Weekly quickTIP

Running With Scissors

Vista's snipping tool lets you say in pictures that which often takes a thousand words.

If you've been following my series on Windows Vista's EXEs, you're probably overwhelmed with the sheer number of available tools that enable command-line or GUI-based functionality within the OS. Building that list took a lot of time, research and wrist strain to get all the right parts aligned. But in building it, I found myself going back to one tool that's new to Windows Vista that impressed me more than any other: snippingtool.exe.

If you're like me in that you'd rather take a screen shot instead of writing a thousand words, then you're familiar with the pain in doing screen shots without a tool designed for it. Hitting Print Screen snaps the entire screen, and doing an Alt+Print Screen gives you the currently active window, but that's the limit to the functionality you get.

You can always purchase tools like Snag-It, which enable a rich level of screen shot capability. But your needs may not necessarily justify the purchase. If they don't, take a look at the Windows Vista native tool snippingtool.exe. Launching this tool gives super powers to our old friend Print Screen by enabling "draw-a-rectangle" screenshotting, or or you can get "any window," "gimme' the full screen" or -- my personal favorite -- "just draw a line around what you want" screen shot capabilities.

That last one opens up a new world of free-form screen shots for some zany results.

About the Author

Greg Shields is Author Evangelist with PluralSight, and is a globally-recognized expert on systems management, virtualization, and cloud technologies. A multiple-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP, VMware vExpert, and Citrix CTP awards, Greg is a contributing editor for Redmond Magazine and Virtualization Review Magazine, and is a frequent speaker at IT conferences worldwide. Reach him on Twitter at @concentratedgreg.

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