How to Create a Keyboard Shortcut for the Snipping Tool

Scissors

by C.K. MacLeod

I'm trying to use my mouse less and my keyboard more. Why? Keyboard shortcuts can

  • reduce repetitive strain injury from too much mousing
  • help you to complete writing and editing tasks more efficiently

Save Time

Hilary Powers, in her excellent book, Making Word 2010 Work for You, has pointed out that it often takes less time to execute a keyboard shortcut than it takes for your hand to wander to your mouse, click through a menu in a word processing program or in Windows Explorer, and wander back to the keyboard. She has a point. Why leave the keyboard, if you don't have to?

Create Your Own Shortcuts

In this post, I'll describe the steps for creating your own keyboard shortcut for the Windows Snipping Tool—a handy application for taking screenshots while writing and blogging.

It's a multi-step process to find the Snipping Tool with Windows Explorer. Instead, I've assigned the Snipping Tool the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + K so that I can open it in seconds.

Quick Steps

  1. Find the Snipping Tool application in Windows Explorer by going to the Start menu and keying in "Snipping." The Snipping Tool should show up in the Start menu.
  2. Right-click on the application name (Snipping Tool) and click on Properties.
  3. Next to Shortcut key: insert the key combinations you want to use to open that application. I've used Ctrl + Alt + K because the that key combination isn't already being used for another action* and because the K reminds me of a pair of scissors left open on a table.
  4. Click Okay, and try your your new shortcut.

Once you integrate them into your workflow, keyboard shortcuts can save you time. What other writing-related applications could you assign a keyboard shortcut to?

*Note: Some key combinations are already assigned functions in Windows 7. Windows will let you know if you choose a combination that's already taken.

Image by James Bowe

How to Design A Book Cover in Word

Word icon

By C.K. MacLeod

@CKmacleodwriter

Did you know you can design an ebook cover in Word? I'd have hardly believed it unless I'd tried it myself. Until now, I've been limping rather awkwardly in GIMP. But creating a cover in Word has blown things wide open for me.

Idea to Ebook cover31Jan14_01

Graphic designer Derek Murphy wrote a tutorial that helped me to create the cover on the left. I am not a designer, but I learned an awful lot about design principles just by following his steps. He's a great teacher.

I entered the cover in the Ebook Cover Design Awards competition on the Book Designer blog. You can see the results here. (You'll need to scroll down three-quarters of the way to see the cover.) Not bad for the first time out.

ECDA-GoldStar-Mar-2014

If you have Word 2010 on your computer, and you'd like to try your hand at designing a cover just for fun, give Derek's tutorial a try. It's so much easier than designing a cover in GIMP.

Cover Design Quick Steps

  1. Follow Derek Murphy's tutorial to the letter.

  2. Convert your Word cover into a JPG or PNG using one of these tools.

Read more at the Beyond Paper blog.