The Screenshot Capture Tool in Microsoft Office

Notes from the “Office Guy” at Directions Training:

Here’s another cool feature found in Microsoft Office that you might not be aware of. Now, when I started this blog, I said that I would focus on the Office 2013 Suite – but this month I’m going to make an exception. This feature was actually introduced in the Office 2010 Suite, but in the course of my teaching I frequently discover that a lot of folks overlook something that’s right in front of them. It’s so easy to use that those of you still using Office 2010 can take immediate advantage of it.

This feature is also available in the 2013 Suite, and it works the same way in both versions.

So, what is this month’s featured feature?  The Screenshot capture tool.  It is most commonly used in PowerPoint, but is also available (and works the same way) in Word and Excel.

The idea is simple – you may need to place a picture of all or part of a computer screen image into a document. I frequently have to do training documents that guide users through a step-by-step process, and a picture is worth a thousand words! But in past versions (Office 2007 and all earlier versions) the only way to do this was by using cumbersome methods.

For instance, you could get the screen image ready, then press the keyboard combination Ctrl+PrtScn (if you could find the PrtScn button), then Paste the entire screen shot in a document as a picture. But, if you only wanted to capture part of the screen image, you’d then have to crop out the piece of the screen image you wanted, and then adjust its size…cumbersome, but eventually you’d get the result you wanted.

Or, you may have used 3rd party screen capture software, or used the “Snipping Tool” provided as part of the Windows operating system. Any way you did it, the new tool is simply easier and faster – always a good thing!

So, where is this tool and how does it work? (I’m actually using this tool to prepare THIS BLOG!)

In all Microsoft Office 2010 and/or 2013 programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), you will find the tool on the Insert Tab, Illustrations Group as pictured below:

You have to set the stage and have the screens you want to capture available.

In order to make a screen available for capture, you simply have to have the window open on your desktop and not have the window minimized. The window could contain any application, document or website.

Then, in the document in which you want to insert the screen capture, click your mouse to position the cursor where you want to insert the image and then click the Screenshot button. A menu will then drop down from the button as illustrated below:

At this point, if all you want is to capture an entire screen image, simply click on the miniature picture (thumbnail) of the window you wish to capture and click on it – that’s it! Let’s say I want to capture a full screen image of the PowerPoint Presentation pictured above and I click on it:

There it is!

If I only want to capture a portion of a screen, the setup is just a little trickier. I need to position the thumbnail (miniature picture) of the window in the top row, left hand column of the menu that drops down off the Screenshot button. How do I accomplish this? By making the window the last window I look at before I go to capture the Screenshot.

What if I also have an Excel file window open at the same time as many other windows and I just want to capture a small portion of the Excel window? Simply click into the Excel window to display it on your desktop, and then immediately switch back to the document you want to insert the Screenshot into (remember, do not minimize the window).

When you click the Screenshot button, you will see the image of the last window you looked at in the top row, left column of the menu. Now (we’re almost done here), do not click on the image of this window, but instead click the command Screen Clipping.

What happens next is that you will see the full screen you want to capture appear on your screen. Wait for just a few seconds and then the screen will be covered by a milky-white color (looks like the fog has rolled over your screen) and a large cross shape will appear as pictured below:

Finally, let’s say I just want to capture a picture of the chart from this screen. The large cross-shape is your mouse pointer – move it above and to the left of where you want to start capturing the image and then click and hold your mouse button and drag down and to the right. As you do this, you will see the area of the screen that will be captured as you draw a rectangle around it. Then, let go of your mouse and voila! You will have captured just the part of the screen you want:

For more Microsoft Applications Training information visit or call 1-855-575-8900.


  1. This was incredibly helpful. I have been using excel and word forever and never had to use the screenshot tool until today. Must look for other ways to use that feature!

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