Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How to Convert a Screen Image to a Suitable Graphic Using the GIMP.

This tip is "low tech" but something I'm often asked.

How can I grab an image from the screen so that I can stick it into a Word Document.

I'm sure that there's people out there nodding their heads and saying "ah, yes, the old Print Screen or Alt+PrintScreen trick" - then just paste into word". Well, yes and no.

Did you know that if you do a print screen and paste it into Word, Excel, Powerpoint or even Lotus Notes, that the size of your document will grow considerably compared to saving the same image as a JPEG and then importing it?

If you have a lot of graphics to insert, then this oversight can lead to serious performance issues, instability and ultimately document corruption. There is a better way.

A Quick Note on The Gimp
I've selected The GIMP as the package of choice here, not because it's the best but because it's the best FREE application which works across multiple platforms.

How To Grab the Image
If you're in a web browser, you won't need these instructions most of the time since you can simply right-mouse click on most images and save them directly. If you're in something like Acrobat or if you want to capture part of your screen, then it's a different kettle of fish.

  1. The first step is to get the image you want to grab into an unblocked position on your screen (ie scroll so that you can see the entire image).

  2. Now Press the PrintScreen Button. This copies the current screen to the clipboard. Note that if you only want to capture the current window or the current dialog box, you can use the Alt+PrintScreen button.

  3. Start the GIMP software

  4. From the Gimp Menu, select File, Acquire, Paste as New.
    This will paste the screen into the GIMP so that you can work on it.

  5. If your image is smaller than what you've captured, you'll want to crop it.
    a. In the Gimp toolbar, click on the tool marked Select Rectangular Regions (or press the R key).
    b. Draw a rectangular box around what you want to keep (your image).
    c In the Gimp Image Window, select Image and then Crop.

  6. In order to use the image in a software package like Microsoft Word, you need to save it. To save, select from the menu File, Save As and save the file as a JPEG.

  7. You can now import the file into Microsoft Office using the Insert, Picture, From File... menu command - or into Lotus Notes using the File, Import menu command.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Add OptimizeImagePasteSize=1 (its even in the desktop policy in 8.0.x) to you notes.ini and that headache should be gone... A print screen of 1400x900 ist 76kb in a mail.