is not only about the Windows Snipping Tool, but alternative snipping tools available for Windows users, as well as snipping tools on Android and iOS.

Using the Snipping Tool with a HotKey

Windows, very fortunately, has some great HotKey functionality already built in for users to customise. Possibly the only downside we can see is that to use the HotKey functionality you have to create a shortcut on your desktop for the snipping tool. A small price to pay may be.

Anyway here are the steps to setting up a HotKey for the snipping tool.


Snipping Tool Shortcut

1) If you haven’t already create a shortcut on your desktop for the snipping tool. The quickest way to do this is to Right Click on the snipping tool in the Start Menu and select ‘Send To’, ‘Desktop (Create Shortcut)’. A new icon should appear on your desktop for the snipping tool.

2) Right click on the icon and select ‘Properties’

3) In the Properties dialog, select the Shortcut window and click in the Shortcut Key box.

4) Simply hit the key on your keyboard that you wish to use as your Snipping Tool hotkey e.g. F and the Shortcut Key box will populate with ‘Ctrl + Alt + F’

5) Finally click on OK to save the Hotkey

You can test your new HotKey by holding down the Ctrl and Alt keys and hitting your selected key 🙂

How to capture the Start Menu

Start Menu captured!

Start Menu captured!

We discovered a handy little tip for the snipping tool over at Microsoft.

If you have ever wanted to ‘snip’ the Start Menu or capture a drop down item list then just follow these simple steps

1) Start the Snipping Tool
2) Press ‘Esc’ or click the Cancel button in the tool to cancel the current snip or capture
3) Open the Start Menu or the drop down list you wish to capture
4) Now the important step, press the CTRL + Prnt Scrn keys simultaneously
5) You will notice that your screen goes into ‘snip’ mode i.e. it greys out, yet the menu or drop down still appears
6) Now you can snip away capturing your image as normal

It may seem counter-intuitive to use the CTRL + Prnt Scrn keys as this action will normally copy a screen shot to the clipboard but of course you will still have to crop/edit that image in an image processing tool.

This method allows you to crop the image straight away and then of course have all of the edit functionality of the Snipping Tool itself.

The Snipping Tool in Windows 7

With the look and feel of Windows 7 not changing drastically from Vista, it’s nice to know that the Snipping Tool is still located in its usual spot in the Accessories menu. For those of you not too ‘au fait’ with Vista or Win 7, here’s a step by step guide to get you using the Snipping Tool.


  • Click on the Start button at the left end of your taskbar.
  • Click (or hover) on All Programs to reveal a full list of applications and application folders you can access
  • There should be a folder called ‘Accessories’, click on this
  • The Snipping Tool should be listed in this application folder (pictured)

For those of you who use the Snipping Tool a lot there are a couple of options available to you in Windows 7 to make starting it a little quicker and easier. Right click on the Snipping Tool rather than start it, and select either ‘Pin to Taskbar’ or ‘Pin to Start Menu’.

‘Pin to Taskbar’ will permanently locate a Snipping Tool icon on your Taskbar for one click start-up of the application. The Start Menu option will locate an icon permanently in the list of applications available on the Start Menu providing a two click start up for the Snipping Tool.

Both these options can be undone by simply right-clicking on the Snipping Tool icon and selecting Unpin.

So there you have it, a brief overview of where the Snipping Tool is in Windows 7.

Where to find the Snipping Tool in Windows 8

With Windows 8, Microsoft have introduced a completely new interface, the Start screen. This consists of a number of tiles which represent different sets of your data, whether it’s your photos or the latest news on your favourite sports team. This is all fine and dandy but what about the Snipping Tool, where has that little fella disappeared to?

Windows 8 Start screen

Windows 8 Start screen

Well, first up there’s no Start button on the Start screen. To access the Snipping Tool as well as the usual collection of Windows accessories, simply right click on the background of the Start screen. This displays an ‘App’ bar across the bottom of the display and then simply click on the ‘All Apps’ option. Then, as well a list of Apps, a list of Windows Accessories are displayed including the good old Snipping Tool. In fact all your usual Windows programs can be found in this area, like the Control Panel, Remote Desktop, etc.

Listed Apps in Windows 8 including the Snipping Tool

If you start the Snipping Tool from here, you will be taken to the Windows desktop to use it.

If you use the Snipping Tool a lot it may be worth your while right clicking on the Icon and pinning it to ‘Start’ or the taskbar. The first option places it with the other apps which are initially displayed when you get to the Start screen. A bit like icons on your desktop, these can be shuffled around to place them in more handy locations for your use.

The second option, as it suggests, places a shortcut to the Snipping Tool on the Windows desktop taskbar. Again these icons can be shuffled to suit your needs.

Use IfranView as a Snipping Tool

When is a snipping tool not a snipping tool, well when it’s a graphics viewer, like IrfanView. Combine the ‘Print Screen’ button on most Windows PCs and a graphics or image viewer’s crop function and you have a snipping tool albeit ‘old skool’.

So, instead of using a specific snipping tool, why not use an image viewer? Well generally they can be quite large programs, taking a long time to load and we don’t want to wait that long just to grab a piece of the screen. Also the cropping functionality may be cumbersome with multiple keystrokes or mouse clicks to find and use.

But that’s where IrfanView is different, it’s small and cropping with IrfanView is easy, almost as easy as using a snipping tool 🙂

Well let’s do a comparison, how many keypresses or mouse clicks does it take to take a screen capture using PrintScreen and IrfanView.

1) Capture Screen – ‘Alt + PrintScreen’ (2 keypresses)
2) Start IrfanView (4 mouse clicks)
3) Paste Image – ‘Ctrl + V’ (2 keypresses)
4) Select area for cropping – Mouse down, drag, mouse up – (Mouse click and drag)
5) Crop image – ‘Ctrl + Y’ or Edit/Crop Selection – (2 keypresses or 2 mouse clicks)
6) Save image – Save Icon, Save button – (2 mouse clicks)

Not what we would call speedy but let’s see how it stacks up against the Windows Snipping Tool in Windows 7

1) Start Snipping Tool – (4 mouse clicks)
2) Select area for cropping – Mouse down, drag, mouse up – (Mouse click and drag)
3) Save image – Save Icon, Save button – (2 mouse clicks)

Well quite a difference as you can see. With the snipping tool there are three less steps which consist of up to 6 keypresses, so overall you’d have to favour the Windows snipping tool, but of course this ‘experiment’ is hardly scientific. What if IrfanView is already open? Shortcut use to make it access quicker? As always it’s really down to the individual user to see what works for them and whilst IrfanView is a neat graphics viewer it’s probably not a great replacement for the Windows snipping tool.

Unless, of course, you’re running Windows XP 😉