Have you ever wondered where the screenshot that you took few weeks ago was?
If you follow the tips below, you will be at a better place the next time you look for an image and you will never lose your screenshots again.
How to create screenshots
Here are few options to create your screenshots for free.
The default Print Screen
On a Windows PC:
- Use the Print Screen option of your keyboard to do a full screen capture
- To visualize it, open the tool “Paint”
- Press “Ctrl”+V to copy your image to Paint
- Save your screenshot into a file
On a Mac:
- Press at the same time the keys “Command”+”Shift”+3 for a full screen capture or “Command”+”Shift”+4 to select a specific area
- The screenshots are automatically saved on your desktop
Evernote comes with a clipping feature. If you have a Mac, you can access it using the Evernote icon located on the top menu to either do a full screen capture or an area capture.
In case you are interested in timing your capture (the screenshot is taken few seconds after your trigger the capture), Mac users can launch the software “Grab” to use the timed screen capture in addition to the regular features.
Skitch for Evernote also offers timed screenshots. The tool is available for MacOS and Windows. It also has editing features to add annotations to your images.
Create a system to manage your screenshots
By adding the following system to process your screenshots, you will save a lot of time in the future when you search for your images.
[Tweet “Stay organized with your screenshots by adding a system to save them”]
Create a dedicated location to save your screenshots
Create a folder where you will save by default your files. Name that folder “Screenshots” or use a name that you will easily remember.
If you save your screenshots in Evernote, create a notebook for your screenshots. If you use Skitch, it will suggest you to name that notebook “Skitch”.
Using a default location (folder or notebook) to save your screenshots will help find them in the future. You won’t have to think anymore about where to save temporarily your images until you process them.
You don’t need to use that default place holder if you can directly process your screenshots after you create them.
Use a naming convention for your images
Saving your screenshots as files
If you use the default screen capture of your Mac, the files are saved with a name that includes the date and time of the capture, which is a good start.
Here is the rule that I use, feel free to adapt it to your own preferences.
I save the files using the following naming convention “YYYYMMDD Topic nn.ext”, where:
- YYYYMMDD corresponds the creation date of the file (using the order Year, Month and Date simplifies the way files are sorted)
- Topic is a name that helps you remember what the screenshot was about
- nn is the index of the screenshot using two digits
- ext is the extension of your file depending on the format you use to save your image (for example: png, jpg or gif).
Saving your screenshots in Evernote
In Evernote, I save all the screenshots related to the same event in one single note, using the following rule to name my note: “YYYYMMDD Topic” where:
- YYYYMMDD corresponds the creation date of the file
- Topic helps you remember what the screenshot or list of screenshots was about
Even though the different tools save the creation and modified dates of a file, I like to save the date in the filename directly to easily sort or search for the images.
To avoid piling up your screenshots, it is advised to periodically review your repository of images. If you do it at least on a weekly basis, you should be able to empty your bucket of screenshots quite quickly. If you rarely take screenshots, you can do your review on a monthly basis as long as you make sure that you do it.
The review consists in deciding if you want to keep, delete, rename or save your screenshots at a different location. Ideally, at the end of your review, the default place holder for your screenshots should be empty.
You can also have an archive location but make sure that the files won’t take too much space over time.
What about you? How do you manage your screenshots? Use the comment section below to add your tips.