Snipping Tool: A practical use

19 Apr

Hi everyone!

Many guests that I interact with assume that because I’m a techspert I know everything there is to know about computers.  Though I wish I could claim that, it’s simply not true.  The things I know I’ve learned from practical experience, Microsoft training guides for my classes, other techsperts, and the occasional (ok, very frequent) search for the answer on  But sometimes, just like some of you reading this post, I have no idea what to do when something weird happens on my PC.  Absolutely. No. Clue.

I say that to encourage you.  Don’t get discouraged if you don’t know.  It happens to everyone. When I come across situations like this I’ll often go to and search for my issue.  As someone once told me, “You’re never the first person to have the problem.”  Many times I can find the solution online written in an article or on a forum like  If it’s not there, I might write my own post on a forum about my problem to see if someone can help me, or I might e-mail someone I know who might know the answer, like another techspert or even my dad (He’s an IT professional, so he helps me out quite a bit actually).

The only problem with asking for help, particularly when you’re not sure what’s going on, is that it can often be hard to identify the problem for the person assisting you.  Have you ever experienced something like this?

Me: I’m trying to access some folders on my PC, and I can see them, but they’re kind of greyed out at the moment.

Person who is  SUPPOSED to be Helping me: What?  the folders are grey?

Me: Yeah, well not grey.  More like… they kind of look like a ghost or something?

Person: Umm… you have a ghost on your computer?

Me: No, the folder looks like a ghost.

Person: Like a white sheet with eyes?  That’s not possible.

As you can see, this conversation is going nowhere.  I’ve done a horrible job of explaining my problem, they don’t understand what I’m saying, and now they don’t even believe that what I’m talking about is actually happening.  Talk about frustrating!

Luckily, when I use Windows 7 I have a really easy way around problems like this one.  The snipping tool!

Note: The snipping tool is available to use in all versions of Windows 7, with the exception of Windows 7 Starter.

The snipping tool allows me to select a portion of the screen and then, essentially, take a picture of that selection.  I can then save or e-mail that selection if I want.  I can snip absolutely anything that I can see on my screen!

To use the snipping tool, first click on your start button in the bottom left corner of your screen.  Then type in “snip.”  You’ll notice your start menu changes to a list of search results, click on “snipping tool” at the top of the list.image

Once the snipping tool is open you can simply place your mouse in the upper left corner of the item, left click and hold, and then drag your mouse down diagonally to the right, creating a box around your item.  Release the mouse once you have the box at the size you’d like. 

For example:  Here’s the snip I created of my problem I mentioned in the example:


I even wrote on the snip with a pen tool to point out my specific issue (see  how this folder is greyed out or “ghosted” compared to the other folders?).

Once I have my snip I can just select the e-mail option to send this to the person who is helping me.  Now that they can see what I’m talking about, it will be a lot easier for them to help me.  And, more importantly, my snip acts as proof: this really DID happen on my PC, or else I would not have been able to snip it!

The snipping tool can be used for a lot of things, but next time you come across something you’re unsure of, snip it, and then someone will have more information when assisting you!

For a video demonstrating the snipping tool, click here!

-Techspert Krista, ms Statendam


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