Preparing a Screen Shot for Use in PageMaker
by Peter C.S. Adams
PageMaker doesn't like screen shots. It doesn't tell you this it will probably import your screen shot just fine but you will almost certainty have trouble with them. Why? First, the file format will be wrong, and second, the resolution will be wrong.
Following is a brief discussion on using screen shots. For more information on file formats, resolutions, and printer halftining, see An Introduction to Scanning for the Beginning Desktop Publisher.
Saving the Screen
Screen captures, or screen shots, are pictures of all or part of the computer screen. Windows and Macintosh computers are capable of creating such pictures. Software is available to capture screens most effectively, but the computer itself has built-in screen capture functions. To do more you need one of the screen-capture utilities described near the end of this page. Here are a few helpful hints on how to capture screens, windows, or selected areas, which Olav Kvern discussed in his Autumn 1998 article in Adobe Magazine.
Entire Screen. Press Print Screen and the current screen including open dialog boxes appears on the Clipboard as a graphic.
Active Window. Press Alt + Print Screen to capture just the active window.
Captured this way, clipboard items can be pasted into an application such as Photoshop; but, remember that only one item remains on the clipboard at a time and is overwritten if a second item is captured this way or the copy command is used. To do more follow these steps:
- Capture a screen (using Print Screen or Alt + Print Screen)
- Open Clipboard Viewer (Windows Accessories Menu).
- Choose Save As from the File menu and give your file a name and save it.
This process can then be repeated as many times as you wish.
System 8.0 and Above
Desired Area. Press Command + Shift + 4 together, then drag the crosshairs selection rectangle around it.
Single Window. Press Caps Lock + Command + Shift + 4 and click on the desired window.
Entire Screen. Press Command + Shift + 3 which saves the screen as a PICT file on your startup drive.
These commands save the screen shots on your startup drive as PICT files named Picture 1, Picture 2, etc. If you want them on the Clipboad instead, add Control to your keyboard combination (e. g., Command + Control + Shift + 4).
System 7.x and Earlier
Entire Screen Only. Press Command + Shift + 3 which saves the screen as a PICT file on your startup drive.
Doing the Impossible
Do you need something impossible? Cheat! Who's to know?
Here's an example. Say you want to have the cursor in the shot, and I'm on a Windows machine, which doesn't capture the cursor. I had to go to the mouse setup in the cursor section, screenshot that, crop, and save that as a graphic. I still don't get the W2K cursor shadow, so I had to do that by hand too. It only took a couple of minutes, less than to download/install a screenshot utility, but what a pain.
Another example is saving a shot of a web page that scrolls off the screen.
Screen Capture Utilities
These utilities are inexpensive, can do additional steps, and are easier to use if you do a lot of screen shots. They can select any area, save in different file formats, include the cursor in the capture and more. Kvern's favorites as of Autumn 1998 are Snagit/32 4.0 (www.techsmith.com) for Windows and ScreenShot 2.5.6 (www.beale.com) for the Macintosh. Some are available as shareware (try www.zdnet.com).
Rules for Reducing Bad Screen Shots
1. Never use compression that loses data (jpeg, for instance) which render screen shots "blotchy and dirty."
2. If you want to compress to get a smaller file, use LZW or ZIP and convert to grayscale in Photoshop (Mode submenu of Image Menu) instead of color (if color isn't needed)
3. In PageMaker, use Normal rather than Optimized Subsampling or Low Resolution from the Send Image Data pop-up menu in Print Options dialog box.
4. If screen shots are used in PDF (Adobe Distiller) files, turn off all automatic compression and downsampling in Distiller's Job Options.
5. If converting RGB screen shots to CMYK for printing, change Photoshop's default settings to substitute actual black before you convert from RGB (screen) to CMYK (print). To get 100% blacks: (a) Open the screen shot in Photoshop, (b) choose Color Settings from the File Menu and choose CMYK setup (PS 5.0) or Separation Setup (PS 4.0) (c) Select GCR, choose Maximum from the Black Generation pop-up menu and click OK. (d) Choose CMYK from the Mode submenu and flatten the image when asked. (e) Save the image as a TIFF.
6. Another way to convert the blacks to 100% is to: (a) Convert the shot to CMYK from the Mode submenu. Flatten the image. (2) Set your foreground color to black, making sure it's made up of 100 percent K only. (c) Double-click magic-wand tool and, in the Magic Wand Options palette, amke sure Anti-Aliased is unchecked and Tolerance is set to zero. (d) Click the magic wand tool on a black portion of the screen shot. Choose Similar from the Select Menu. (e) Choose Fill from the Edit menu and fill the selection with the foreground color (black) at 100%.
7. Use PageMaker's magic-stretch feature to avoid moire patterns. (a) hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) and double-click the pointer tool in the tool box. (b) In the dialog box, enter the document resolution of the printer you plan to use to print the final version. (c) Select an image. (d) Hold down Ctrl + Shift (Windows) or Command + Shift (Mac) and drag one of the corner handles. PageMaker will snap the image to specific sizes based on the printer's resolution and will print without moire patterns. You can also use magic-stretch from the Printer Resolution Scaling button on PageMaker's Control palette.
*Kvern, Olav Martin. Desktop science: Hot shots. Screen captures aren't just for techno-geeks anymore. Adobe Magazine,Autumn, 1998. Vol. 9, No. 4, pp. 61-62
Screen Capture Tips
After receiving a bunch of letters on how to do a Screen Capture, I've decided to show how. This can be very useful and I do it almost everyday. Great for giving a client a preview of their project or for showing your friends what's on the screen fast and easy. No software needed.
Open the application, website or file you wish to take a snap shot of. Press the Print Screen key on the keyboard as shown. Your capture is now stored in memory.
Active Window Only
Have an active window on the screen. Now hold down Alt - Print Screen. Your capture is now stored in memory.
* Viewing the Capture
Open a paint program such as Photoshop or MS Paint. Now make a new file: File>New and click OK. Now go to Edit>Paste to paste the capture in the new document. When you get this far, move to "Cropping the image" below.
* Whole Screen
Hold down Command - Shift - 3. This will place a file on your Startup hardrive and it should be called "Picture 1". If you take another capture, it will make another file called "Picture 2" and so on.
* Cursor described rectangle
Hold down Command + Shift + 4. This switches the pointer to a cursor. Select the area you want to capture with the mouse.
* Active Window Only (or closest window)
Hold down Caps lock - Command - Shift - 4.
* Viewing the Capture
Open a paint program such as Photoshop or Mac Paint. Go to File>Open and browse to the file on the Startup drive and open it. When you get this far, move to "Cropping the image" below.
* Add Control to the key combinations above to send the captured image to the clipboard.
Cropping the image in Photoshop
Sometimes we want to remove application interfaces or backgrounds from the image. This can be done easy in Photoshop.
After you paste or load your image in Photoshop, select the Rectangular Marquee tool. Now make a selection around the area that you want to keep.
Now go to Image>Crop.
Save and you are finished.
The best file formats for use in PageMaker are TIFF for bitmaps (scanned images) and EPS for vector data (clip art that can be resized). Screen shots made on the Mac are in PICT format. Those made in Windows are in WMF format. You will need to convert them using