Useful tools

The Snipping Tool is on your PC, waiting to make life a tiny bit better

If you already use the Snipping Tool, you know it's changed your life in a tiny way. You remember the days before you found it as extraordinarily wasteful. You shudder a little bit.

If you've NOT found the Snipping Tool before now: welcome. Everything up to now has been pre-Snipping Tool. You will remember this day.

The Snipping Tool allows you to draw a box around any section of your PC screen (or all of it) and then instantly saves whatever is in the box as an image. You can copy and paste that image into slides, posters, twitter, etc etc - or save it as JPG if you wish.

I know it doesn't sound like a big deal but trust me, when you prepare a lot of slides it saves AN AGE compared to taking the full print-screen then cropping. It's easier to set the margins just right than with cropping, too. So for screen-grabs in presentations, it makes things so much easier.

Here's a gif (I've never made a gif before) of the Snipping Tool doing its thing:

Look how quick it is to take the screengrab and then make it the background of the slide! Then just insert a text box, or an arrow, or a circle, and highlight the key things. Use it get images of logos, websites, databases, stills from youtube, stills from your own videos to act as thumbnails and to use in social media. It's useful in so many ways and the few seconds it saves you each time really do add up. Pin it to your taskbar forthwith.

The Snipping Tool is on all PCs already, you don't have to install it. Go to the Start Menu, type 'Snip' and there it is. It's been there all along!

The Snipping Tool (and other joys)


A couple of weeks ago I tweeted this:

If you click on the date of the tweet above you'll get taken to it on Twitter itself, you'll see about a gazillion replies to this - about a third of people already knew about the Snipping Tool (and were appropriately smug) but for the other two thirds it was a case of MIND = BLOWN.

So if you've not used it before, do check out the Snipping Tool. It allows you to take a screen-grab of the exact portion of the screen you need, without having to crop it down afterwards. It seems simple but I've created library induction and teaching materials WITH Snipping Tool for the first time this year, and it's saved me HOURS.

People shared some other tips in response to this:

... and Ruth Jenkins wrote a whole blogpost about PowerPoint - the tip about using the Align tool was completely new to me.

Another tip worth mentioning with PowerPoint is that almost anything can be right-clicked upon, and then Save As Picture can be chosen. So if you really need an image of some text (and this is actually A Thing - for example if you want to make a billboard on Photofunia, you need a picture of the words you wish to display) then create a text box, write in it, right-click and Save As Picture. Like I did here:

Created in Photofunia

Created in Photofunia

You can also Print Screen something, crop it, then save it as an image - but of course you don't need to do that now because of the joyous SNIPPING TOOL!

If you have any other useful tricks we might not all know about already, leave them in a comment...