The Connected Classroom Skills: Screenshots and Screen Captures

When producing work on the computer, having a quick way to share what’s on your screen can be a very helpful tool. Each of the platforms that we use at U Prep (Windows 8, Mac, and iPad) have easy ways to capture either an image or video of anything that happens on your screen. You can use this to demonstrate a “how-to,” save your results, or combine many different kinds of materials into a presentation or report. Take a view moments to familiarize yourself with how to do these steps for your devices, and you’ll probably be surprised how often you have the opportunity to use them!


A screenshot is a still picture which shows what’s on your screen. You can use it to show your whole screen or capture the particular area that you would like people to see.

  • Mac: Mac OS X has a built-in shortcut for taking screenshots. Press Command-Shift-3 to take a picture of the whole screen, or Command-Shift-4 to drag a box around the area that you want to capture. The pictures are automatically saved onto your Desktop.

    The Windows 8 Snipping Tool tile for screen capture images.
    The Windows 8 Snipping Tool tile for screen capture images.
  • Windows 8: To capture your whole screen, press the Print Screen (sometimes “PrtScn”) on your keyboard. The picture is saved to the “Screenshots” folder in your Pictures. If you want to capture part of the screen, use a built-in app called “Snipping Tool.” To make it easier to access, right-click or touch-and-hold to pin it to both your taskbar and your Start screen. You can also create a shortcut key for it. Snipping Tool will let you draw directly on the screenshot to highlight or point to something important, and ask you where you would like to save the picture.
  • iPad: Click both the Start and Home buttons at the same time, and the screen will blink to show that you’ve taken a screenshot of the whole screen. Screenshots are automatically saved to your Camera Roll. From there, use a program like Skitch to add arrows, highlights or text.

Screen Capture

“Screen Capture” usually refers to a video recording which shows what’s happening on screen. Usually, people record their voice describing what they’re doing as well. This can be used to do anything from demonstrating a couple of small actions to recording an entire presentation.

  • Mac: Again, Mac OS X has a built-in screen recording program called “QuickTime Player.” Using QuickTime Player, you can generate a screen recording video. By default, the microphone is turned off when you first use the program so that it can record any sounds the computer is making– if you want to record yourself speak, make sure that you switch the program to your built-in microphone.

    Turn on your built-in microphone in QuickTime Player to record your voice
    Turn on your built-in microphone in QuickTime Player to record your voice on Mac
  • Windows 8: To record screencast video in Windows 8, you’ll need to download a separate video program. There are many options available, but two free options are Jing, which will produce 5 minutes of video for free, or Screencast-o-Matic, which will give you 15 minutes with the free version (although with a small watermark).
  • iPad: There is no way to do a full video recording using only the iPad. If you want to make a video demonstration using your iPad, there are two options:
    • Explain Everything. You can take a series of screenshots and import them into Explain Everything. In EE, you can mark them up, and record a video with your voice narrating each picture. You can export that video.
    • Reflector with a Mac or Windows. If you have a desktop or laptop available, you can use a program called Reflector ($13) to send your iPad screen to your Windows or Mac machine. From there, you can use either of the ways above to record it. U Prep has several computers around which have Reflector– if you have a project where you need to record full video from your iPad, talk to the Academic Tech office to set up a time when you can record.

Each of those programs can save many different types of files. Some (like .AVI) might not open in other programs, or might not be viewable by your audience. All of these can save as .MP4, which is a very common video file format, and will be your best bet to make sure you can use the video the way you want.

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