I ask this question, as I see many different methods used. Some methods are used to capture current state knowledge, some methods to capture screenshots for Build and Integration documentation, and some to document an error message or a use-case walk-through.
I would like to share my methods and see what others use.
I have three (3) methods I have refined over the years, using only the tools I have available, and that do not require ANY installations.
1) Recording - If I am emulating a walk-through of a use-case and/or capturing current state info, and I have the availability to run a remote recording via WebEx, I will using this method, if I expect that I will need more than one screenshot to remind me of the process.
If this is ONLY for myself, I will setup my own meeting and record my work from my own virtual enviornments or use of browser to the Amazon/Azure cloud.
If I am working with customers or partners, I will confirm that a recording is fine, and that we can stop the recording any time (if passwords are expected to be shown). I will then share the recording to be downloaded (as a ARF file) by any team member.
After the recording is complete, and it still has value, then I will upload it to the CA community site for others to review, or search on for later. The CA IMAG COE and JEDI team does this as well.
2) MS Powerpoint - If I am able to access a solution or session but not able to record, I will leverage MS Powerpoint if this is installed on my current workstation/laptop. This works great for installations that are via RDP or Putty.
Once you are used to the Keyboard short-cuts, this process really flies. I can use this process to document on the fly for any new installation and/or training course. I then use this information as feedback to instructors or back to the engineering teams.
a. Open MS Powerpoint and pre-create a 20-100 blank pages ( I will re-format later)
- Use the duplicate function with the mouse to quickly do this
b. Use of Keyboard Short Cuts to rapidly copy active screen shots.
c. Use left mouse button to high light and/or select the active window. This can be the active window within an RDP session.
d. Use the keyboard command to ensure that ONLY the active window is copied to the MS Windows Clipboard
Alt + PrintScrn (If the PrintScreen is not a dedicated key, you may need to press Alt + Fn + PrntScrn keys together)
Alt + TAB (Hold or use once or many times; to jump from the Active Window to MS PowerPoint. NOTE: If you are within an RDP session, you will need to use the mouse to left click outside of it; before using Alt + TAB)
Use left mouse button to high light and/or select a blank MS PowerPoint slide (outside of the edit box)
Alt + V (To paste in the Active Window Screen shot; if this is done right, the image will likely be bigger than the MS Powerpoint slide; if not, the image may be smaller within an edit box window.)
Alt + TAB (Hold or use once to jump back from MS PowerPoint to the Active Window)
Continue until you are done with the initial screen captures.
Immediately, go back and use the MS Powerpoint image tools to resize / crop / add in text / add in selection boxes to high-light areas.
Save this file as a PPT/PPTX and if you wish to share, save as a PDF file.
3) MS Wordpad - Every MS Windows Workstation/Server has MS Wordpad installed. Use this tool as your intermediate copy location, if you don't have access to install any other tools or no access to MS Powerpoint.
MS Wordpad will take screenshots as large as you like. Before starting a copy process, do the following steps.
1) Open MS Wordpad, under File/Page Setup
Change the Size = Tabloid and Orientation to Landscape.
Then use the same keyboard commands as mention above.
When you save the MS Wordpad file, in RTF (Rich Text Format), it may be very LARGE, etc. 100 MBs.
If this happens, save the MS Wordpad file in sections, to keep from having a 200MB or larger file to copy.
You don't wish to lose this data you collected.
After MS Wordpad has been saved, and copied to your workstation/laptop, you can then convert this to a MS Word document, which will be much smaller.
Alternatively, you can copy the images from MS Wordpad to MS Powerpoint, to build your presentation.
What methods do you using, if you can't install any picture capture tools?
There is a VERY useful tool I discovered recently called ‘Problem Step Recorder’ (psr.exe). It is included in Windows 7 and up, and as far as I am aware also on the equivalent server versions (i.e. server 2008 and up). PSR takes a screenshot EVERY time you click the mouse, and saves it in a HTML file encapsulated in a ZIP file.
I also find the snipping tool (SnippingTool.exe) to be very useful for individual and/or partial screenshots.
Steve McCormick, ITIL
Principal Services Consultant
Fantastic! First time I have heard of either of these embedded tools.
I typed "psr" on MS Windows 2012 R2 & it displayed with no issue.
The file saved is a complete webpage *.mht (MIME HTML) with images; and the images can be exported in *.png format.
Also, I just typed "SnippingTool" on MS Windows 2012 R2; and it displayed just fine as well.
Thanks for this info!
Another other tools or processes anyone else uses?
I know Jason_Wilcox recommends use of mindmapping software. I have used FreeMind and Xmind; but "The Brain" appears to be very interesting with regards to organizing the large amount of material/data we work with.