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One can take a screen shot of a part of the screen on a Mac with Cmd + Shift + 4.

Is there a similar functionality in Windows 7?

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Thanks for asking. This was timely as we just upgraded our ERP system and I get to do procedures documentation on the new features. –  Fiasco Labs Mar 24 '12 at 3:01
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just hit the window key then type 'snip' then hit enter. I question the validity of any answer that involves you installing a program to cover this built in functionality. –  Hardwareguy Mar 24 '12 at 16:05
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why not just paste it in paint and crop out the rest –  ratchet freak Mar 24 '12 at 20:01
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Someone should blog about this question –  Ivo Flipse Mar 28 '12 at 15:21
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"why not just paste it in paint and crop out the rest" because we try to save time here. –  C graphics Nov 20 '12 at 18:43
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10 Answers

You can take a screenshot of the active window with Alt+PrintScreen. Also, the included Snipping Tool* (%windir%\system32\SnippingTool.exe) allows you to select an area to capture, among other features. Thanks, @Matt

If you are fond of the Ctrl+Shift+4 keyboard shortcut, you can set a shortcut key (Properties > Shortcut) for the Snipping Tool.

shortcut

*Not included with Windows 7 Starter or Home Basic.

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I haven't been able to capture an on-screen tooltip with any of the tools posted here. Being able to do so really helps when documenting a product. –  Dennis May 3 '13 at 19:50
    
Two problems with SnippingTool: (1) It can't capture the same rectangular region that you've captured previously, you have to draw it again. Greenshot can do this using Shift+PrtSc. (2) I try to run SnippingTool and it says The Snipping Tool is not working on your computer right now. [...]. I've tried some of the suggestions on this extended thread about this problem social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/… and none of them worked. If you read the page there seems to be at least five different ways in which it can fail. –  Evgeni Sergeev Jul 29 '13 at 11:23
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The Snipping Tool in Windows 7 lets you do this, but there isn't a keyboard command for specifically doing a partial screenshot. You'll have to use your mouse to capture your screenshot. When you launch the program it brings up this little screen:

Screenshot of the Windows 7 Snipping Tool

which will automatically dim your screen so you can draw your (rectangular) box around what you want to capture. Under the "New" menu, you have the option of switching among the various screenshot methods:

  • Free-form snip
  • Rectangular snip
  • Window snip
  • Full-screen snip

After you snip, you can annotate it with a pen (you can choose among various colors, thicknesses, or tips) or highlight items:

Screenshot of annotation

Whether you annotate or not, you can save the image, e-mail it, or copy it to your clipboard.

The Snipping Tool also includes with some configuration options:

Snipping Tool Options Snipping Tool Custom Pen Options

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I'm amazed no one posted this before, good job –  Simon Sheehan Mar 24 '12 at 13:11
    
Up vote! I love the Snipping Tool, use it all the time for easy partial screen shots. –  Feral Oink Mar 24 '12 at 13:25
    
Great overview of the tool. I will link to your answer within mine. –  iglvzx Mar 24 '12 at 20:38
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+1 This is the right answer. –  JJ_Jason Mar 25 '12 at 9:59
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@poke I just tried this out. You can get around the extension capitalization by manually typing in ".png" with your filename when you save the screenshot. Otherwise it'll just auto-append ".PNG" instead. –  Matt Chan Mar 29 '12 at 17:33
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Greenshot

If you have ever heard of or used SnagIt, it is a program that will allow you to take partial screenshots of your screen. The best and free alternative that I found for home use is Greenshot. Pretty lightweight and awesome program.

http://getgreenshot.org/

Cool thing is that you can also use it as an editor and draw arrows and whatnot on it.

enter image description here

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Don't forget to mention that it lets you set a default folder to store them in and copy the image to the clipboard and a bunch of other useful tweaks! Totally dig Greenshot –  Ivo Flipse Mar 28 '12 at 15:21
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This app is incredibly slow for some reason –  Joe Philllips Jan 1 '13 at 21:08
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Unfortunately, while it can capture the mouse cursor, Greenshot seems to be unable to capture a tooltip. –  Dennis May 3 '13 at 19:41
    
