I've been using TechSmith Snagit for years to take screen shots for my articles. However, on a recent consulting gig, I decided to write a how-to article to help my client perform a new operation and I didn't have access to Snagit. I had just upgraded an application on my client's system and wanted to take some screen shots of a new procedure to illustrate the steps it involved. So I figured I could use Window 10's built-in Snipping Tool to take care of the task at hand.
Several of the screens I wanted to show had some pretty complex setup involving dropdown menus and multiple dialog boxes. I had used the Snipping Tool in previous versions of Windows and wasn't looking forward to the process.
However, once I accessed the tool, I recalled that Microsoft added the Delay feature to the Snipping Tool in Windows 10. Using the Delay feature, I was able to run through the steps I wanted to document for my client and easily take screen shots of the dropdown menus and dialog boxes.
Of course, this really isn't rocket science, but I think it's valuable information about a new Windows 10 feature that could come in handy in many types of troubleshooting or teaching situations, so let's take a closer look.
Accessing the Delay feature
You can launch the Snipping Tool by clicking the Start button and typing Snip in the search box. The Snipping Tool will appear in the results panel, as shown in Figure A.
Launching the Snipping Tool from Search is quick and easy.
Once the Snipping Tool is up and running, click Delay, as shown in Figure B, and select the number of seconds you want the Snipping Tool to pause between the time you click the New button and the time you want to take the screen shot.
Select between 1 and 5 seconds for the delay.
Screen shot types
The Snipping Tool is pretty versatile and can take the following types of screen shots:
- Free-form Snip: Draw a free-form shape around an object.
- Rectangular Snip: Drag the cursor around an object to form a rectangle.
- Window Snip: Select a window, such as a browser window or dialog box you want to capture.
- Full-screen Snip: Capture the entire screen.
To choose one of these screen shot types, just select it from the New menu, as shown in Figure C, before you initiate a screen shot.
The Snipping Tool can take different types of screen shots.
Taking screen shots using the Delay feature
Using the Delay feature and one of the screen shot types, you can easily take screen shots of pull-down menus and dialog boxes in an application.
To take a screen shot of a pull-down menu within an application, you'll use the Window Snip screen shot type. Just click the new button and the Snipping Tool will fade into the background and begin a silent countdown. You can then switch to your application, pull down the menu and wait for the Snipping Tool to reappear. When it does, you'll see a red border appear on your application window, as shown in Figure D.
Click in the bordered area and the Snipping Tool will take the screen shot.
Click in the bordered area and the Snipping Tool will take the screen shot and display it in the editor, as shown in Figure E. Here, you can use any of the editing tools and then save the screen shot.
When you take a screen shot, you'll see it in the edit mode.
To take a screen shot of a dialog box that opens from an application, you'll use the Rectangular Snip screen shot type. Just click the New button and while the Snipping Tool begins its silent countdown, switch to your application. You can then access the dialog box. When the Snipping Tool reappears, drag the crosshair cursor to draw a red border around the image, as shown in Figure F.
Drag the cross-hair cursor to draw a red border around the image.
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What's your take?
Using Windows 10's Snipping Tool with its new Delay feature, you can easily take screen shots that would have been difficult in previous versions. Do you rely on the Snipping Tool for your screen shots? Share your tips and experiences with fellow TechRepublic members.
Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.