Screen Clips Coming to Windows 10

Posted on April 6, 2018 by Rafael Rivera in Windows, Windows 10 with 24 Comments

As part of its continued shell modernization efforts, Microsoft is working on a new way to take clips of the screen in Windows 10.

I know what you’re thinking: There are many other ways to take screen shots – err clips – of the screen in Windows today. There’s the venerable PrtSc key (and its variants). Then the Snipping Tool and its Win + Shift + S shortcut. And the shell’s Win + PrtSc (and its variants). And don’t forget Game Bar and its Win + Alt + PrtScn shortcut… Thankfully, it doesn’t appear that list is getting any longer. Instead, it appears this new clipping experience will replace the old Win32 and GDI-based Snipping Tool and take over the Win + Shift + S shortcut.

But that’s just a hunch.

In Redstone 5 (build 17639), creating a screen clip starts with clicking a Quick Action in Action Center. The screen then dims, and a static view of all displays is shown with an overlay of buttons at the top of the primary display. These buttons control the shape of the clipping tool currently in use (rectangular or free-form), initiate a fullscreen clip, or close the experience. Other Snipping Tool-like features, such as Delay, Window snip, and ink color, are currently missing.

Drawing a path is slightly slower than Snipping Tool, but results in a thicker path with smoother edges to nice effect both on and off screen.

After you’re done, screen clips are saved to the clipboard (with proper transparent bits in free-form cases). There are no options to save to disk, however I found clips stored in the shell experience host’s temporary folder, with no sign of periodic or immediate cleanup (hopefully a bug).

Poking around under the hood, there’s no sign of integration with the upcoming Cloud Clipboard. But some hints in a previous build (17634) point to potential integration with Cortana Insights. Perhaps the thinking here is that objects in a screen clip could be detected and metadata stored for later recall – “Cortana, get me the dubious influencers article I clipped yesterday”.

We’ll keep an ear to the ground and let you know when it’s available to try out.

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