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How to make a screen capture to request technical support

To quickly resolve support requests it is often easier when we can see actual images of the screen. There are various ways of doing this.

Single windows or dialogs

Make sure the window focus is towards the window or dialog that you want to capture, by clicking within the window or on the title. Press and hold the key marked Alt, then press the key marked PrtScn. This will make a copy of the window in the "paste buffer". Open your email program and use the Ctrl and V keys together (or use a menu Paste command) to paste the buffer into the email. If nothing appears then create a document using Word or Wordpad and paste the window into there.

Note: for laptop keyboards, you will often need to press a Function key to activate the PrtScn key, so the sequence for capturing a dialog will be to hold the Fn and Alt keys, then press the PrtScn key.

Multiple windows

The easiest way is to make a screenshot of the whole screen by following the above procedure, but just press the PrtScn key and do not hold the Alt key. You could paste this as an image into a image editing program (e.g. the Microsoft Office Picture Manager) to crop and focus on an area of interest. The file can then be saved and attached to or pasted into an email.

The alternative is to use the Snipping Tool which is supplied with Windows Vista and Windows7. This allows you to drag a box over an area of interest. Pressing the copy button on the toolbar will allow the image to be pasted into your message.