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The Many Uses of Windows 7's Snipping Tool

Jeannie has been writing online for over 10 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—hobbies, opinions, dating advice, and more!

Snipped from my own profile.

Snipped from my own profile.

Snipping Tool = Awesome

If you happen to have Windows 7 on your computer, I certainly hope you have discovered the amazing Snipping Tool. In my opinion, it is really the best new feature Microsoft opted to give Windows 7. When we upgraded to the Windows 7 operating system at work, it was tough getting accustomed to it. However, it has all been worth it because of a beautiful feature called the Snipping Tool. Please let me explain.

The Snipping Tool is easily found in the Accessories folder in the Menu. Once you find it, by all means, make a shortcut for it because you will use it often. When you click on the Snipping Tool, you can easily outline anything on your computer screen and capture it. Sure, you might be asking how this is different from a screen shot. I am happy to tell you!

You can choose a very specific area that you want to save using the Snipping Tool. After that, you can even highlight what you want on the captured image or use a built-in Snipping Tool pen to write more information on the snipped image. Once you've customized your image, you can save it as a photo. You might also opt to capture an image, and copy and paste it into an email or document instead of saving it.

I can give you some examples of why the Snipping Tool can make your life easier and help you achieve many tasks much quicker.

Create Photos

Sometimes you just simply want to capture one small portion of what you are seeing on a computer screen. For instance, perhaps you just really like the GEICO gecko. You see an ad with him in it, and you would just like the gecko, but without all the annoying slogans associated with him. When you find a GEICO ad you like, you can simply click on the Snipping Tool, outline the gecko, save the photo, and then use it for your computer background if you like. It literally takes about 10 seconds to do that instead of dealing with more complex software.

Perhaps you really like a nice photo a friend posted of you on Facebook. Unfortunately, your annoying Uncle Ernie is in the background making an ugly face. You can simply use the Snipping Tool to outline you and then save just your lovely face in JPEG format. Thanks, but no thanks to Uncle Ernie! It is really simple to eliminate him... of course, not out of your life or anything that harsh.

Illustrate Your Instructions

I've also found the Snipping Tool is extremely useful for writing online. Sometimes I am trying to explain how to do something online, but I want a screen shot of it. Instead of using the screen shot function which often includes way more than needed, I can use the Snipping Tool to focus on exactly the topic I am covering. I can even highlight certain sections for readers to understand what I am explaining better.

Not only is there really helpful for blogging, this is great for step-by-step how-to manuals, too. We recently created a new website at work, and a Word document full of basic instructions was needed. Within minutes, I was able to create an entire Word document using the Snipping Tool. Everyone had step-by-step instructions and were able to maneuver the website with ease. Please note you do not have to save the image as a photo for this type of activity. Right clicking on a snipped image, copying it and pasting it into a Word document works just as well for instruction manuals.

Highlight or write on the image; this snipped image was used for a hub about FSA eligible products.

Highlight or write on the image; this snipped image was used for a hub about FSA eligible products.

Create Receipts

Once again, I've found another use for the Snipping Tool at work that saves plenty of time. Our system does not automatically create receipts for each payment at work. In the past, we had to create a Word document for anyone that requested a receipt. You can imagine how time consuming that was. Also, we found some customers did not like the "unprofessional" look of the Word documents. Well, all of that is in our past now!

With the Snipping Tool, I simply take a "snip" of the screen during the transaction. When I get to the payment screen, I make sure to include all the important information in the image. Then I use the built-in Snipping Tool pen to black out the credit card or personal information a customer would not want others to see. I right click on the image, copy it, and then paste the image into an email. I email it right away and I've actually gotten compliments on how our new "receipts" look so much more professional now. Thanks, Snipping Tool!

Save a message in case you need it later.

Save a message in case you need it later.

Save Messages

There was a time when the IT department at any job had to hope anyone with a technical issue would take a screen shot of a problem just before a computer crashed. If not, hopefully that person would remember what the error message said. With the Snipping Tool, a person can easily capture the message, save it, and email that information to the IT staff.

Even if your computer is not about to explode, there are times when you might want to save a message that has popped up on your screen. Perhaps you need to email that information to someone. Sometimes you may even want to save messages for evidence. I know someone that used the Snipping Tool to capture images from someone's Twitter page to show to an attorney. This is perfect because even if that information is deleted later, you can save everything just as it was using the Snipping Tool.

Create Your Own Maps

Maybe you would like to create your own personal obsessive map and MapQuest or Google Maps just are not giving you enough options. With the Snipping Tool, you can find a map online and then highlight what you find most important on a map. Forget about MapQuest and all their silly restrictions!

For instance, perhaps you'd like to make a map highlighting the best restaurants in a certain area. You can assign colors to different types of restaurants. You can use the highlighter or built-in pen functions to achieve this. Furthermore, you can also customize the built-in pen to use different colors and different levels of thickness. You can obsessively track every single location with your own color coding system in no time!

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This is also perfect for friends that are visiting you for the first time. If they need some extra assistance, but refuse to use MapQuest or Google Maps themselves, you can do the search for them, highlight or draw on the map, and then email it to them. Draw on the map where they will see the convenience store on the right, the broken down truck in your neighbor's yard, and show them were to turn when they see the Walmart on the left side of the road.

Color code restaurants based on preferences like best coffee, best dessert, etc.

Color code restaurants based on preferences like best coffee, best dessert, etc.

So Many Options, So Little Time!

