What’s Print Screen?

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Screen printing captures a computer screen and copies it to the clipboard, allowing it to be pasted as an image file. It’s useful for how-to web pages, online orders, and pasting images into documents. The Print Screen key is located on the keyboard.

Screen printing is a keyboard function that takes a quick “snapshot” of a computer screen, copying it to the clipboard. By pressing the key labeled, then opening a paint or image program, the screenshot can be pasted as an image file, and from there it can be saved or printed. If the computer user does not need a snapshot of the entire screen, but just wants a screenshot of the active window, he can hold down the alt key while pressing the print screen key. This is a great way to save screen shots of menus for how-to web pages, making it easier for people to follow when setting up your software, for example.

People can also use the feature when ordering goods online. Once the ordering process is complete, a confirmation page will usually appear. Instead of printing this page, the buyer copies a screen shot and saves it until the goods arrive. This means that you don’t need to consume paper or ink.

However, the screen print feature only retains what is easily visible on the screen. Users will not be able to “scroll down” if the page extends beyond the bottom of the screen. To have the scrolling capability, a user can instead save the page as an HTML file. To do this, he can select File from the top toolbar, then choose Save Page As and use the default extension.

Popular word processors such as Microsoft Word® allow you to paste images into documents using the print screen. Once the key is pressed, the user can simply open the word processor and, from the top toolbar, choose Edit then Paste. Alternatively, he can right-click a blank part of the page in the document and choose “paste” from the context menu.

The Print Screen key is located in the upper right portion of a standard US 102-key keyboard. It can be found via the scroll lock and pause keys. In decades past, pressing this key sent the screenshot to the printer port, automatically printing the screen. Today’s keyboards only copy the snapshot, allowing for more flexibility.

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