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GRAB A SNAPSHOT PICTURE OF THE SCREEN

This guide is courtesy of John from websitecreationhelp.com

When designing a website it is not unusual to be in a scenario whereby you need a screenshot (photocopy) of the screen, otherwise known as a screen grab or screen capture - Turning what is on the screen into an image file (i.e. a .jpg file). Ordinarily that screenshot (photocopy/grab/capture) would be of a software installation step (for tutorial purposes) or a picture from the internet (to give you project ideas or to actually use). Other examples would be a screenshot of an email receipt (to act as evidence later), a Windows error message (to post on a technical forum) or a video frame (displaying a business-ideas flow chart for example). Many of these things could be printed onto paper, sent to a PDF file and/or sent to a OneNote file for safe keeping but sometimes it is best to screenshot them. For example. If you are trying to screenshot something on the move, like a software installation process gauge or video footage, a screen grabber (screen capture) program can save (screenshot) the screen every half a second or so.

The program I use is called Grabby. Although it is old (2001) I have been using it for years, because it is a no-frills program that does its job and is ideal for the absolute beginner. It takes an image of either the whole screen or an individual window. You may have to edit your screenshot but many screenshots have to be edited anyway regardless of the screen capture program used. This is because a screenshot is only meant as a rough copy, that you trim later. The heart of a good program is in its ease-of-use and not in its fancy "one thousand" features. Meaning. Screen capture programs that offer 20 to 30 menu-items or 10 buttons for example tend to be complicated for the sake of being complicated, whereas a screen capture program with the bare-minimum of features is often the better one. And that is what Grabby is - A no nonsense "Grab that screen NOW!" kind of program.

Fig 1.2 Click on the Basic Grabby Settings button to continue

When grabby is launched for the first time you will need to click on its Basic Grabby Settings button in order to set up the Image and Screenshot (Grab/Capture) settings. The first setting is FREQUENCY. It is the interval time, in MilliSeconds, between each snapshot being taken automatically. 1,000 milliseconds is equal to 1 second. So 5,000 milliseconds is 5 seconds. When you enable the Automatic TIMER function a snapshot of the screen is taken for you, automatically, every FREQUENCY amount of milliseconds (i.e. every 1,000 milliseconds or every second).

Fig 1.3 When you have finished changing your settings click on the OK button to continue

RECYCLE RATE is the Last Number generated for use in a screenshot filename before that number is reset (recycled) to 1. Each screenshot is automatically named Grabbed by default, and cannot be changed within these settings, followed by a number. So the screenshots will be saved as Grabby1, Grabby2 and so on.....all the way up to RECYCLE RATE (i.e. all the way up to Grabby1000 in this example). When the number reaches RECYCLE RATE (i.e. 1000) it is reset to 1. Meaning. Grabby1000 will be saved but then the old Grabby1 will be overwritten by the new, current, Grabby1. Then the old Grabby2 will be overwritten by the new, current, Grabby2. And so on. Hence why you set the RECYCLE RATE high, so you never reach it and therefore never overwrite a screenshot.

FILE FORMAT lets you choose which file format the screenshots are saved in - .bmp (Bitmap - Uncompressed Data) or .jpg (JPEG - Compressed Data). With computers having so much memory these days DO NOT EVEN ENTERTAIN JPEG (.jpg). Always set FILE FORMAT to Bitmap (.bmp). Bitmap is the raw, uncompressed, data of an image (screenshot). When working with a Bitmap image (screenshot) you can always edit it and then resave it as a .jpg file, but working with an already compressed .jpg image and resaving it as a .jpg file means it will be compressed again and will more than likely look blurred/blotchy.

FORCE 24 Bits can be ignored because grabby takes the best possible resolution. A bitmap will be 32 bits and a jpeg will be 24 bits on a modern computer. With this said, the JPEG QUALITY does not matter either. However. Leave it set to BEST QUALITY regardless. Remember. It is suggested that you use Bitmap.

OUTPUT FILE PATH should be set to the path name of your PICTURES folder, or a sub-folder within the pictures folder. In this example I have set it to the SCREENSHOTS sub-folder inside my pictures folder.

When you have finished changing the settings click on the OK button (Fig 1.3 above) to exit the settings window and then click on the START button (below) to begin snapshotting.

Fig 1.4 Click on the START button to begin snapshotting

After clicking on the START button you are ready to begin snapshotting. Simply bring whatever you need a snapshot of (i.e. a website, video footage, etc) to the front of the screen and then press the PRTSCR/SYSREQ (Print Screen/System Request) keyboard key. Each time you press the PRTSCR/SYSREQ keyboard key down a snapshot of the whole monitor (desktop) screen will be taken and saved as a Grabby file (i.e. Grabby1.bmp or Grabby1.jpg). Alternatively you can press the ALT+PRTSCR key to capture the active window on the screen . The internal counter will then be increased by one, if the counter has not gone past your RECYCLE RATE limit. If it has, the counter will be reset to 1 - Ready to create, and overwrite any existing, Grabby1 file.

When you want to stop grabby simply click on its STOP button. This will prevent grabby from taking any further snapshots. If you then click on the EXIT button grabby will close down (exit), but if you click on the START button instead the counter will continue from where it was before. So if it is on 5 and you click on STOP, and then START again, the next snapshot will be Grabby6. However. If you EXIT grabby, and double click on it to launch it again, the next snapshot will be Grabby1 (because it will be classed as the first snapshot). Fig 1.5 shows that five snapshots have already been taken as I click on the STOP button. Grabby's taskbar icon also shows this (Fig 1.6).

Fig 1.5 Click on the STOP button to stop grabby from taking further snapshots

Fig 1.6 The taskbar shows that five snapshots have already been taken

It is not necessary to have the Grabby window open when you take snapshots. You can minimize its window.....as I always do. Once you have taken all your snapshots do not EXIT grabby yet. Instead. Make sure they are complete and what you wanted by viewing them first. Simply go to your PICTURES folder (or SnapShots sub-folder), right click over the first snapshot (i.e. Grabby1) and then left click on the PREVIEW menu-item (not shown here). Windows Photo Gallery should then preview Grabby1 and the other snapshots thereafter. If you are happy with what you have simply EXIT grabby.

Fig 1.7 Right click on a snapshot and then select the EDIT menu-item to bring up your default editing software

To edit a snapshot right click on it, to bring up its context (options) menu, and then select the EDIT menu-item. This will bring up your default editing software (no example shown here) which is normally Windows Paint or an editing package that has been installed by you or a piece of software (i.e. a printer installation). From there you would obviously chop out the bits you do not want in order to create the real snapshot (image) you want.



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