How to Capture Any Portion of Your Screen

By Damarious Page

PC users might be familiar with pressing the "Print Screen" key on the keyboard to capture the whole display screen, but that blanket method might include unwanted information. A user might wish to only capture a piece of text or an image from a web page without including extraneous information. A user might also have sensitive information open on the screen that he might not want someone else to see in a screen shot. If you have Windows 7 or Mac OS X, you do have access to applications and functions that capture just a portion of the screen.

Windows 7

Step 1

Click "Start." Type "Snipping Tool " in the search box at the bottom of the "Start" menu. Press "Enter."

Step 2

Click the down arrow next to "New" in the dialog box. Choose "Free-Form Snip."

Step 3

Drag the cursor around the portion of the screen that is to be captured, then release the mouse button when all of the image is captured. Wait for the captured image to transition into a new snipping-tool editing window.

Step 4

Click "File," and then select "Save As." Name and save the file to the hard drive.

Mac OS X

Step 1

Press the "Command," "Shift" and "4" keys on the keyboard simultaneously.

Step 2

Move the cursor to an edge of the portion of the screen to be captured.

Step 3

Press down and hold the mouse button. Drag the cursor around the portion of the screen that you want to capture. Release the mouse button.

Step 4

Wait while the operating system automatically saves the file. Look on the Mac desktop to find a picture file saved with the ".TIFF" or ".PDF" extension.

Tips & Warnings

  • The Snipping Tool in Windows 7 also works on a playing or animated video, such as in Windows Media Player; this was not always possible using traditional screen-shot functionality.
  • Alternatively, choose "Rectangular Snip" instead of "Free-Form Snip" to get a smoother-outlined image.