Paste a Screen Capture into Microsoft Word

A screen capture is a quick way to take a picture of whatever is on your screen.  They’re very useful if you want to show the layout of a web site, print the contents of a folder in Windows, or if you get into a confusing situation and want to show someone what confused you.  (They also help if you want to write a how-to manual.)

I usually put my captures in Photoshop so I can play with them later, but you can easily and quickly paste them into MS Word.  The process is just about the same no matter where your screen capture is going.

First, launch MS Word.  (If you already have an open document, just start a new one.)  Once you have a new “Document 1”, you’ll change the page layout just a little.  Open the File menu, then click Page Setup. (Keyboard Shortcut:  Alt+F, then U.)  You should get a dialog box that looks like this:

Page Setup

Under Orientation, click the box that says Landscape.  Your picture will fit better.

Then set all the margins to 1”.  That should give you plenty of room.  Then click OK.

View Formatting Toolbar

Meanwhile, back at Document 1... Your cursor should be in the upper left of the document, because it’s aligned left. I like to paste pictures like this in the center, so let's change the alignment to center, either by clicking the little box on your formatting toolbar, or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+E. (If you can’t see the formatting toolbar, go to your View menu, choose Toolbars, then click Formatting.)

One more very important detail.  Save your work!  I always use Save As, so I know for sure where it’s going, and I always use the keyboard shortcut, Alt+F, then A, because it takes about one second to save yourself a lot of  painful (trust me) retyping.  Give it an appropriate name like “AttachProb” or “WhereImStuck” or “NvilleWeather”, which is what I’m calling my example.   Now that you’ve saved your document, minimize it and we’ll go find something to practice on.


Once you’re at the screen you want to capture, press the Print Screen button, which should be located above the Insert, Delete, Home, End, etc. keys toward the right side of your keyboard.  (You needn’t worry about your printer now.  Despite the name, this button doesn’t send your image to the printer; it selects the screen and copies it to the Clipboard to be pasted into something.  It’s much like the copying and pasting you already know.)

My screen in Word

Anything will do, even a shot of your desktop, but I wanted to find something more interesting, so I went to the Weather Channel web site to look at the weather in Nashville, Indiana.  I scrolled down to the 36-hour forecast and hit Print Screen, then clicked my minimized “NvilleWeather” document on the taskbar (at the bottom of my screen) to restore it.

From here you can go to the Edit menu and click Paste, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+V.  Here’s the result.

This illustration shows my entire screen in MS Word.  Yours should look similar.

The screen capture is the picture in the middle.  It will look a lot bigger on your screen, and in the final document.


Don’t forget to save your document right away!



Now you have a handy Word doc.  You can add notes to it, print it, attach it to an e-mail, or anything else you would usually do.