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How Do You Use the Snipping Tool

how do you use the snipping tool

The Snipping Tool is a powerful, built-in utility in both Windows and Mac operating systems, providing users with an easy way to capture screenshots. This blog post titled “How Do You Use the Snipping Tool” aims to explore the various functionalities of the Snipping Tool across different platforms. Whether you’re a Windows or Mac user, understanding how to effectively use the Snipping Tool can significantly enhance your productivity.


In today’s digital world, the ability to quickly capture and share what’s on your screen is invaluable. “How Do You Use the Snipping Tool” is a question many users ask, whether they are capturing an important document, saving an online receipt, or troubleshooting an issue. The Snipping Tool offers a convenient and efficient way to take screenshots, edit them, and save or share them as needed.

How Do You Use the Snipping Tool on a Mac

While Mac computers do not have an application named “Snipping Tool” like Windows, they do offer similar screenshot functionalities that are easy to use and versatile. The question of “How Do You Use the Snipping Tool on a Mac” is often raised by users transitioning from Windows or those new to the Mac ecosystem. In this section, we will explore how to utilize Mac’s screenshot features effectively, essentially serving as the Mac equivalent of the Snipping Tool.

Accessing Screenshot Features on a Mac

The primary way to access screenshot features on a Mac is through keyboard shortcuts, which are quick and convenient. Here are the main ones:

  1. Command-Shift-3: This shortcut captures a screenshot of your entire screen.
  2. Command-Shift-4: This changes your cursor into a crosshair, allowing you to drag and select a specific area of your screen to capture.
  3. Command-Shift-4, then Spacebar: After pressing Command-Shift-4, if you hit the spacebar, your cursor changes to a camera icon. You can then click on any open window to capture a screenshot of just that window, including its shadow.

Using the Screenshot Toolbar

For more advanced options, macOS offers a screenshot toolbar:

  1. Command-Shift-5: Pressing this combination brings up the screenshot toolbar at the bottom of your screen. This toolbar provides options for capturing the entire screen, a selected window, or a selected portion of the screen. Additionally, it offers options for video recording your screen.
  2. Options: The toolbar also includes options to choose where to save your screenshot, set a timer for the screenshot, and select other options like showing the mouse cursor.

Preview and Edit Screenshots

Once you take a screenshot, it briefly appears in the corner of your screen. Clicking on this preview opens the screenshot in Preview mode, where you can crop, annotate, or share it directly.

Tips for Using Mac’s Screenshot Features

  • Remember the Shortcuts: Memorizing these keyboard shortcuts can significantly speed up your workflow.
  • Drag to Adjust: When using Command-Shift-4, you can hold and drag the crosshair to select the exact area you want. You can also hold Shift, Option, or Spacebar after dragging to adjust the selection.
  • Clipboard Trick: If you want to save your screenshot to the clipboard instead of as a file, add Control to any of the combinations above (e.g., Control-Command-Shift-3).
  • Touch Bar Capture: If you have a MacBook with a Touch Bar, you can capture what’s on it by using Command-Shift-6.

How Do You Use the Snipping Tool in Windows 10

The Snipping Tool in Windows 10 is a useful utility that allows users to capture screenshots of their desktop in various formats. This part of our discussion on “How Do You Use the Snipping Tool” focuses on the steps to utilize this tool effectively in Windows 10.

Opening the Snipping Tool

To start using the Snipping Tool in Windows 10, you can locate it in a few different ways:

  1. Search: Click on the Start menu or use the search bar and type “Snipping Tool”. It should appear as a search result for you to click on.
  2. Start Menu: You can also find the Snipping Tool by browsing the Start Menu under Windows Accessories.
  3. Run Command: Press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog, type “snippingtool”, and press Enter.

Choosing a Snip Type

Once the Snipping Tool is open, you can choose from several types of snips:

  1. Free-form Snip: Allows you to draw an irregular shape around an object.
  2. Rectangular Snip: Lets you drag the cursor around an object to form a rectangle.
  3. Window Snip: Captures a browser window or dialog box.
  4. Full-screen Snip: Takes a screenshot of the entire screen.

Capturing a Screenshot

After selecting the desired snip type, the screen will fade, and you can then capture a screenshot:

  1. For a Free-form or Rectangular Snip, use your mouse to select the area you want to capture.
  2. For Window Snip, simply click on the window you want to capture.
  3. For Full-screen Snip, it will capture the entire screen immediately after you select this option.

Editing and Annotating

After capturing a snip, the Snipping Tool window will display your screenshot, where you can annotate or highlight important areas using the Pen and Highlighter tools. You can choose different colors and pen sizes as per your requirement.

Saving and Sharing

Once you’re satisfied with your snip:

  1. Click on the Save Snip button to save your screenshot as an image file. You can choose formats like PNG, JPEG, GIF, or MHTML.
  2. Use the Copy button to copy the snip to your clipboard, so you can paste it into other applications like email or a Word document.
  3. You can also use the Send Snip button to email the snip directly.

Delayed Snip Feature

A unique feature of the Snipping Tool in Windows 10 is the Delay option. This allows you to start a snip with a delay of up to 5 seconds, giving you time to open menus and other items that are only visible when interacted with.

