send a screenshot to your phone / instant message / email using cloud storage such as Google Photos – this really is the best workflow

Without saving, copying or using a USB stick (no!) you can capture interesting images from facebook, instagram, desktop apps and web pages and then use them as needed. I’m not talking about stealing: captured images help remember a membership number, a booking reference, a serial number and anything that I might refer to later in (say) Google Photos. I also copy bits of nice images to use in lectures, newsletters, web pages, emails and Whatsapp messages. I’ve snipped bits of useful things for many years, but this workflow makes the process slick.

What you need to do is a) capture a screenshot as an image file b) sync your desktop files with a cloud photo album such as Google Photos.

1. Capture a region or window on your Windows or Mac computer screen

Remembering a keyboard shortcut to capture an area of the screen is the hard part of this process! Your screenshots must all go to the same folder – this is the folder you will sync.

On a Mac the screenshot keyboard command is SHIFT + COMMAND + DOLLAR (or 4). Pressing these three keys together will give you a crosshair to select an area of the screen. When you release the mouse a screenshot is saved to the desktop. See the variations of this at Apple support Take a screenshot on your Mac

On a PC the method has changed and improved a bit over time. Press the Windows logo key + Shift + S to open the ‘snipping bar’ (or type snipping bar in the start menu to launch this app). You can then save the screenshot with the snipping app.

Tip: change the snipping feature keyboard shortcut to the Prnt Screen button. (Select Start > Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard)

On either Mac or PC – as a screenshot ninja-type person, I use Techsmith Snaggit – a paid app. Snaggit not only captures the screen in useful ways, it includes a most excellent image editor where you can add captions, erase areas and even edit the text on a screenshot. I’ve set up Snaggit so that I can invoke a screenshot with a favorite key (Prnt Screen) and then immediately save a png file to the desktop and clipboard.

2a. Sync your screenshots to Google Photos using the Google Backup & Sync app

Google has a PC and Mac desktop app that will watch a chosen folder and upload new files to your Google Drive and Google Photos. After installation go to Settings or Preferences and find the options below.

Notice my choices: I only need to synchronize one folder: the Desktop folder where I save a new file (such as a picture of my booking reference). Secondly and importantly, the app ‘sync’ is from the Desktop to the cloud only: when I move or delete files from the Desktop they will remain in my Google photos for future reference.

2b. Save your screenshots to your Microsoft OneDrive or Apple iCloud

Both Microsoft OneDrive and Apple’s cloud services will allow saving and syncing screenshots to your online photos with no need to install an app. You can view or use the screenshots using your mail program or the Whatsapp desktop app.

3. Use your images as desired, on your phone or desktop

In summary, you’ve made a screenshot of something and the screenshot image file is now a) on the desktop ready to put into an email or document, b) the image is also now in Google photos. If you use Gmail, adding a picture to an email will show the picture in your photo galley. When you delete images on the desktop they will not be deleted from the Cloud.

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