Screenshot tips for Windows 10 Snip & Sketch

Awhile back, Andrew introduced some features of the Windows 10 Snip & Sketch tool. Working remotely these days, I've found many occasions to share screenshots with colleagues and staff at libraries. Here are a few more tricks I've discovered:

Windows key + Shift + S: In addition to finding Snip & Sketch in the Start menu, hitting Windows key + Shift + S activates it. Anytime I can save stress on my wrists by typing a key command instead of moving the mouse, I will use it!

Open file: Save a screenshot (or a series of screenshots), and later, use Open File to come back and add annotations to the original file.

Laptop trackpad writing: I've been hesitant to write on screenshots because my writing with a mouse is pretty awful. Using a laptop trackpad with a finger or stylus gives me a slightly less atrocious option to add arrows, highlighting, numbering, etc.

Screenshot pointing out the location of the Open File command

Getting started with the NVDA screen reader

Automated tools for checking website accessibility (such as WAVE, AChecker or the aXe Chrome extension) are often the starting point to find and correct accessibility violations. Another important option to include in your accessibility testing toolset is a screen reader and keyboard, to help understand how a visitor with visual or motor disabilities might experience the library's website. A free choice for this is NonVisual Desktop Access (usually abbreviated as NVDA).

To get started using NVDA, download it to your Windows computer. It can be installed and used without admin rights (though enlisting an admin for the install let me use it without having to accept the terms of use every time) or even saved to a portable USB flash drive to run on different computers. When you start it up, it begins reading what you have on screen out loud. Switch to a web browser, and it will read the web pages you visit. This video includes how-to's and some demonstration:

NVDA has a Help menu and highly detailed user guide, but WebAIM's "Using NVDA to Evaluate Web Accessibility" is the quick-start guide I wish I'd started with. I use these tips a lot for testing web pages with NVDA:

  • F5 refreshes the page and starts reading from the beginning (in case you get lost).
  • The Insert key is the default special "NVDA key" for using the keyboard to navigate with NVDA.
  • NVDA key + S lets you toggle between having speech mode on, off, or "beeps mode" (so you can have NVDA on for a website you're testing, but turn it off to type an email where it would be distracting for NVDA to spell out what you're typing letter by letter).

With a little practice, you'll be able to test how your libary's website performs with a screen reader and keyboard. Despite the learning curve, it's a solid step you can take to identify problems, obstacles, and annoyances that can be fixed to help all patrons benefit from the services your library provides.

Windows 10 Emojis

I have a serious, hard hitting topic to discuss for my turn at the TechBits.  I accidentally brought up a window full of different emojis today on my PC.  After some research, I discovered I must have pressed the Windows Key + period or semicolon at the same time.  Both of these key combinations will bring up the Emoji picker if you are using a Windows 10 PC with at least feature Emoji Picker
update 1903 installed.  The bottom of the window will have several categories of Emojis for you to select from including animals, food and transportation.  One of them looks similar to SCLS Delivery trucks.

🚚🚚🚚🚚🚚🚚🚚🚚

You can see if you have Windows 10 version 1903 or higher by right-clicking the start button > Click Run > Enter winver.  The second line will tell you your windows 10 version.

Winver

Default Programs on Windows 10 and 8.1 Staff PCs

This TechBits topic is a repeat of a previous Techbits.  We have had a few similar questions about default programs recently, so I thought it would be worthwhile to explain how default programs DefaultsXML work on staff computers.  We preconfigure default programs on staff computers so that when a user logs in for the first time, the user will not have to decide how web pages and common file types should open.  You can change your default programs, but you will need to delete a file for your changes to be permanent.  Navigate to C:\Installers\Setup and delete the defaults.xml file.  Now, your PC can reboot without your defaults resetting back to the defaults we configured.

Microsoft Photos for Editing

High waterI wanted to make a quick edit to a photo recently and found that Microsoft Photos has upped their game. Maybe it’s been like this for a while and I just didn’t notice, but I'm pretty happy with the options they offer now.


If you open a photo in Microsoft Photos, it’s the default photo viewer on my Windows 10 PC, and click the “Edit & Create” tab you are given several options including cropping, straightening (for some reason my photos are always a little crooked), flipping and rotating. You can add filters and make some basic adjustments to the color, light, clarity (sharpening), and it has some other features like Red Eye Removal and Spot Fixing.


You can also go a little farther and add 3D effects or animated text to your images.


The photo in this post was cropped and slightly straightened using Microsoft Photos editing tools. I applied the “Sunscreen” filter to it too because it was cloudy when I wrote this and I thought what the heck, why not.


