Taking screenshots as a bat

An access technology professional is sometimes required to take screen shots of an application to include the image in the report being sent to the client, development project team, vendor or for your own accessibility gap report. The screen shot provides a visual representation of the problem being reported. The article describes a few different methods on how to capture the application or window. Even if you do not know what the screen looks like.

Methods found in this post

How to take screenshots using MS Applications
Capturing screenshots using the print screen and paint
Taking screenshots using the print screen only
Using Easy Screenshot for Firefox
Taking screenshots on the mac
Using Grab That

How to take screenshots using MS Applications

  1. Open an Office application, generally Word or Outlook, although this can be done in Excel.
  2. Press the alt key to open the ribbon.
  3. Press the right arrow to select insert.
  4. Press tab until you get to screenshot button.
  5. Press space on the screenshot button which shows a list view of all the open applications and windows currently open. Warning: this is arranged in a grid.
  6. You will need to arrow both left and write as well as up and down to find your choice of window or application.
  7. Arrow until you find the specific window you want to take the screen shot and press enter. The image by default is placed in your document where the cursor is located.

If you want to export the screen shot image somewhere else like a .JPG for TRAC. You will have to select the image inserted into the document. Use the select character (shift left or right arrow) to select the image. By Using the context menu In windows (shift+F10) and save the image.

Alternatively, you can use ctrl+c to copy it and paste it somewhere else, specifically another Office app or MS Paint for example, but which is handy for saving screenshots.

Capturing screenshots using the print screen and paint

Explained in this section is the ability of capturing the whole screen or the window in the foreground. Be aware, No indication is provided to indicate the keystroke has been successful.

Method 1: Capturing the Window in the foreground

  1. Move the window of interest into the foreground which you want to capture.
  2. Press alt+print screen. The window in the foreground is copied into the clipboard.
  3. Open MS Paint.
  4. Press ctrl+v (paste) which will paste the image already on your clipboard.
  5. Press ctrl+s to save the image. Note, you could have pasted this in an application besides MS Paint, but besides being quicker this way, Paint
    is not often used and paying attention to it will make it feel worthwhile and like it has purpose.

Method 2: Capturing the whole screen

  1. By pressing the Print Screen key on its own, captures everything on the screen at the screen resolution.
  2. Open MS Paint.
  3. Press ctrl+v (paste) which will paste the image already on your clipboard.
  4. Press ctrl+s to save the image. Note, you could have pasted this in an application besides MS Paint.

Note: On laptops, print screen is often function plus another key. The Print screen key could be labelled as PrtScn”, “Prnt Scrn” or “Print Scr”. You may have to press shift+fn+that other key to make this feature work.

Taking screenshots using the print screen only

Before starting: Make sure the browser window is maximized (ctrl-space-x)

  1. Arrow down to the portion of the screen you want: e.g. main content and not the header section if that is the object desired.
  2. Press print screen then copy to the clipboard (ctrl-c).
  3. In an open Word doc, write out the screen description to serve
    as a caption and paste the screenshot below it.
  4. Get a pair of eyes to verify.

note: It is correct 90% of the time

Problems arise: if some popup is in the background (like a system message) and has not been dismissed, it may appear in the screenshot. It is important to make sure such messages have been dismissed.

Using Easy Screenshot for Firefox

This Firefox browser plugin allows you to capture the image. One of our members has tested Easy screenshot.

Once you have the “Easy Screenshot” plugin installed:

  1. Press application key (or open context menu with shift-f10) and arrow down to the ‘easy screen shot’ sub menu.
  2. Activate the option and select “entire screen”, then press enter key. It takes a picture of your entire screen and asks you to save the image file.
  3. Save the image file somewhere you can access later

Taking screenshots on the mac

The mac is also able to capture the whole screen, window with focus and the menu like windows.

    1. Press command shift 3 you will hear a sound like a camera snap.
    2. Command tab to your desktop and then locate the file called screen shot with the current date and time.
    3. Pressing enter on the filename allows you to rename the file. Firstly, clear out the current title and rename the file to something you can easily remember what the image was taken off.

The above steps will take a screen shot of the hole screen. In order to only capture a screen shot of a window or a menu use command+shift+4 and then press space. This will take a picture of your current window in focus or currently open menu.

Using Grab That

If you prefer not to use the keyboard shortcuts, there is a Mac utility called Grab That. This utility can also help you capture parts of the screen. To access it, command tab to the Finder. Then select the “Go” menu, then select From there, you can find “Grab,” and double click to launch it. Once in Grab, go to the Capture menu, and select the type of screenshot you want (the window, the whole screen, etc).

Hopefully you will find which of these techniques are best for you try them all and pick how you want to create the best screenshots for your reports. This is all part of becoming a better access tester. Please drop us a comment if you know of any other ways to get this task done and or let us know which method worked best for you

contributors and credits

This article was written with contributions from:

      • Rakesh Paladugula
      • Steve Sawczyn
      • Sailesh Panchang
      • Sean Murphy

Thanks for their assistance in putting the article together

2 thoughts on “Taking screenshots as a bat”

  1. I have found that the NVDA Focus Highlight add on is useful for focusing troublesome elements being discussed. It gives us a way to pre annotate the screenshot a little. You still want to verify that the screenshot is right as the highlighter is not fool proof but I find it helpful.

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