The PrtSc key on your keyboard


Many people are not aware of the existence of the “PrtSc” key on every PC keyboard, or what it’s function is. In fact this is a very useful key. The “PrtSc” stands for PrintScreen and every time you press this key, an image of the current contents of your PC display is copied into an area called the Windows Clipboard.  You can then “paste” this image into any windows application.

So why is this so useful? Imagine you had to keep a permanent record of something on your PC screen, perhaps details of an online internet purchase, or maybe an error message that has popped up.  Just press the PrtSc key, then open up Word or Wordpad, and click on Edit-Paste in the drop down menus. An exact Image of your PC screen is now in contained in the word (or Wordpad) document and can be saved, or emailed to someone else.

Perhaps you need to document how to complete a particular task on a PC for someone else to follow. Just go through the task, and PrtSc every stage of the process, pasting the screen shots into word as you go along. We all know “pictures are worth a thousand words” so your documentation on how to do this particular task will be easy for others to follow.

If you don’t want to capture the whole screen, just the currently active “window”, hold down the “Alt” key while you press PrtSc.

Thanks to Tim Foden for giving me the idea to write about the PrtSc key.

Chris Moody
ASL Computer Services
Computer Support and Repair for Small Businesses in the Midlands (based in Rugby)

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