Windows-7-Snipping-ToolHave you ever wanted to capture what you see on-screen without having to use Print Screen to do it? Or do you want to avoid using a costly or difficult to use the program to take screenshots and share images with others? Windows 7 has a built-in feature called the Snipping Tool.

The Snipping Tool allows you to take snippets of what is on your screen to save as images and share with others. It comes with Windows 7 Enterprise, Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate Editions. If you are using a touch screen computer, you can actually take a snippet with your fingertips. Otherwise, you can utilize a variety of shapes and freestyle to get the right snippet.

Now, we will take a look at how to use the Snipping Tool. If this is your first time taking screenshots, you may feel a little uncomfortable with how to use the tool. That is okay! Just follow the steps below and it will come to you naturally the more you play around with the Snipping Tool.

How to use the Snipping Tool

Click on your “Start Menu.”

Start Menu

Then, open “All Programs.”

All Programs

From there, open the “Accessories” folder.


Now, click on the “Snipping Tool.” Alternatively, you can just type Snipping in the search box and click on the Snipping Tool option when it shows up in the start menu.


The Snipping Tool will open when you click on the program name. It is a small application, almost like a popup.

Snipping Tool

Snipping Tool Options

Before we get started with it, click on “Options.”


The Snipping Tool has basic settings to work with. For most users, leaving them the way they are by default is the way to go. As you begin using it, you may want to tinker with some of the settings to get the most out of it.

Click “Ok” when you are finished with the options.

Taking Screenshots with the Snipping Tool

When you are ready to begin snipping, you want to click “New.” A drop-down menu will appear and you can choose the shape of the snippet.

Dropdown menu

You have four options to choose from Free-form Snip, Rectangular Snip, Window Snip and Full-screen Snip.

Free-form Snip allows you to take a free-form snippet. This means you can draw any shape to capture what you want.


Rectangular Snip allows you to take a rectangular snippet from your computer screen. This rectangle can be any size.


Window Snip allows you to take a snippet of a window. This includes the borders and everything you would see when opening a new window.



Full-screen Snip takes a snippet of the entire screen. This will include any windows open the way they are laid out on your screen.

Fullscreen Snip

Once you have taken a snippet, you can then edit it within the Snipping Tool. You can draw on the snippet to highlight a point, you can erase what you have added and then you can save, copy or e-mail the snippets.

(13) editing toolbar

The toolbar on the top of the snippet you took with has these tools. Click on the “Pen” icon.

Color of the pen

You can now choose what color ink the pen uses to highlight areas on the snippet. Click “Customize.”

Customize pen

From here, you can also choose the color, the thickness, and type of tip the pen uses.

Click “Ok” to close the window.

If you click on the “Highlighter” icon, you can use a yellow highlighter to point out areas on your snippet.

If you click on the “Eraser” icon, you can erase any of the additions you made with the pen or highlighter on the snippet.

When you are ready to save or share your snippet, you can check out the three options for doing so on the Snipping Tool toolbar. You can save, copy and e-mail your snippet.

If you click on the “Disk” icon, you can save the snippet anywhere on your computer.

If you click on the “Documents” icon, you can copy the snippet and then paste it into an open document.

If you click on the “Email” icon, a drop-down menu will appear.

E-mailing snippets

Now, you can choose to send an e-mail with the snippet embedded or as an attachment. When you click on an option, your default e-mail program will open and allow you to continue to send it to your recipient.

Once you become more comfortable with the Snipping Tool, you will be able to take decent snippets to share, save and e-mail. It does take some practice to get the hang of snipping in Windows 7, the more you use the tool the easier it will come to you to take quality snippets.

Is the Windows 7 Snipping Tool effective?

The Snipping Tool can be effective for Windows 7 users who have little to no experience with taking screenshots. For those of us familiar with taking screenshots, we now that the Snipping Tool cannot come close to the tools we do use for the process. For someone trying to capture something simple or just getting started with screenshots, the Snipping Tool is the first step to learning how snippets work, the different types of snippets and how to begin taking screenshots.

The Windows 7 Snipping Tool gives anyone using the operating system the opportunity to capture what they are seeing and share it with others. If you are using the Snipping Tool, what do you like the most about it? Are you ready to move on to bigger and better screenshot tools?

If you are not using the Snipping Tool, what screenshot software do you use and why do you recommend it? We love to hear what our readers are using to take screenshots, snippets and more.

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