Capture part of a web page using free tools

Whether you’re testing your own website or browsing the web and noticing what others have done on their sites, there are times when you might want to capture what you see in the moment. The easiest way to capture the moment is to take a snapshot of the screen. It’s best to take a screenshot of the browser window, or even just part of the web page. Even better is being able to also highlight or annotate on the capture.

There are many screen capture programs that can be downloaded or purchased; However, if you are using Microsoft Windows, there is a simple screen capture program that has been made available to you for the latest versions called “Snipping Tool”. If you are using Microsoft Windows 10, the Snipping Tool is replaced by a new tool called Snip & Sketch.

Snipping Tool and Snip & Sketch both give you the ability to capture all or part of the screen as well as do markup and more. You can also save your captures directly from the tool. In fact, the images in this article were all captured using these tools!

Using the Snip & Sketch tool key combination

If you’re using an updated version of Windows 10, you should already have the Snip & Sketch tool installed! You can type Snip & Sketch into the Start search box on your taskbar, or you can scroll down the list of apps in the Start menu until you get to Snip & Sketch.

There is, however, an easier way to access the application! To capture from the current screen, you can press Windows key + Shift key + S. If you have Snip & Sketch, press this three key combination to run the application to capture all or part of your screen. When you tap it, the screen will be grayed out and a small icon bar will be added to the top of the page as shown in Figure 1. You can either select from the icon bar or just use your mouse to select a rectangle. part of your screen.


Figure 1: Capture using the key combination

The icon toolbar contains four or five buttons. The first allows you to select a rectangular section of the page. The second lets you capture a free-form screenshot. The icon consisting of two overlapping squares with a plus sign allows you to capture a window with a single click. The icon that looks like a photo frame allows you to capture the full screen. The last icon with an X is the standard close button that will stop the screenshot. Figure 2 shows these icons.

Snipping Tool Icons
Figure 2: Snipping Tool Icons

After selecting an icon for how you want to cut, if you selected the rectangular or freeform options, you can use your mouse to select the part of the screen you want to capture. If you selected window capture, just click on the window or dialog you want to copy. Once you release the mouse, a notification will appear at the bottom right of the screen indicating that your capture has been saved to the clipboard. You can then open and paste the snippet into your favorite drawing program (such as Microsoft Paint, which is also included with Windows), or you can click the notification to open the snippet in the Snip & Sketch program.

Notification for a new excerpt
picture 3: Notification for a new excerpt

Using the Snip & Sketch app

If you run the Snip & Sketch app directly, you will also have the ability to capture the same areas mentioned earlier. You can do this by clicking on the “New” button in the upper right corner of the application as shown in Figure 4.

The Snip & Sketch App
Figure 4: The Snip & Sketch App

One of the benefits of using the app is that you can delay the start of the capture. Clicking the down arrow next to “New” will allow you to choose to start capturing in 3 or 10 seconds. This gives you time to click on a menu or other popup that might normally disappear when you select the capture program. Clicking the Snip in 3 seconds option will clear the Snip & Sketch program from the screen. Three seconds later, the screen freezes and turns gray so you can capture the section you want.

Your capture will be loaded into Snip & Sketch. Figure 5 shows a rectangular capture of a context menu captured using the capture delay.

An excerpt captured in Snip & Sketch
Figure 5: An excerpt captured in Snip & Sketch

Once captured, you have several icons that you can use. As shown in Figure 4, the icons at the top right of Snip & Sketch should look familiar to you. You can zoom, save, copy and share the code snippet. The most interesting icon controls are those in the upper middle. These let you write on the screen with pens, highlighters, and your finger (if you have touch) or the mouse. There is also an eraser so you can also delete the annotations you have added.

Clicking on an icon selects it. To change the color or width of a pen, you can click the down arrows below it to get a color choice. Figure 6 shows selecting a color from the ballpoint pen.

Ballpoint pen color setting
Figure 6: Ballpoint pen color setting

The icons you can select are shown in Figure 7. If you select a writing tool, you can use your mouse or your finger (on a touch screen) to write.

Annotation icons
Picture 7: Annotation icons

Conclusion

The Snip & Sketch tool is a relatively simple but powerful tool if you need to capture screenshots or parts of a screen. When a web page looks weird or displays an error, the ability to quickly capture and save the screen makes it easier to show others what needs fixing. Knowing that the tool is only a keystroke away means you can capture and save the clip quickly without losing the flow of what you were doing. Although this article has introduced the tool quickly, the best way to see its power is to load the application or press Windows key + Shift + S and start playing!

If you are using an older version of Windows, you will have the Snipping Tool. It works the same way as Snip & Sketch.

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