Quick Screenshot Capture and Sharing with OneNote

As we move to an increasingly ”virtual” work environment, screenshots are becoming an essential tool to quickly share information.  This is especially true with us web workers.  My team is currently prototyping a web application and we find ourselves passing around screenshots on a daily basis.  This is usually done via email since no two of us sit in the same location. 

 You may have a different name for it (like screen capture, dump, or grab) but in its simplest form a screenshot is just an image taken of what is currently on your computer screen.  Most often, you’ll also want to markup the image and share it with someone else.  There are tons of tools out there that make taking screenshots quick and easy, but most of these require extra software licenses or downloads.  Since it can sometimes be tough for us govies to get approval to buy or install these types of apps I’d like to point out a quick and easy screenshot tool that you may already have on your computer, Microsoft OneNote. 

Microsoft OneNote comes installed with the Office suite of applications so, it may already be on your gov. PC as part of the standard configuration.  OneNote is billed as a note-taking and information management program.  Part of its functionality includes the ability to take partial and full screenshots.  You can then mark them up using drawing tools similar to what is found in other Microsoft applications and easily share the screenshots with your team. 

Taking a screenshot with OneNote is super simple.  First, open OneNote so the icon displays in your task bar.  If you’re not a regular user of OneNote, just close it.  It’ll remain open in the background.  This activates the screen capture shortcut for OneNote.  Pressing the Windows Key + S is the quickest way to take a screenshot.  The screen will turn a translucent white and you can use the mouse to create a box around the area you want to capture. 


 As soon as you release your mouse button, OneNote it will automatically save and file the capture as an Unfiled Note.  Then you can move it to a current Notebook or create a new one.  If you’d simply like to copy the capture to your clipboard, there’s a setting for that.  Just right click on the OneNote icon in your system tray and change the Screen Clipping Default setting.

I love that OneNote automatically saves the URL from the website you captured and displays it under the image.   You can also really quickly add any sort of notes the capture where ever you like.  I added the highlighted information in the capture below.  Hint: Hold down the ALT key if you don’t want to snap your markup to the grid. 

Once you’ve grabbed your screenshot it’s really easy to share.  You can save the notebook to your SharePoint portal, create a LiveSharing session with a team mate on-the-spot, start a new email with your screenshot in the body (CTRL+Shift+E), send it over to use in Word, save it as a .pdf (or other file types) and lots more.  Look under the Share and File menus on OneNote to explore your options.


OneNote has a ton of other great features and lots more you can do with screen captures that I didn’t cover here.  I’d highly recommend checking it out and playing around to see how it can help you simply your work share with your team more easily.

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