your tech as they troubleshoot your system. Especially when paired with things you might take for granted like what applications are running at the time, what windows are open when the error appears, any codes shown with the error message, and more. A simple screenshot can reveal the entirety of an issue to your tech and get you back up and running that much faster.

Here is a sample screenshot showing an error:

screen shot 3

You can send your screenshots to tech support as an email attachment, or you can attach them to a submitted ticket. This allows technical support to research the error before they start working with you and can save a lot of questions. It isn’t hard to create and send a screenshot. And once you learn the steps, you’re not likely to forget them — they’re that simple!

Windows

Every Windows OS includes the ability to use the windows key + the print screen key to take a capture of the entire screen. These images can be pasted into MS Paint or a blank text document like MS Word.

To take a screen shot in Windows Vista , 7 and 8 there is a little tool called the snipping tool as seen below.

The snipping tool is a neat little tool with some editing options available. Next to the “New” button there are a few options about how you to capture the snip. Free form snip mode enables you to draw around the area you want captured. Rectangle snip allows you to capture by dragging the rectangle  around the desired area, window snip will copy the entire window you click on. The last option is full-screen snip which will take the whole screen image. The snipped image is opened within the snipping tool and also attached to your clipboard. From there, it can be saved and/or edited with the pen or highlighting tools.

Windows 8 includes yet another option to screenshot pages. When it comes to screenshots, to copy a screen in Windows 8 do the following.

  1. Open the app in which you want to capture
  2. Open the charms bar and select the “share” option as seen above
  3. Select whether you want to share by email or to one note, be aware this method will not save the photo it only will open the image in either program

Mac

Full-screen:

  1. On your keyboard, press Command + Shift + 3 and then release all the keys. (You’ll hear a camera shutter sound effect.)
  2. Go to your desktop and you’ll see a .png file — that’s your screenshot. The name will look like this: “Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 11.13.30 AM.png.”

Selected-area:

  1. On your keyboard, press Command + Shift + 4 and then release all the keys.
  2. You will now see that your cursor has turned into crosshairs. Click and drag the cursor over the area you’d like to capture. When you release the mouse, the capture will be made.
  3. Go to your desktop and you’ll see a .png file — that’s your screenshot. The name will look like this: “Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 11.13.30 AM.png.”

Screenshots help you to be understood, and can help tech support resolve your issue more quickly. No matter what OS you work in, the screen capture feature is one of the most useful tools in your troubleshooting arsenal.