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Occasionally Relevant Insights from a Software Builder

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Screen Captures the Easy Way

I write a great deal of software documentation and I use screen captures to make the document easier to read and look at. People tend to avoid reading large amounts of text. Placing images, links, or tables in the document tends to make it less threatening.

I normally use Corel Capture which comes with the Corel Draw Suite. It gives extensive options for saving screen images. With it, you can make capture a full screen image, active windows, or parts of the screen (rectangle, ellipse, or free-hand). You can then save it to a file or clipboard, or send it to a printer, or open it in with an OLE automated application, such as PhotoPaint. Overall, it’s a very useful utility.

Unfortunately, not every machine I work with has CorelDraw installed. You can still make screen captures without its Capture utility.

A full screen capture can be made by pressing Shift-PrintScrn (PrintScrn is the Print Screen button normally located on the upper right part of the keyboard). If you press Alt-PrintScrn, you will capture the active window or dialog box. The images are saved in the Clipboard and you can paste it into any application that allows it, such as Microsoft Word or Outlook.

While this doesn’t have the versatility of Corel Capture, it does the job. The images are at screen resolution, which is normally 72 dpi. This isn’t a good resolution for printing, but screen captures do look reasonable when they are printed.

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