Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 24, 2021)

10

If you have ever tried to explain computer configuration or processes to someone over the phone, you know the process can be quite frustrating. You are never quite sure if the person on the other end is looking at the same thing on their screen that you are.

A quick way to ease this predicament is to write up your instructions and include pictures. Word, in conjunction with Windows, makes this quite easy. Try this the next time you are faced with this task:

  1. On your computer, walk through the steps you want to explain.
  2. At appropriate times, capture the entire screen or a single dialog box to the Clipboard. You do this by pressing the Print Screen key to capture the entire screen, or Alt+Print Screen to capture the active window or dialog box.
  3. Paste the captured screen information into Word by pressing Ctrl+V.
  4. Add any explanatory text necessary.
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 until you are finished.
  6. Save your document.

At this point you can e-mail the document to the remote site, or you can transmit it in some other way, such as printing or by disk.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1585) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four minus 4?

2021-07-30 00:33:08

Zvi

To Neil Fuller: thanks for the tip. Much faster than the snipping Tool.


2021-06-24 09:00:03

Neil Fuller

I use this all the time for illustrating all sorts of things.
However, I have moved on from Alt+Print Screen to Windows+Shift+S
This gives you far mare options but, importantly, allows you to easily drag a selection window across just the bit of screen you want to clip


2017-06-30 10:45:11

Danny Nicholas

This is a nice tip, but windows tends to make the screen shots larger and more cumbersome than they should be. a useful extra step is to paste the screenshot into paintbrush, crop it, cut it, then paste it into Word. The finish result is cleaner and smaller.


2014-07-04 04:35:02

cadick

I realy want to give a 'like' to the Jaker's answer.

Nowadays, we can also use some chat tools including the same function with Hot-key, which can catch a user-default part of screen and mark it.


2013-03-07 08:52:21

Heather

Or you could use the Screenshot tool on the insert tab to take a screen print or a clipping? Far easier if you're going to paste it into a word document anyway. :-)


2013-03-06 12:56:39

Greta Tiffin

And for those of you who may have been caught by this - turn the F-Lock (function key lock) OFF - it may keep the prtscrn key from functioning.


2013-03-06 10:01:19

E. N. Abbott

Add to the value of your screen capture by adding a callout. (Insert > Shapes > callout), so that you can add comments, notes, instructions relative to a particular point on the screen.


2013-03-06 09:52:25

Jaker

What about CTRL + ALT + PRINT SCRN. By doing this you get just the open window or the open error message. We use this all the time to send errors to IT. Or when building procedures.


2013-03-06 07:54:18

Barry Fitzpatrick

For this kind of exercise I would either screen share using Skype, or use a remote control software such as TeamViewer or LogMeIn.

But the above is useful to document a procedure for use offline.


2013-03-06 07:27:58

John Summers

Don't forget the Snipping Tool, if available to you - it's great for conveying views of a part of a screen display.


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