As you can see, I am a big fan of the Snipping Tool. It has helped me become far more efficient in many areas of my life. When you in the middle of a technology crisis at home or work, stop and ask yourself, "How can the Snipping Tool help me?" Sure, it can't always help, but it can help much more than you think. Whatever you need that your computer system is lacking, how can the Snipping Tool help? Chances are, it can and it will help you!

Copyright ©2013 Jeannieinabottle

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Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on June 23, 2013:

It is a really wonderful tool. I know there are other tools out there similar to the Snipping Tool, but this is great because it works well, it is simple, and free with Windows 7. Thanks for your comment. :-)

Jenn-Anne on June 23, 2013:

I admit I had no idea about the snipping tool. It sounds incredibly useful! Now that I know more about it I will definitely give it a try. Great hub!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on June 23, 2013:

Thanks so much for the votes! I am happy you liked my hub.

Lucy Jones from Scandinavia on June 23, 2013:

Brilliant - thanks for sharing. Voted up and very interesting.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on June 23, 2013:

meghanharley - Thanks for checking out my hub! I am happy to help!

Nell Rose - Thanks for the votes and for sharing! I am sure you will find many uses for the Snipping Tool.

greatstuff - I am happy to remind you. :-) I don't know how I ever got alone without the Snipping Tool. Thanks for your comment.

Gladys Familaran - I am happy to help you out. Thanks for checking out my hub.

UnnamedHarald - Thanks for the votes! It is a really handy tool and I am happy to share it with everyone. :-)

David Hunt from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on June 22, 2013:

A big thumbs up, useful and interesting. Thanks for the heads up on a handy tool I've had for years and never knew it.

Gladys Familaran on June 22, 2013:

wow! I didn't know that... I think I could use this at work. Thanks for posting!

Mazlan A from Malaysia on June 22, 2013:

Thanks for reminding me. I used it once and forgot all about it until I read your article!

Nell Rose from England on June 22, 2013:

I had no idea about this! what a good idea, I am going to go snipping and try it out, thanks for the great info, voted up and shared! nell

meghanharley from UK on June 22, 2013:

Great stuff - I'm another who had no idea! This will save me a lot of time over time. Many thanks Jeannie.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on June 20, 2013:

I am glad I could help. I am in love with the Snipping Tool and I don't know how I got along without it before. Thanks for the votes!

Susan Bailey from South Yorkshire, UK on June 20, 2013:

How interesting. I knew nothing of this. I will be checking this out. Voted up and interesting

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on June 20, 2013:

Thanks for checking out my hub! I hope you enjoy the Snipping Tool... the best feature Windows 7 has to offer, in my opinion.

Mike Robbers from London on June 19, 2013:

Useful hub and a great suggestion. Haven't use the snipping tool so far but now I will!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on June 19, 2013:

Thanks so much, drbj. I hope you enjoy using the Snipping Tool.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on June 18, 2013:

Excellent in-depth info about an interesting tool I intend to examine more thoroughly. Thank you, Jeannie. Happy Snipping!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on June 18, 2013:

Cogerson - I am glad you will check out the Snipping Tool now. It is so helpful. I am sure you will find a use for it with your own hubs. Thanks for the votes!

Angelo52 - Great! I am happy you will be using the Snipping Tool now. It is probably the best Windows 7 feature. Thanks for sharing and for the thumbs up!

bravewarrior - I know what you mean... the copyright thing is always a worry. That is why I encourage people to snip online ads if they are only using them for the own personal use, like a computer background, not a publication. Thanks for your comment!

randomcreative - I am happy you will give the Snipping Tool a try. I will bet you can find many ways to use it. You are so creative and artistic. Thanks for checking out my hub!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 18, 2013:

I haven't checked out this feature of Windows 7, but I will now! Thanks for all of the great tips!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 18, 2013:

I never knew about this tool. I see how it could come in handy. However, if snipping photos you need to be sure to add the attribution otherwise, you could find yourself infringing on copyrights.

Angelo52 on June 18, 2013:

I have windows 7 and never knew about the snipping tool. Thanks to your article I now know it exists, where to find it and some of the things I can do with. Thumbs up and sharing.

UltimateMovieRankings from Virginia on June 18, 2013:

Lots of good information and solid suggestions for Windows 7 Snipping Tools. In the past I quickly check out this on my computer, but your hub has me motivated to dig a little deeper. Voted up and very useful.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on June 18, 2013:

Vickiw - Oh, you should definitely use it. It has helped save me so much time at work and even at home. Thanks for checking out my hub!

jabelufiroz - Thanks for the vote up! I am glad you liked it.

Suzie HQ - I found it by accident too. Honestly, I did not like Windows 7 at first when we upgraded to it, but once I found the Snipping Tool, I decided Windows 7 was great. Thanks for your comment!

theryanpride - I am happy I was able to show you a new feature in Microsoft. Have fun and thanks for the comment!

Sonya from Indiana on June 18, 2013:

Thank you for sharing i never knew there was such a tool i am going to play with it and see what i can do with my pictures it is going to be fun.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on June 18, 2013:

Hi Jaeannieinabottle,

i have used it and found it GREAT, we found by accident actually! Playing around with my Vista as it is prone to tantrums!! Thanks so much on showing just HOW useful snipping tool is and I must go back and use more.Cheers for enlightening us!!

Firoz from India on June 17, 2013:

Uses of Windows 7's Snipping Tool clearly explained. Voted up.

Vickiw on June 17, 2013:

Wow! This is a GREAT Hub! Thank you Jeanieinabottle. I have seen the snipping tool, but never used it. This is when I get frustrated with myself! Anyway, now I want to practise snipping!

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