How to produce screen shot without using additional tool

Everyone will need to produce screen shot from time to time. This article describes the best way to produce screen shot imaging file for any purpose, ‘best’ as in simple, convenient, fast, efficient and producing small but loss-less outcome without using additional tool. The working environment is in Windows XP but shall be more or less the same for Vista & Seven.

Many times user only interested in creating screen shot for an event that happen in particular application. So user must hold down Alternate (Alt) key to avoid the whole screen including desktop/background being copied, so can avoid the unnecessary image cropping work. Remember to hold down the function (Fn) key as well when working on laptop.

Most people are aware of jpg or gif format as we’ve been receiving screen shot in such formats in email attachment, but they are only suitable for photo and the image quality is compromised. The more well known loss-less format is Windows bitmap *.bmp but its file size is unnecessary huge. And in fact the only widely supported loss-less format left is PNG (pronounced ‘ping’) which still many computer users not aware of. The information of PNG is widely available and will not be discussed here.

To produce screen shot in PNG format is easy, simply call up Accessories » Paint and paste the clipboard content as usual, but save as PNG format. Click the file type and choose PNG at far bottom. Feel free to save as bmp to check out the huge difference.

Up till now that’s all for producing a tiny and loss-less file for use. However, being needed to choose the png file format is not convenient enough. Furthermore, Windows XP’s Paint keeps the last used image size forces user to resize (Ctrl+E) or even crop it off. What we could do is to create a template of 1×1 size png file and store it into ‘My Pictures’ or your commonly working folder. So instead of right click on empty space to create ‘New’ » ‘Bitmap Image’, user could right click on the 1×1 size of png file, choose ‘Edit’ to open then paste the screen shot onto it, finally save as another desired filename.

Last but not least, BMP format should be avoided unless an application specifically required this format. As a reminder PNG format is not suitable for photo content as JPG could compress photo content better. And obviously screen shots shown in this page are in PNG format. 🙂