Keyboard Shortcuts

For quicker access, familiarize yourself with these keyboard shortcuts:

  • Alt + M: Choose a snipping mode.
  • Alt + N: Start a new snip in the same mode as the last one.
  • Shift + Arrow keys: Move the cursor to select a rectangular snip area.
  • Ctrl + S: Save the snip.

How to Take a Screenshot with the Snipping Tool App

Taking a screenshot with the Snipping Tool app is a fundamental skill in navigating the digital world, especially for those who frequently need to capture and share what’s on their screen. This section of “How Do You Use the Snipping Tool” guides you through the simple process of taking a screenshot using this versatile app.

Step 1: Launching the Snipping Tool

First, you need to open the Snipping Tool. On Windows, you can find it by searching for “Snipping Tool” in the Start menu. On a Mac, while there is no app called the Snipping Tool, you can use similar functionality through keyboard shortcuts like Command + Shift + 4 or Command + Shift + 5.

Step 2: Selecting the Type of Snip

Once the Snipping Tool is open, you’ll see options for different types of snips:

  • Free-form Snip: Lets you draw a free-form shape around an object.
  • Rectangular Snip: Allows you to drag the cursor to create a rectangle.
  • Window Snip: Captures a specific window that you select.
  • Full-screen Snip: Takes a screenshot of the entire screen.

Choose the one that suits your needs for the screenshot.

Step 3: Capturing the Screenshot

After selecting the snip type:

  • For Free-form or Rectangular Snip, click and drag to select the area you want to capture.
  • For Window Snip, simply click on the window you want to capture.
  • For Full-screen Snip, the tool will capture the entire screen immediately.

Step 4: Editing and Annotating (Optional)

Once you capture the screenshot, the Snipping Tool window will display your new snip. Here, you can use the built-in editing tools to annotate or highlight parts of the screenshot if needed. This feature is particularly useful for adding notes, pointing out important areas, or simply drawing on the screenshot for emphasis.

Step 5: Saving or Sharing the Screenshot

After you are satisfied with your screenshot:

  • Click the Save button to save the snip as an image file on your computer. You can choose from different file formats like PNG, JPEG, or GIF.
  • Use the Copy option to copy the screenshot to your clipboard, so you can easily paste it into another program.
  • If you want to share it directly, some versions of the Snipping Tool offer a Send Snip button to quickly attach it to an email.

Additional Tips

  • Keyboard Shortcuts: Familiarize yourself with keyboard shortcuts for quicker access. For instance, Ctrl + N in the Snipping Tool creates a new snip.
  • Delay Feature: Use the Delay feature to capture screenshots of dropdown menus or tooltips, which require a delay in capturing.

How to Edit Screenshots with the Snipping Tool App

Editing screenshots efficiently is a crucial part of maximizing the utility of the Snipping Tool app. This segment of our article on “How Do You Use the Snipping Tool” focuses on the editing features available within the Snipping Tool, allowing users to enhance and personalize their screenshots before saving or sharing them.

Accessing the Editing Tools

After capturing a screenshot using the Snipping Tool, the image will open in the tool’s editing window. Here, you’ll find a toolbar with several options to edit your screenshot. The availability of these tools may vary slightly depending on your version of the Snipping Tool, but the essential functions remain consistent.

Basic Editing Features

  1. Pen Tool: This tool allows you to draw or write freehand on the screenshot. It’s useful for circling important information, underlining text, or adding handwritten notes. You can choose different colors and pen thicknesses to suit your needs.
  2. Highlighter: The highlighter tool lets you emphasize specific parts of your screenshot without obscuring the underlying content. It’s perfect for drawing attention to important details.
  3. Eraser: If you make a mistake or want to remove some of your annotations, the eraser tool can be used to delete these markings.

Customizing Your Edits

  • Color and Size Selection: For both the pen and highlighter tools, you can select different colors and adjust the thickness of the lines. This customization enables you to make your annotations more visible and organized.
  • Using the Eraser: The eraser tool usually removes entire strokes at a time. If you’re looking to make minor adjustments, you might need to redraw some of your annotations after erasing.

Saving Your Edited Screenshot

Once you are satisfied with your edits:

  1. Click on the Save icon in the Snipping Tool window.
  2. Choose the file format for your screenshot (e.g., PNG, JPEG, GIF).
  3. Select the folder where you want to save the image, name your file, and click ‘Save’.

Additional Options

  • Copy to Clipboard: If you want to quickly use the edited screenshot in another application (like an email or a document), you can copy it to the clipboard using the Copy option.
  • Send via Email: Some versions of the Snipping Tool have an option to send the screenshot directly via email, which can be a quick way to share your annotated screenshot.

Advanced Editing

For more advanced editing needs beyond what the Snipping Tool offers, you can open the saved screenshot in an image editing software like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP for further modifications.


Understanding “How Do You Use the Snipping Tool” is essential in today’s digital landscape. Whether you’re using a Mac or Windows PC, the ability to quickly capture, edit, and share what’s on your screen is a skill that can aid in many scenarios – from professional documentation to personal use. The Snipping Tool is a simple yet powerful tool that is easy to use and can greatly enhance your productivity and communication.

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