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How To Make Screenshots and Post them in a Thread

Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:53 pm

Since I've heard the question asked a number of times and I don't really want to repeat myself I thought I'd put this together here once and for all, and by all I mean everybody ;) .

With every Windows version there have been different ways to make screenshots, but why struggle with MS tools when there is a better solution and that is a nice piece of freeware called Greenshot, which was developed on SourceForge.

Greenshot is a fairly simple, but very effective tool for making screenshots. Download it through the above link and install in normally.

Greenshot Settings

There are a couple of things that you should set in Greenshot to make taking screenshots as simple as possible.

The first is organizational. Create a directory that you will always use for saving your screenshot. This will not be where they stay forever, but where you go to find them when you want to move them to a safe place for keeping and using again or just organizing them per project.

Now lets start configuring Greenshot.

You will probably want to have Greenshot be loaded with Windows start up. This makes it available at all times and not just when you think you may want to make screenshot.

Now you will want to define a few hotkeys so that you can take screenshot of any program without having to actually touch Greenshot. Note: the keys in the illustration below are in German, because I work on a German keyboard Image

These are the setting I use (I've written out the English key names), but YMMV:

  • Capture full screen: Print
  • Capture window: Alt + Print
  • Capture region: Cntl + Print (more to this neat function later :) )
  • Capture last region: Cntl + Shift + Print


Now some interesting settings.

  • Capture the mouse pointer: Usually you will not see the mouse pointer in screenshots. But often you will want to use the mouse pointer to point at something in your screenshot. This will spare you having to use a graphical editor to add an arrow to point at what you want to bring attention to.
  • Play camera sound: Purely preferential, but if it's turned on, you will know that your screenshot is in the bag.
  • Show notifications: I leave this off, because I don't want the little pop-up coming up from the system tray every time I make a screenshot.
  • Show magnifier: This is used when capturing a region. I find it very useful, and if I don't need it it basically moves itself out of the way anyways.

The rest if preferential.


Now lets put that directory that we created into place.

Storage location: That directory.
Filename pattern: This is important, because you want to be able to sort out which screenshot came from what and when without necessarily having to open each and every one. This is a very usable pattern: "HardCopy_${YYYY}${MM}${DD}_${hh}${mm}${ss}-${title}" without the quote-marks.
Image format: jpg is good because it is highly compressed compared to other graphical formats and is useable practically everywhere.
Copy file path: is only interesting if you have directory names imbedding in to your file name pattern.
JPEG quality: Always use the best possible. You can always downsize the quality later if necessary.


And the last settings you will need.

Save directly: Selecting this and nothing else and all your screenshots will land in the directory you entered above.


Making screenshot is now as simple as can be. Just hit <Print> and you get a screenshot of your entire desktop, <Alt><Print> of just the window that you are in.

And now for the magic. Pressing <Cntl><Print> will open a dialog over the desktop (which means the game if you are playing in full-screen-mode). That big circle with the cross-hairs is the magnifier we setup above. It magnifies the small cross-hairs that are just to the upper-left of the magnification. This allows you to pick exactly where the corners of the screenshot will be, which will save you time cropping large screenshots down or your posting huge screenshot with only a small areas that are of interest.


Now hold the left-mouse-button and drag from one corner of the area you want to capture to the opposite corner --notice that the magnifier moves out of the way of the capture area automatically giving you optimal view of the area-- and then just release the mouse button.


And there you have it, your pre-cropped screenshot is now in your screenshot directory.


But how do you get that screenshot into a post? I suggest using a picture hoster an the best one I know of is PhotoBucket. Accounts are free and allow you to use a lot of space. Plus you can configure your account to offer links to your screenshots in BBL format, the format that the forum uses, so that you just copy the offered link text into your post and that is where your picture will appear.

On top of that, PhotoBucket doesn't downsize your pictures, neither while uploading them nor when they are displayed in the forum. If they're smaller in the forum, it a function of the forum and clicking on the "smaller" screenshot will open it full size.

There you go. Now it's not a mystery anymore. Go out and make some nice screenys :thumbsup:

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Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:05 pm

Captain_Orso wrote:But how do you get that screenshot into a post?

You may also directly add up to 5 pictures in your post.

When using the advanced reply functionality, you have this icon allowing you to add files to your post :
UploadeFiles.jpg (832 Bytes) Viewed 729 times

Once loaded, you can insert a picture by clicking on the black triangle next to the same icon :
UploadeFiles.jpg (832 Bytes) Viewed 729 times

Interface is not very userfriendly but I see two advantages :
- If your photobucket account is closed, everybody can continue to see your pictures.
- You must limit the size of the pictures you load which is good for bandwidth and improve display speed ;) :neener:

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Posts: 1569
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:09 pm
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:22 pm

If you want a very easy and free screen capture tool with some basic image editing features (add text, arrows, basic forms, compress size, ...) you may also try FastStone Capture 5.3 (later versions are not free).

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