DMS Facets

Relating several topics, including IT, Microsoft Access, sports administration, and micro-ISV business.

Snip Snip


I like the Snipping Tool in Vista

snip Sometimes “quick and easy” is good.

The Snipping Tool which is part of Windows Vista is a screen capture utility.

For me, it’s been a recent discovery.  But since that time, I have found myself grabbing it fairly often.

The best thing about it is that it’s “feature-sparse”!

Of course, for some purposes you need screen capture with lots of flexible options about what to capture, when and how, coupled with powerful editing tools, in order to produce presentation-standard outputs.

In such cases the Snipping Tool does not snip the mustard, and for myself Snagit continues to be an essential blade in the quiver.

But I reckon the Snipping Tool designers have got the mix of functionality just about right, for those times where you want a simple no nonsense instant shot.

Here are a few examples of what I have used it for today:

  • I got an email from a customer asking where does he put a certain type of information into his Access database application.  I opened the application at the form my customer is supposed to use, grabbed the Snipping Tool, grabbed a screen shot of the relevant section of the form, highlighted the textbox, and emailed it to him.  Total time less than 60 seconds.  Totally effective, adequate to the purpose, and certainly quicker than I could have handled it by any other means.
  • As part of a development task, I had to delete a bunch of tables in a database, and replace them with tables imported from another database.  I wanted to make sure the Relationships pertaining to these tables would end up the same, without having to work it out (thinking is so time consuming, don’t you find?)  Opened the Relationships window, grabbed the Snipping Tool, grabbed a shot of the relationship diagram, didn’t even save it – just left it sitting there to refer back to, deleted the tables, imported the new ones, and checked the relationships.  Nice.
  • While working on one aspect of a database, I thought of something tangential that I would need to attend to later.  Grabbed the Snipping Tool, took a capture of the relevant part of the report (in this case), used my tablet to write a note on it, and whacked in into my “to do” page in OneNote.  Couldn’t have done it quicker and better any other way.

And so on.  The examples are infinite of course.

So here’s the deal… you get:

  • A handful of configuration options;
  • The choice of 4 capture size/shape options;
  • A pen for freehand drawing/writing, with the choice of 2 nibs, 3 thicknesses, and 16 colours;
  • A highlighter, in the colour of your choice (as long as you choose yellow);
  • Save your capture to a choice of 4 formats;
  • A snappy user interface.

A lot of the time, that’s plenty.


  1. Alan

    A long time favourite of mine has been MWSnap. This very simple freeware application quietly sits in your System Tray and when need a simple hot key combination will capture the entire screen, a window, a predefined portion (user configurable) or user drawn. The ‘snap’ can be saved automatically using autosave (user filenames) or you can choose to be prompted to save and/or simply use the clipboard.

    In addition one can add arrows, pointers, mouse cursors, text, frames and a few other things besides. Altogether a great application. Just Google MWSnap Mirek

    Now can anyone tell me if the Windows Snippet application is available for XP?

  2. Steve

    Thanks, Alan. MWSnap sounds very cool, and certainly more features than the one I wrote about.

    As for the availablility of the Snipping Tool for XP, I have no idea. It comes bundled with Vista, that’s all I know.


So, what do you think ?