PC users: How to use MS Paint for quick, easy screenshot selections

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Anyone publishing to the Web needs to accept the importance of a catchy image, graphic or photo.

The color can spruce up a site — bringing in word-resistent readers and making something simple seem more design friendly — and affect readership.

But many average PC users out there blogging — or even those just looking to share captures from their screen — struggle with an effective way, particularly if they aren’t skilled in graphic imaging or have the requisite software.

Thankfully, MS Paint and other similar basic graphics software prove powerful tools, even with their bare-boned application options.

Mac users can utilize Command-shift-4 to take a selected screen shot (or Cmd-shift-3 for a copy of the entire screen), but for PC users there are a few extra steps if you want to make a selected screenshot. Below, at the behest of a friend, I share the simple steps.

GET THE SCREENSHOT YOU WANT

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Navigate your browser to a desired Web site. Here, using Mozilla Firefox, I've gone to TechnicallyPhilly.com. I only want to select the site's logo, but note the other images and tabs.

1. Navigate your browser to the page from which you desire to make a selection.

2. Use your keyboard’s Print Screen button. This is often shortened to something like “PrtScrn,” and regularly appears in the top right of typical PC desktops and laptop keyboards, surrounded by “Scroll Lock” and the “Delete” buttons. Many laptops and other smaller size keyboards require you to press both the Print Screen and an alternate Function key, which is sometimes shortened to “Fn.”

Note: The Print Screen button is making a copy of the entire screen you see, not actually printing the screen in this format.

OPEN MICROSOFT PAINT AND YOUR SCREENSHOT

3. From your Start menu, under All Programs and/or the Accessories tabs, you should find the familiar MS Paint icon. If you have trouble doing that, search for the program this way.

Here, in MS Paint, you see my browser screen -- complete with tabs. I want to isolate the site's logo.
Here, in MS Paint, you see my browser screen -- complete with tabs. I want to isolate the site's logo.

4. With Paint open, press Control-V, which is a shortcut command for pasting. You will see the screen you copied now appear within Paint.

Note: You now have a JPEG (picture)  format screenshot of your desired site, so now you just need to isolate what portion of that site you want.

5. Your cursor should look like a compass or another four-pronged device, depending on your operating system, whic shows its a manuerving tool. Make sure the selection tool is highlighted in MS Paint — it appears as a rectangle with a dotted line. (If you don’t see tools, in the top navigation, click on the View drop down box and make certain the Tool Box is checked.)

SELECT PORTION OF THE SCREENSHOT YOU WANT

6. Left-clicking on the screenshot of your desired site, hold it as you move the site up and to the left just barely, leaving in view the portion of the desired site you want to isolate.

Note: When you pasted your screenshot into MS Paint, it was selected by the program. You need to deselect it, so yo can isolate whatever porton of the screenshot of which you want a copy.

7. Scroll down until you see white space within the MS Paint interface, showing the end of your screenshot. You should see a dotted line outlining the end of your screenshot.

Note: That dotted line shows that the screenshot is highlighted.

Shift your screenshot in MS Paint, revealing the background -- white in this example. Then click in that white space to deselect your screenshot so you can then select the portion of the screenshot you want to isolate.
Shift your screenshot in MS Paint, revealing the background -- white in this example. Then click in that white space to deselect your screenshot so you can then select the portion of the screenshot you want to isolate.

8. Now click off your screenshot into the white space. That should deselect your screenshot (making the dotted line disappear) and changing your cursor to resemble more of a target scope.

9. Use that cursor to draw a box around whatever porton of the screenshot you want to isolate. (If you make a mistake, just deselect by clicking off the screenshot — in the white space — again.)

After deselecting your screenshot, highlight the portion you want to isolate.
After deselecting your screenshot, highlight the portion you want to isolate.

10. With the portion of screenshot you want isolated, click Control-X, the shortcut for cut. That will erase that portion from your screenshot.

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11. In the top navigation bar of MS Paint, choose the File drop down bar and select New, for a new project. (You don’t need to save).

12. With an empty MS Paint screen, press Control-V for paste, pasting the portion of your screenshot that you isolated.

13. From the File drop down, save that with whatever file name you want — make sure it’s saved as a JPEG.

The final image I cut from my screenshot
The final image I cut from my screenshot

14. Now you can upload the selection like any other image.

You’ll quickly learn this process, and MS Paint will prove a vauable tool.