Sometimes explaining issues with your technology to someone over the phone is difficult at best. To help your tech support better understand the issue you’re dealing with, provide screenshots to help with your explanations. All you have to do to take a screenshot is hit a few keys. Here’s how it’s done.
Screenshots in Windows
For a Windows PC, look at the top-most row of keys. How often do you use these? Probably not that often. Well, maybe the Escape key. Either way, look toward the right-hand side of this row and you’ll find the PrtScn key. PrtScn will create a .png file of your entire desktop screen at the time you press it. Unfortunately, you’re not going to see the file immediately; it’s only being stored on your clipboard until you paste it into another program.
To do so, you can use pretty much any common application that allows you to paste images into it. Some of the more basic programs you can use are Microsoft Word, OneNote, Outlook, and even MS Paint. Open your preferred program, hold down Ctrl, and press V to paste the image into the application you are working in. This is also the keyboard shortcut for Paste, which you can keep in mind for later use.
For example, let’s use Microsoft Paint. Now that you have the screenshot pasted into Paint, you can draw on it using Paint’s various features to emphasize what the problem is. You can crop it to the area of interest, paint on arrows, and so on. This helps you better explain to tech support what the problem is.
Afterward, all you have to do is save the file using either a .png or .jpg file extension. To do so, click File > Save As. Give your file a name and you should be all set to send it off for analysis from tech support. If you’d rather not toy with the image, you can paste the image directly into Microsoft Outlook instead.
Forget PrtScn: Try LightShot to Simplify Things
While taking a screenshot using PrtScn isn’t terribly difficult, it can be somewhat time-consuming to tailor your image to specifically show your problem. Instead, we prefer to use a tool called LightShot. It’s an application designed specifically to take screenshots, and best of all, it’s entirely free to use. You can download the app here:https://app.prntscr.com/en/download.html
With LightShot, hitting the PrtScn key does much more than take a screenshot of your entire desktop. Instead, your screen will be greyed out and you can select a specific part of your screen for a screenshot. You can then save your image locally on your PC, or upload it to the cloud for sharing via URL. Once you get used to taking screenshots, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. Not only can it be an easy way to share concentrated content, but it can also be a great way to communicate what your specific problems are to IT support.
Myke Schwartz, PEI