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by Ray DeCosta

Q. I've been having trouble with error messages from one of my programs. A friend told me to send him a screen shot. How do I do that?

A. A screen shot is simply a picture of your computer screen that someone else can look at to help you with your problem. You don't even have to dig out your digital camera! You already have software on your computer which will enable you to save what's on your screen.

To capture the entire screen, simply hit the Print Screen key, occasionally labeled "Prt Scr" or something similar. To capture just the active window (in this case, your error message), hold down the Alt key and then hit the Print Screen key. Nothing will appear to happen, but don't worry. The contents of your screen (or window) will have been copied for use by other programs.

The easiest way to save your screen shot is to open up Wordpad or almost any word processing program. Everyone already has Wordpad which may usually be found under All Programs -- Accessories. Please note that Notepad will not work - it's a text only program. Then, just paste your image into your document, Save As an RTF (Rich Text Format) file and there you go! You now have a file containing a picture of your error message that you may send off to your friend.

There are many other ways of doing the same basic procedure. But give the easy way a try first.

Published: Courier 3/14/10 - Page 5C