How to Print Screen on the Computer

Level of difficulty: Beginner

On majority of computer keyboard hardware devices, the term “Print Screen” normally references a key supported by a system request command capable of taking a screenshot of the user’s desktop and placing a copy in the clipboard utility. Originally, this functionality under command-line based platforms caused the contents of the active screen memory to be transmitted to the system’s printer port. Represented by the Unicode character “U+9113”, it literally stores or sends the contents of the screen onto the medium currently supported by the Operating System environment. For graphical user interface-based platforms, the sole function of this key is to take a picture of the screen and to provide the user with the capability of pasting it onto whatever image editing program the user prefers.

Materials Needed:
- Keyboard hardware
- Operating System
- image editor
Step 1
The way to invoke this feature would depend primarily on the underlying Operating System platform of the user. For Mac OS X-based systems, proceed to Step 7. For users of the Linux or UNIX Operating System environments, go to Step 11.
Step 2
For Windows-based systems, maximize the windows intended to be captured.
Step 3
To capture the contents of the entire screen, press the 'Print Screen' key. If only the content of the active window is required, press the 'ALT' and the 'Print Screen' keys simultaneously.
Step 4
Open any software capable of handling images like Photo Editor, Word, or PhotoShop among others.
Step 5
Click on the 'Edit' menu and choose the 'Paste' command. The keyboard shortcut key of 'CTRL' together with the 'V' key may also be used to transfer the clipboard’s contents into the application.
Step 6
The image can then be edited, printed, or attached to an email message depending on the intentions of the user.
Step 7
Since the layout of the Mac keyboard is entirely different from its Windows counterpart, the way to initiate a Print Screen operation is to simultaneously press and hold the Apple, Shift, and number 4 keys.
Step 8
Upon releasing the keys, the cursor will change to a plus sign symbol. Proceed by pressing the space bar once to change the cursor into a camera icon.
Step 9
Once the camera icon is displayed, clicking any portion of the screen will capture its contents. The image file is automatically stored on the user’s Desktop.
Step 10
The file can be accessed with any image editor to implement changes or enhancements depending on how it will be used.
Step 11
Similar to the Windows environment, pressing the 'Print Screen' key captures the contents of the entire desktop. On the other hand, pressing the key combinations of 'ALT' and 'Print Screen' will capture the portion of the desktop where the mouse pointer is located.
Step 12
Pressing the 'Print Screen' key will bring up the 'Save Screenshot' dialog. An alternative is to select the 'Applications' option on the Menu bar. Click on the 'Accessories' and choose the 'Take a Screenshot' option.
Step 13
Once the 'Save Screenshot' dialog is displayed, the user now has the option to choose which section of the screen would be captured.
Step 14
Upon successfully saving the screenshot, it can be accessed with any image editing software to suit the needs of the user.


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