Window’s new Vista operating system has had a mixed reception from computer buffs and home users alike, but whatever your verdict, it has some great features. The Snipping Tool is a simple but handy tool that makes capturing screenshots easier than ever before. It’s great advantage however lies in sending and sharing images or screen selections.
The Snipping Tool, located in the Accessories folder, is a stripped-down graphics programme designed to allow you to take a screenshot. This is not something one generally needs to do but can come in useful. For example, if a webpage isn’t displaying properly and you need to describe the problem to your web hoster, a screen shot is the quick and efficient way to do it. That’s not likely to arise every day, but if you think of the snipping tool simply as a pair of scissors the possibilities immediately widen.
The Snipping Tool allows you to select an area on any webpage or indeed anything that is displayed on your screen. You can set it to select a rectangular or square area, the current window or the entire full screen. If necessary you can choose your own cut shape with the ‘free form’ option. Once you’ve selected your snip you can save it as a jpeg, gif, png or html (.mht) file. If you choose the html option, it will also automatically save the url for handy reference. It comes with highlighter and pen tools so that you can add emphasis or annotations if necessary. The options allow you to select your pen type and ink colour. There’s also an eraser in case you mis-mark it.
The capabilities of the Snipping Tool are extremely basic, but sometimes that’s all you need. The Snipping Tool comes into its own when you want to send a selection from a webpage or other document by email. You don’t even have to save it as a file to your computer. Once you’ve made your snip you can click the ‘copy’ icon and paste the selection directly into your document. Alternatively you can select ‘Send Snip’. With one click it will paste it into the body of an email or, if you prefer, attach it to an email for sending separately as an attachment.
If you want to let someone know that you’ve seen the perfect lampshade on a shopping website, you could send them the url, or you could save the whole page and email that as an attachment. The Snipping Tool lets you speed up the process by cutting out the middle steps.
The Snipping Tool is one of those accessories that you can get by without when you don’t know it’s there, but once you’ve discovered it, you’re likely to find all sorts of uses for it.
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