IT Trenches

Nov 19 2008   3:58PM GMT

Tools for documentation – screen marking & screen captures

Troy Tate Profile: Troy Tate

If you don’t already document your network and configurations, then you should begin immediately as it is a never-ending task. There are lots of ways of doing this and I will mention some of those in future postings.

One of the best tools is simply capturing screen shots and placing those in a Word document. This provides the ability to build “how-to” documentation as well as documenting existing conditions when the screenshot was taken. A simple press of the PrintScreen key will capture the entire desktop. CTRL-PrintScreen or Shift-PrintScreen will do the same thing. ALT-PrintScreen captures only the current window.

The challenge at times though is focusing on a particular part of the screen or a smaller section of a window. The tools that I use for this are Gadwin Printscreen (freeware) and BYS ScreenMarker.

The Gadwin Printscreen application sits in the system tray and is called by a hotkey combination that you can define (or just take the place of the PrintScreen key). I use CTRL-F12. I like the application for selecting a rectangular region of the screen rather than an entire window or desktop. The screen captures can also be saved in various formats (bmp, jpg, gif, tif or png). This is much better than the BMP format that the standard printscreen capture does.

In combination with the Gadwin Printscreen, I have started using the BYS ScreenMarker utility. This allows me to make callouts or highlights on various areas of the screen before running the CTRL-F12 capture. So, I can highlight, capture and paste in quick easy steps into an email or documentation. This is particularly useful when sending information to technical support and highlighting information shown on the client computer.

Hope this tip is useful to you. What tools or tricks do you use to document your network?

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