Apr 07

The windows snipping tool and how to use it to take screenshots

What is the windows sniping tool

The windows snipping tool is used to take a screenshot or a snip of anything on your screen. You can then save it. There are a number of different snips that can be taken using this tool which we will cover.

Windows XP does not have the windows snipping tool included it was only done in Windows Vista and Windows 7 but there are free programs out there that can do the same job in XP. One example of this type of program is here.

Finding the snipping tool

Believe it or not a large number of people do not even know this tool exists so don’t be surprised if you have never heard of it. It was about 3 months after having vista that I actually found it!

First go to your start/windows button on the bottom left of your screen and go to accessories. Then click the snipping tool icon.

windows snipping tool start

snipping tool



You will notice your screen will fade and a box will appear on your screen. This is the snipping tool.



Freeform Snipping

snipping tool 2


Freeform snipping means you can draw an irregular shape to snip. Open the snipping tool again When the snipping tool loads press on “New” and select free-form snip.

Hold down your left mouse button and start selecting an area to snip by moving around the screen. Once you let go of the mouse button it immediately opens the program with the area you have selected.

You can then choose to save the image at the top along with start a new snip.

snipping clipboard

Rectangular Snip

rectangular snipping tool


This draws a precise rectangle by dragging the cursor around an object on your screen. Ideal for just capturing single windows. Start the program as before but this time press new and select Rectangular snip.

Again hold the mouse button until your rectangle is around the object you wish to snip and then let go. You will again be presented with the windows snipping tool window where you can choose to save your snip.

Window Snip

Window snipping


This allows you to capture any window that is open including browser windows and dialog boxes. Launch the windows snipping tool as before and select window snip.

This time hover the mouse over the window you want the snipping tool to snip and press the left mouse button. Again you get the option to save your snip to your computer.



Full screen snip

This simply captures the entire screen when clicked.