I still plan on using my go-to photo editor for as long as I can, but the new features (new to me anyway) in Microsoft Photos will definitely get more use from me for fast fixes that I want to do rather than going through my normal routine.

Disable Startup Programs

In the past few weeks I have been asked how to disable an annoying program that was starting up after logon.  A few programs that commonly startup by default are Skype and GoToMeeting.  If you have Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, this is the easiest way to prevent most programs from starting up after you log into Windows.

  1. Right-click the Taskbar
  2. Select Task Manager
  3. At the bottom, click More details (This may have already been done)
  4. Click the Startup tab
    Startup tab

  5. Right-click the program you would like to disable and select Disable
    G2M

Please make sure not to disable any programs that are critical to the normal operation of your PC.  If you accidentally disable a program, you can use the same process to enable the program again.  You can also call the Help Desk if you are having trouble with a program starting up at logon.

Enabling High Contrast Themes

Enabling high contrast settings may be a good idea If you or somebody you know has difficulty reading text on a PC screen.  This is a common problem when a lighter-colored font, like gray, is on top of a white background.  High contrast settings can be enabled for the Windows operating system and there is an extension that can be installed for the Google Chrome browser.

The easiest way to enable High Contrast for your PC is to press Left Alt + Left Shift + Print Screen then click Yes.  Use the same key combination to turn it off.

Google Accessibility offers an extension for the Chrome browser simply called High Contrast.  After you add it to Chrome, you can enable and customize the extension by clicking its button to the right of the Address bar.

High Contrast Extension

HC Menu

Upcoming Snipping Tool Change

Microsoft is changing the name and functionality of the Snipping Tool for Windows 10 in an upcoming update.  I use the Snipping Tool regularly to include screenshots in documentation.  After the 1809 Feature Update was installed on my laptop, I noticed a warning the first time I opened the Snipping Tool.  The warning basically states that the tool is moving, it will have improved features, and it will be called "Snip & Sketch." 

Snipping Tool Change

Microsoft hasn't announced when the new version will be forced or what update will make the change permanent.  After you get the 1809 Feature Update, you can still use the tool in its basic form.  You can also click "Try Snip & Sketch" to start using the new features.

  • The first thing I notice with the new version is that the toolbar has the modern Windows Store app design.
    Toolbar
  • When saving a snip, the default name of the file will include the date and time stamp.
  • You may configure the Print Screen button on your keyboard to open Snip & Sketch directly.
  • A ruler allows you to draw straight lines on your snip.  The angle of the ruler can be adjusted with your mouse's scroll wheel.
    Ruler
  • A protractor is available for help drawing circles.
  • Drawing and markup tools are improved.

More information about this change.

More information about all changes with the 1809 Feature Update.

 

Tip: How to add background color to an image

Screen shot of database icons showing LINKcat, OverDrive, and Tutor.com with white backgrounds, but no white background on Ancestry.comA library director and I agreed the Ancestry.com logo would look better in a group of database links (pictured at right) if the background colors matched... but the Ancestry.com image didn't come with a white background. How can we add background color to an image that has none?

The Ancestry.com image in this example is in .png format, which can have transparent areas that allow the color of a web page to peek through (light gray, in the screen shot). To make the Ancestry.com image "match" the others, the transparent areas need to be filled in white.

For images that only need a white background, the trick is to open and re-save them in Microsoft Paint. Paint auto-fills transparent pixels with white when it saves an image.

Screen shot of saving ancestry-library.png to add a white background

For a different background color, Paint has a "Fill with color" (bucket) tool. In this image, a different color reveals some shadowed areas that look jagged, and it would take some effort to paint or fill in the jagged edges. More fully-featured graphic programs like Photoshop Elements, GIMP, or Paint.net provide layers and a "magic wand" tool to make that kind of cleanup easier.

Screen shot of jagged edges around the Ancestry.com image when a dark background is added.

Good thing we just wanted it to have a white background! Screen shot of the database icons all using matching white backgrounds

Windows 10 - logging out and restarting

Since we started rolling out staff PCs with Windows 10 on them I been receiving Help Desk calls about how to restart or log out. I will admit that when I first got Windows 10 it took me a while to figure out how to log out. So I thought that I would write this blog posting to show you how to do it.

Here are the steps to log out of Windows 10:

1. Click on your start button

  Windows10_1

2. Click the icon with the person shape in it

  Windows10_3
3. Click Sign out
4. You are now logged out of Windows 10, good job!

 

If instead you want to restart your Windows 10 PC, here are the steps to do that:

1. Click on your start button 

Windows10_1

2. Click the icon with the power symbol in it 

Windows10_4

3. Click Restart
4. Your Windows 10 PC will now restart

I hope this helps you figure out some of the new Windows 10 start menu options.