Can you believe the print screen button once actually functioned as the name suggests? It sent the content of the entire screen straight to the printer port! Fortunately that functionality changed during the advent of the graphical user interface, saving the entire Amazon rainforest from deforestation. What used to be a simple function of copying pixels on the screen just doesn’t cut it anymore.
With Windows Vista’s elegant translucency, blurring, reflections and shadows, Aero is stunning in its own right. However what makes the UI stunning also poses some interesting problems for our decade-old pixels photocopier. What used to be a simple “ALT + Print Screen” to capture the active application now incidentally also captures everything behind it thanks to our good friendly transparency. His brother, window shadow, also misses out on the fun. The result just doesn’t do the interface justice.
To get a somewhat decent screenshot in Vista, I remember having to minimize all my other applications, set the desktop background to solid white, take the capture and sprinkle some magic in Photoshop. Just a little too much effort for a screenshot. Surely there must be something better. There was!
I don’t want to sound like a weight-loss commercial, but then I discovered Kenny Kerr and his flagship hobby, “Window Clippings“. I wiped whole minutes off creating beautiful captures! Take a look at the following before and after comparison.
This is what I used to look like, I mean my screenshots. Cluttered with applications, desktop backgrounds, gadgets and everything else.
With the same efficiency in Window Clippings, you can select the applications you want to capture.
Clip out the background and surrounding applications, keeping the shadows and even full 24-bit transparency.
If you care the slightest about how your screenshots look, then you will not live without this tool, OK maybe miserably. Even if you are just capturing screenshots for your school project, you will earn at least 2 grades better^. It requires no install, no system changes and best of all no pennies. Download and run. You may choose to register to access some extra functionality, but it’s unlikely you will need them.
As much as the current print screen is an efficient tool in the 3-step ‘check this out’ workflow for many people, it could use a 21st century facelift. As interfaces get more advanced, print screen needs to be capable of capturing its beauty, otherwise screenshots are as good as Windows Classic. Speaking of which, where’s my puke emoticon?
^Subject to personal intelligence