Snipping Tool – taking screenshots is more fun than ever

I believe all of us had moments when we wanted to take a quick screenshot of something but we had no special tools installed or we didn’t know exactly how to do it.

In Windows XP, the easiest way to take a screenshot was to press the Print-Screen key and then paste it in Paint. If you wanted to edit the picture and save only a part of the screen you had to lose more time. Paint is very OK for basic tasks but, if you want to do more, you really need a better tool. That means spending money on better software or loosing some time searching for a free or open-source tool.

In Windows Vista, taking a quick screenshot is more fun than ever. That’s because Windows Vista includes a very cool tool called the Snipping Tool, designed only for this task.

To find it, go to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Snipping Tool. Alternatively, you can type the word “snip” in the start menu search box. The first result should be the Snipping Tool.

Snipping Tool

When you start it, you will see the Snipping Tool in the middle of your screen while the rest of your desktop will be covered by a transparent white cover and will seem “disabled”. That means the tool is in “screenshot mode”. Press the Cancel button and everything will get back to “normal”.

Snipping Tool

The Snipping Tool has four capture modes: Free-form Snip, Rectangular Snip, Window Snip and Full-Screen Snip. They are rather self-explanatory.

Snipping Tool

When you select Free-form Snip, a small scissor will appear on the screen and with it you can select any parts of the screen.

Snipping Tool

The Rectangular Snip mode will allow you to quickly draw a rectangle on the screen and capture everything inside it.

Snipping Tool

In the Window Snip mode you just have to select a window with the mouse and the Snipping Tool will take a screenshot of it. The Full-Screen mode is even more “easy”. You just select this mode and the Snipping Tool will capture your desktop and it will automatically exclude itself from the screenshot.

After you have selected the capture mode that you prefer click on New. After you took the screenshot, the result will appear in a new window of the Snipping Tool.

Snipping Tool

As you can see, now you have a few options at your disposal. You can Save, Copy, E-mail or Edit your screenshot. You can use the pen, choose its color and draw something or you can use the highlighter. If you select the eraser you can use it just like an Undo option and remove what you have drawn or highlighted.

Snipping Tool

After you took your screenshot and edited it as you wanted, all you have left is to press the Save button, type the name of the file, select its location and the format.

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21 thoughts on “Snipping Tool – taking screenshots is more fun than ever”

  1. Meh, too much for me. All I
    Meh, too much for me. All I want are 2 options when pressing Print Screen:

    1) To be able to select a rectangular region with crosshairs by holding Print screen…
    2) and to be able to set whether my next screenshots are always saved to a folder, or always copied to the clipboard.
    a) or to activate a window when pressed after a half-hour or so of disuse to set whether I want to go by option 1 or 2 (hope that was comprehensible)

    Ubuntu (or maybe its GNOME) has made a tiny, tiny step in that direction by asking where to save the screenshot each time the button is pressed :/

  2. Nice…
    Nice info and great site!!! i really like this Vista, and have three versions (Basic, Premium, and Ultimate) though just Premium & Ultimate on my 2 new computers now. Had no clue what the Snipping Tool was until now…

  3. SnagIT
    I’ve been using SnagIt for quite some time now for all my documentation screen shots. Snipping tool is great for the simple stuff I sometimes need for adding to an e-mail or such. Good little app!

  4. Windows Vista (snipping tool)
    I had snipping tool on my windows vista operating system, but for some reason even after I did a search it is nowhere to be found on my computer. I tried downloading from microsoft a new download of it but that didn’t work either. I’m at a loss for what happened.

  5. I just wanted to say, I hope
    I just wanted to say, I hope Microsoft burns in hell for not including the Snipping Tool with Home Basic. And I hope you all feel guilty for having it when I don’t. Also, one of you should pirate it and make it available for Home Basic Users. That is all.

  6. No Printing Option
    Only MS has the wisdom to create a snipping tool and leave any printing option entirely away …

    I have used all kind of snipping tools, free or commercial and each and everyone had pretty comfortable printing options (incl. direct/indirect printing). Snipping tool however requires to save the capture into a file first or copy via clipboard into a word document to print.

    I don’t see anything special about it … I’d rather say it’s pretty primitive.

    • Locate Snipping Tool Vista Home Premium
      To find it, go to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Snipping Tool.
      You’ll probably see a Folder for Accessories after clicking All Programs.
      Click the Accessories Folder…scroll down to the Snipping Tool.
      If you want to keep it on your desktop, just right click, hold down, & drag to your desktop.
      Or you can Pin it to your Start Menu.
      Alternatively, you can type the word “snip” in the start menu search box. The first result should be the Snipping Tool.

      • Snip Tool not there
        I am running Windows Vista Enterprise SP 1 and this tool is not in my Accessories folder and does not show up when I type Snip in the Search on the Start menu. Can it be downloaded from somewhere?

  7. Windows Vista Snipping tool
    Click on the start button,Click all programs,Click Accessories,
    Scroll down to snipping tool double click on the snipping tool.there you have it. You now can take it from their. Have fun.

  8. Quick Access
    Great tutorial, Ciprian! I love the Snipping Tool and use it regularly. As usual, there is always something new to learn. I had become so accustomed to the Rectangular Snip, I missed the Window Snip and there have been times I could have used it. Now I will remember, thanks to you.

    I added the Snipping Tool to the Quick Launch:

    Click Start button > All Programs, > Accessories > Right-Click Snipping Tool > Add to Quick Launch)

    To pin to the Start Menu, follow the same steps as above and select that option.

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  9. Sniff the Snip
    For those who didn’t find the Snip, I just type snip in my search box, then I found it. It’ll ask you whether you want to add it the launch bar. Just add it baby!

  10. Where do I download Snipping Tool?
    Where is the download for Snipping Tool? I don’t want to find some random add and provider. I want to download it safely so I get no virus from Microsoft themselves.

  11. Hello,
    Is it possible to


    Is it possible to adjust Snipping Tool so as for it to suggest different/consecutive number – name for saving a Snip instead of “Capture” that it suggests each time? That would be handy: suggest “001” etc., any thoughts?


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