Windows 7 Beta – Snipping Tool

One of the newer but lesser known features in Windows Vista was the Snipping Tool. This tool is continued in Windows 7, and it provides you with a simple means of capturing an image of a portion of your system’s screen, which might be needed for you to include in a document you’re preparing, for support of an application that you’re using, or maybe because you’re preparing a presentation for the upcoming board meeting.

Using the Snipping Tool couldn’t be easier. Start by clicking on the “Snipping Tool” item in your Start Menu.


The Snipping Tool Applet will be loaded.

Snipping Tool

To begin snipping (capturing a portion of the screen) press the “New” button. This will cause the screen to become dimmed, and permits you to select the section of the screen that you wish to capture.

Move your mouse to one corner of where you want to start your capture from, and then press your mouse’s primary button. This is usually the left button. With this button held down, drag the mouse to the diagonally opposite corner of the area that you wish to capture, and release the button.

The Snipping Tool Applet will reload itself, with a copy of the area that you’ve just selected.


You may now save a copy of this image using the Save button from the toolbar. Please take note of where you’re saving the image, so that you can, at a later time, retrieve the image when you need to use it.

Advanced users may want to know how to capture an image of transient screen elements, such as a menu, a pop-up menu, or a tool tip. Normally, these items disappear once they lose focus, which means that they’re not available for capture because, upon pressing the “new” button in the Snipping Tool, they’ve disappeared from view.

To circumvent that problem, load the Snipping Tool as described above, but don’t press the “New” button. Instead, navigate to the area of the screen and get the item you want captured to display itself. Once it’s displayed, press the Ctrl and PrintScreen keys simultaneously. This places your computer into capture mode, with the transient item remaining active and ready for capture.


It’s now a simple matter to select and capture the image, exactly as described above.

Wasn’t that easy?