Many times, we want to print the contents of our computer monitor — not just the contents that will print when we use the File > Print function or press the Print icon (in a program that has one).
There’s another way to trigger a program to print, assuming that the program can print. You can hold down the Ctrl key and press the P key. That will open the Print dialog box as usual.
In the old DOS days, the Prnt Scrn button on our keyboards would immediately route a copy of our monitor to the printer. Of course, back then, we always wanted to capture the screen to a file — some people will never be happy. <grin>
In Windows, the Prnt Scrn button has an entirely different function. It puts a copy of the Windows Desktop into the Clipboard, the section of Windows’ memory that is used for copying and pasting.
Once you have the copy in the Clipboard, you can paste into any program that will accept an image. For example, you can paste the image into Microsoft Word as an illustration in a Word document you’re writing. You can paste it into a graphics editor as a new image, too.
Once it’s in a graphics editor (like Paint, Google Picasa, PhotoImpact, Corel Draw and Adobe Photoshop Elements), you can edit the image, crop it to pick a smaller section of it, and make other changes.
If you want the contents of a Window, just hold down the Alt key while you click on the Prnt Scrn key. That will copy only the contents of the active window.
Thanks to Clif of the Clif Notes Newsletter for the correction. I originally wrote Control Prnt-Scrn.
But, Alt Prnt-Scrn is the combination to copy the contents of the active window.