Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Capture screenshot of drop down menu

Once in a blue moon you need to capture a screenshot (aka screendump) and paste it into a document or a web page. As you probably know this is quite easy using the PrintScreen (aka PrntScrn) key which will capture the screenshot and put it on your clipboard. Typically there are two ways to do this.

PrintScreen: Screenshot of the entire screen (i.e. all windows)
ALT + PrintScreen: Screenshot of only current window (i.e. window in focus).

However, what if you need to capture a screenshot of the current window with a drop down menu showing? That is a bit more difficult as the drop down menu disappears as soon as you press the ALT key. So there are 2 ways to do this:

You could grab the entire screen using PrintScreen and bring the capture into Paint (or any other paint program) and cut out the part that you need.

However, there is a much simpler solution. Put focus on the window you want to capture. Close the drop down menu if open. Press ALT + (letter to open the drop down), keep holding ALT down, and press PrintScreen. You can even move the mouse around to highlight the item you want as long as you keep holding down ALT.

For the screen shot below, I pressed ALT + v (to open View), then I moved the mouse to open "Text Size", then I pressed ALT + PrintScreen to capture the window plus drop down. The important thing is to hold down the ALT key the whole time.

2017 update:  You can also use the new Windows built-in capture tool called Snipping Tool. Press Windows key (lower left, typically next to ALT button), and type "snip" and you should see it pop up in your menu. Press ENTER to run. Now drag to capture. Automatically copied to clip-board.  To capture menus, open Snipping Tool, and press ESC to temporarily disable to capture. Now open menus to capture, and press CTRL-PrintScreen to open Snipping Tool.

Happy screen capturing.


LDayHarrison said...

Yes, people still read this post and I am so grateful to you for sharing this tip! Great job on this.

Wantfit said...

Thank you for your tips. It saved a lot of hassels.

CupcakeLover69 said...

how simple is that to hold ALT before you hover your mouse then click Print Screen. I have been trawling websites to find this out and so many men gave geekified answers with coding to the nth degree. THANKYOU!!

eric kurth said...

This tip is rediculously helpful for my job and my team. Thank you for the post :)

eddoria said...

This tip is still very helpful. Thanks.

Scooter1203 said...

Thank you! This is exactly what I needed!

Michael Scheepers said...


Scott Bailey said...

Thank you for these instructions, really helpful!! I'd also recommend Acethinker Screen Grabber which I have used for many years. It's free and it allows for taking screenshots of whole screen or any selected area, even scroll-down page. Besides, it also comes with other features like making annotations, uploading and sharing images.

Thomas Gemal said...

Scott, good point about the other tool. I wrote this waaayy long ago, and I'll update as the simplest ways on Windows is just to use the built-in Snippet tool, that is actaully pretty good.