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windows-vista-snipping-toolOne of the most useful methods of communication is with images. I use screenshots a lot to either convey or understand a problem based on what a user or I are seeing. The Snipping Tool is an excellent time saving tool by Microsoft. It’s a simple program that allows you to select an area or the whole screen, and save that selected area to a file right from the tool, or paste the clip into another program. It’s fast, simple, and works well. You can find it in the Accessories menu in Windows 7 or Vista.

In previous versions of Windows, you had to use the print screen key to capture the screen to the clipboard, paste that output into a image editor like MS Paint to convert it into a file you could send to someone.

I know what you Mac users are thinking – Macs have had this functionality built in to OS X for years. The Snipping Tool was released in 2002, but was only available as a XP Tablet PC power toy at the time. It was first included in Vista and I’m just very glad to have found it because, not only does it save me time when trying to explain error messages, it streamlines the process of sending screenshots to others.