Often an answer needs an image from GIS software on your screen. This is what I do:

  1. Press Print Scrn.
  2. Open Paint.
  3. Paste image into Paint.
  4. Use the Crop tool to mark the area I want.
  5. Save image with a name I recognise.
  6. Back to Stack Exchange and enclose the image.

I sometimes think my images are not as sharp as others and the process seems cumbersome for a simple job like this. Is there a better/quicker way?

  • 2
    I use exactly this procedure and it works fine. (Well, I use Alt-Print Scrn so that only the active window is copied.) Given that some kind of editing--at least cropping--is usually necessary, it doesn't seem overly involved. Do you save the images in .png format?
    – whuber
    Nov 20 '15 at 16:29
  • Yes, I do use .png. Perhaps I am using the best way after all. Lets see if we get any more answers. Thanks whuber.
    – David W
    Nov 20 '15 at 16:49
  • 3
    if on Windows7 or higher the 'snippet tool' does what paint does with less clicks windows.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows/…
    – Mapperz Mod
    Nov 20 '15 at 18:18
  • 1
    Pretty much the same method I use, except Photoshop instead of Paint (mostly be cause I have it and use it often for other things). One thing to keep in mind when using a screenshot method is that your current desktop resolution settings control the output resolution of the screenshot, which may account for or contribute to your perceived sharpness issue. Also note images over 630 pixels in width are automatically resized within the page. Fortunately they now are automatically formatted to link to the full size by clicking on them (used to have to manually get/enter the address).
    – Chris W
    Nov 21 '15 at 18:27
  • 1
    I do exactly the same, although I am using the snip tool more now.
    – yanes
    Nov 24 '15 at 19:52

Another alternative is to use the Snipping Tool, which comes prepackaged with Windows 7. It is hidden away in the following default location:


enter image description here

After running a small test clip, the snipping tool generated a 12 kb image while the Paint/crop method generated a 4 kb image.

  • 1
    I use the Snipping Tool as my first choice. If more work is needed then I throw screenshots into Paint.NET (free). The Snipping Tool can also be found on the Windows Start Menu under Accessories, but because I use it frequently it seems to get pinned prominently near the top of that menu.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Nov 20 '15 at 23:21
  • 1
    +1 for using Snipping Tool. Small markups, crops and highlighting can even be done from within the Tool itself. As a result I rarely use Paint nowadays since saving screenshots was its only purpose.
    – Kersten
    Nov 21 '15 at 16:29

What I frequently do is to export the image with high resolution directly from the software I am working. This is the case with R, ArcMap, QGIS, and other.

When it is not possible to export from a software, I try to improve the image with Photoshop. If it is not possible in Photoshop, I'll print screen zooming the scene as much as possible.

About steps 2 to 5, I use PhotoFiltre (it does not reduce the picture's resolution after cropping and saving). I think it is better and so quick as the PaintBrush.

And +1 for step 4. I have seen many uncropped pictures here with a lot of unnecessary white spaces which only makes reading more difficult.


I like Greenshot for this.

It's free, open source, highly customizable, has a decent built-in image editor and an Imgur upload option.

Couldn't be easier.

  • I use it and it's very helpful Dec 1 '15 at 15:57

If using Ubuntu (and probably other Linux distros), you can do partial screenshots easily with Shift+Print Screen. I believe that's the default mapping (I don't recall changing mine and it works for me).

  • For Linux folks, I strongly recommend Shutter too.
    – radek
    Dec 1 '15 at 11:29

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