Time saving online tips (you may have forgotten you know)!

quick tips

This week I gave a colleague a quick tip on how to use the Snipping Tool available on your PC or laptop. She found this very useful so I thought I would share it in a blog post and some other quick tips that I have found useful myself.

The Snipping Tool

Snipping Tool icon

This simple tool allows you to drag a frame around something you want to copy and paste into a document or presentation. You may be familiar with the print screen function using the PrtSc button (others shortcuts here if you don’t have this button), however this grabs the whole screen.The Snipping Tool app allows you to also take a snapshot to copy words or images from a specific part of your PC/laptop screen.

The Snipping Tool can capture any of the following types of snips:

  • Free-form snip: Draw a free-form shape around an object.
  • Rectangular snip: Drag the cursor around an object to form a rectangle.
  • Window snip: Select a window, such as a dialogue box, that you want to capture.
  • Full-screen snip: Capture the entire screen.

To access the Snipping Tool from Windows, use the search field at the bottom of your screen as below.

Snipping Tool

For easy access to this tool, you can choose to pin the Snipping Tool to your taskbar. You will then see the icon and simply need to click on this to open the tool.

If you have Windows 10 there is another version of this called the Snip and Sketch tool. To access press Windows logo key  Shift S to open or enter Snip & Sketch in the search field. This works in the same way. Once you snip an area of your screen — the snipped image is added to your clipboard and you can paste it immediately in another app. A screen prompt will also allow you to annotate, save or share it. Snip & Sketch also provides a few tools for annotating images, namely pen, pencil and highlighter. Once you click a tool to select ityou can click it again to change its color or thickness.  

The Notepad tool

Notepad icon

Again this can be found by searching for Notepad in the search field and you can pin to your taskbar. What I like about this tool is that you can use the Notepad to take notes whilst you are looking at whatever you have open, for example a Word Doc, PDF, PowerPoint or a web page and take notes. The notepad stays open as you scroll down the page.

Notepad example

For some reason, Notepad has word wrap turned off. This means everything you type ends up on one long line until you press enter, which starts another long line. If you would like to see what you are typing without having to scroll all the way to the right, turn Word Wrap on by going to Format. If you hover at the edge of an open note you can adjust the size of your notepad.

You can save text documents in Notepad in the same way as in Word. Files are saved with a .txt extension and in plain text. Alternatively select Ctrl and A to grab all the text and then paste where you want it to go.

Formatted text can be temporarily pasted into Notepad, and then immediately copied again in stripped format to paste into another programme.

The Find function

This function can search an open web page or programme to find a specific word or phrase. The Find tool is accessed by simply using Ctrl and F together. A box will then open in which you can enter the word or phrase you wish to find. It will then show how many occurrences there are and highlight these in the text.

Ctrl and F

The book above is called Social Media in Higher Education: Case Studies, Reflections and Analysis edited by Chris Rowell.

I hope you find these quick tips useful!

About Sue Beckingham

A National Teaching Fellow, Educational Developer and Principal Lecturer in Computing with a research interest in the use of social media in higher education.
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