@Dennis I've just tried it and managed to capture the tooltip over Windows Media Player's "Play" button. Interestingly, when you press PrtSc (Greenshot hooks this and lets you draw a rectangle), the tooltip flickers, indicating that Greenshot is doing something special to find the tooltip window and draw it over the standard screenshot. Simply blitting from the desktop hDC to a local buffer doesn't capture the cursor nor the tooltips, so screenshot software has to do extra work to get those. Cursor is reasonably easy (google the source of ScreenCapture.ahk for an example). –  Evgeni Sergeev Jul 29 '13 at 11:19
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Not really, but there are a couple options:

  1. Single window screenshot. Select a window and hit Alt-Prt Scrn to get a screenshot of just that window.
  2. Pin the Snipping Tool (Start -> All Programs -> Accessories) as your 1st taskbar item and use WinKey-1 as a shortcut.
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I've always used Alt-Prt Scrn for getting the active window for documenting programs, your WinKey-1 idea for the snipper is the icing on the cake for those times when you want just a portion of the active window (for me, quite a bit). Thanks! –  Fiasco Labs Mar 24 '12 at 2:57
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Alt+Print Screen is the built-in method to capture the active window, and there are several alternatives (free and paid), but under Windows 7, most suffer from an important shortcoming: the Aero window frame (the semitransparent titlebar and borders) is polluted with whatever you happened to have behind the window when you took the screenshot.

That's why my favorite screenshot tool is Window Clippings, which captures Aero window screenshots as PNGs with full alpha channels – full semitransparency and window shadow effects are preserved.

Compare:

That window is in the exact same position over my desktop; the one on the left was taken with Alt+Print Screen and the on the right with Window Clippings.

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I was satisfied with FastStone Screen Capture which can capture

windows, objects, menus, full screen, rectangular/freehand regions and scrolling windows/web pages

FastStone Capture

If you need it, it is possible to customize the keyboard shortcuts.

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One of this tool's greatest features is the ability to capture the components of the list of the comboboxs. –  jonatr Mar 25 '12 at 7:50
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If you have OneNote running in the background (SideNote?) then screen clipping for partials is as easy as:

  • Windows + S

  • Drag the area to snip and release

  • Copy to clipboard

See: Introduction to OneNote Tips (plus Screen Clipping tip) - OneNote Tips & Tricks

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Indeed, very convenient, use it all the time. Especially in corporate environments Microsoft OneNote might already be installed on your system as part of/along side Microsoft Office. –  Rabarberski Apr 4 '12 at 8:37
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If you're on Windows, then as noted, you can simply use Alt+PrtScr.

But even though this is all you need 99% of the time, Windows' built-in print screen feature does have some limitations. E.g.

  • only the visible parts of your window will be captured, i.e.
    • if your window extends outside the desktop, the hidden parts won't be capture;
    • if your window is obstructed by an always-on-top window (or the start menu or tooltips from other windows), the screenshot will show those obstructions;
  • you can't capture certain OpenGL-rendered pictures (such as 3D games);
    • in XP and older, this applied to most video players as well (possibly due to DirectDraw), as when you pasted the capture into an image editor, the video would continue playing in the picture, but when you saved, it would just be a black screen;

I've yet to find a screencap tool without the first limitation (though I've only tried open source tools like ZScreen and Greenshot), but EVGA Precision supposedly can allow you to take screenshots in OpenGL games; it's not specifically a screen capture tool, but is still used by lots of people for game screenshots apparently.

Note: with either ZScreen or Greenshots, after I posted a bug report, a developer uploaded a patched alpha that I recall was able to capture the full window even if it extended outside of the visible screen area. However, it still cut off parts of the window if it exceeded your maximum resolution.

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If you have the Windows Evernote client installed (requires Evernote account) that can take a partial screenshot to a new note with the Windows + Print Screen keys.

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I use ac'tivAid for doing this job.

It saves (partial) screenshots directly to disc and to clipboard.

My favourite shortcuts are

  • Shift-Print to capture the active window
  • Windows-Print to capture the active window without title bar

ac'tivAid

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protected by nhinkle Mar 24 '12 at 14:52

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