On Windows AND on Mac, How Can I Screenshot Entire Window?
February 24, 2004 10:15 AM   Subscribe

Screen shots: I know that alt-printscreen gets you the visible portion of the active window on Windows, and that shift-command-3 gets you the whole screen on a Mac. What I want to know is if (on both platforms) there's a way to take a shot of the entire active window. [more inside]

I've been doing a fair bit of web-monkeying where the document in question is bigger than the vertical dimensions of the screen can possibly accomodate. In such cases, I've either been stitching together screenshots or futzing about with printing to PDF. Is there a better way?
posted by namespan to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
To get the whole screen on a Windows PC, just hit the Print Screen key by itself.
posted by internal at 10:53 AM on February 24, 2004

After reading your question for the 3rd time, I just realized I may not have understood and answered it correctly. Sorry for wasting anyone's time.
posted by internal at 10:56 AM on February 24, 2004

Load the thing up into a Mac browser like Safari, if possible. Then select print and there's an option to "save to pdf".

This will scroll all the way down the page even if it's more than one screen. Not sure about the exact media you're capturing, but I've done this trick before for long webpages.
posted by jragon at 10:58 AM on February 24, 2004

Hmm... I was going to say that on a Mac, you can hit Shift-Command-4 and then select a region of the screen with the mouse to create a shot of a portion of the screen. But you want to be able to take a shot that's larger than the screen, no?

Also, I haven't used it myself, but this shareware program might do what you want.
posted by Johnny Assay at 11:05 AM on February 24, 2004

Response by poster: But you want to be able to take a shot that's larger than the screen, no?

No. I mean, yes. Or whatever will affirm your question.

Put more simply: I want to be able to capture, as a single continuous image, the entire contents of a given window, including portions that may not be visible in the current window boundaries.
posted by namespan at 11:23 AM on February 24, 2004

I use Snapz Pro (johnny's link above) which is a fine program but it will unfortunately not do what you need; the offscreen part of the object you're capturing will be cropped from the resulting image. (In version 1.01, anyway, which is the one I happen to have installed.)
posted by ook at 11:37 AM on February 24, 2004

Pre OS X, shift-command-4 with caps lock enabled would take a grab of any window you clicked on (the contents and the window chrome). Sadly, that seems to have disappeared, at least in 10.2.8.
posted by jalexei at 11:43 AM on February 24, 2004

Is the document you're trying to capture a web page? If so, do you mean something like this?
posted by mfbridges at 11:46 AM on February 24, 2004

(...nor in v2 neither nohow; they recommend the same print-to-PDF trick that jragon describes above (which is not limited to safari (it works in all OSX apps))).
posted by ook at 11:47 AM on February 24, 2004

Can you up your display resolution to accomodate the window?
posted by Succa at 12:02 PM on February 24, 2004

Response by poster: mfbridges -- yes yes! How is that done?
posted by namespan at 12:59 PM on February 24, 2004

I think in that specific case, the person just did multiple screenshots and stitched them together using photoshop. However, after a little digging, I found url2bmp, a windows app that will do what you're looking for (I haven't tried the app yet, so I don't know how well it works). It looks like it can save to bmp, jpg, and png among others. Try a google search for url2png for other similar programs (perhaps one for the mac).
posted by mfbridges at 1:21 PM on February 24, 2004

Response by poster: Hmmm. One link says "based on 3000 images generated by the discontinued url2png service."
posted by namespan at 1:33 PM on February 24, 2004

SnagIt (Windows) will do what you want (it's kind of a kludge - it scrolls the window and grabs as it goes but it does work). There's a trial version available - the version I have has expired but continues to work after a brief nag.
posted by TimeFactor at 1:37 PM on February 24, 2004

Talking of good (Free) printscreen software. I found This today, and it's excellent for the webMonkeying stuff. How do I know? Because today, I was mostly writing HTML Documentation.
posted by seanyboy at 1:45 PM on February 24, 2004

In general, a program can't really do what yo'ure asking in a generic case. A utility can't force a program like Word or Internet Explorer to draw parts of a window that aren't visible on screen. It's not like the entire document is sitting in a giant bitmap someplace and is just hidden from you; the program may not have figured out how to draw the hidden parts until it needs to put them on the screen. Even for something simple like text, a word processor may not bother to calculate exactly where to place each letter to get full justification until it has to do so. (Why not? If you opened an 800-page fully justified document, why should the program pause for 30 seconds or so to lay out lines of text you may never scroll to see?)

Under Mac OS X, the best way to get close to your goal is to print to a PDF file. That forces the application to go through its printing code, and in most applications, that should give you what you see on the screen. Maybe not so for Web browsers, though, because their printing code inserts headers and footers and sometimes turns off background images or reverses text (IE turns white text on a black background into black text on a white background for printing by default).

There's some Mac OS X program I can't find at the moment that uses Safari's rendering engine to capture an entire Web page as a JPEG or TIFF or PDF document (can't remember which), but that tactic won't work for documents other than Web pages. And again, that's not making Safari do anything; it's using the same HTML engine to do what you want instead. You just can't make applications draw things that aren't shown on the screen. That's why the Windows utility mentioned above fakes it by continually scrolling the document and taking repeated screen shots and stitching them together.
posted by mdeatherage at 3:03 PM on February 24, 2004

Response by poster: It looks like khtml2png was the basis of the discontinued url2png service. Since Safari's rendering engine is khtml based, it stands to reason that there'd be something based on this, but I can't find it either.
posted by namespan at 10:37 AM on February 25, 2004

I haven't used it, but SnapWeb sounds like the OS X app in question.
posted by jjg at 1:47 PM on February 25, 2004

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