Capturing screensQ. I use Windows, and I usually have more...

COMPUTER Q & A

January 18, 1993

Capturing screens

Q. I use Windows, and I usually have more than one program running at the same time. There are lots of times when I wish I could capture a portion of what's being displayed in a program window on my screen and save it to a disk. It might be some vital information in an accounting program or even a picture from a program's title screen.

In these and other cases, no provision is given to print or save. I've tried using my "print-screen" key, but that doesn't work, and even if it did, it would print the entire screen. And I still have no way to save it to a disk. What can I do?

A. What you are looking for is a screen-capture utility. There are many such programs available, offering different features.

Because you are using Windows, you will want a capture program designed to work in that environment. Freeze Frame for Windows ($89.95), from DeltaPoint Inc., is a collection of commonly needed utilities.

The one you'll be interested in is aptly named "Screen Capture." Screen Capture will allow you to capture any window, screen or pull-down menu. In fact, you can capture any portion of the display you want by circling it with the mouse.

Press the proper keys and whatever program is running is instantly halted. Drag the mouse cursor over the area of the screen you want to save. The captured images can be saved to any of 10 standard image formats including the Windows clipboard.

When finished, the halted program resumes as if nothing happened and you can continue your work. You may print the image or save it to disk. You can also load the image into almost any paint, draw or desktop publishing application.

Freeze Frame throws in some extra goodies, such as an icon editor so you can alter and create your own Windows icons. Convert does just what it says, converting clip art and graphics files from one file standard to another. Viewer lets you display and print graphics files without having to run the graphics program that created them. Wallpaper lets you replace the Windows background with your own or any of the included photographic images.

For Macintosh users, try Screen Shot ($59.95) from Baseline Publishing Inc.

DeltaPoint Inc: (408) 648-4000

Baseline Publishing Inc.: (901) 682-9676

Help with shipping

Q. We do countless mailings from the office every day. Can the computer help our mail-room staff find the cheapest way to ship our packages?

A. RateFinder, a program from Elefunt Software, comes with United Parcel Service, Federal Express, U.S. Postal Service and Airborne Express rate tables for domestic and foreign destinations.

In essence, RateFinder allows the user to easily compare shipping costs between different carriers. The program knows about weight limits for each service class and country. Users may enter service rate tables for additional carriers.

RateFinder contains the rates associated with most special services such as pickups, Saturday delivery, insurance, registered and certified mail, return receipts and COD.

The purchase price of $99 includes data updates for six months. After that, a one-year RateFinder Datazine subscription ($49) ensures the user will have the latest information.

RateFinder is available for both IBM and compatible PCs and the Macintosh.

Elefunt Software: (510) 843-7725

Battery swapping

Q. I own an Apple PowerBook 170. The rechargeable battery allows me to work for about two hours. If I want to attach a fresh battery, I first have to shut down the system. Is there a way to switch the battery without having to go through a shutdown?

A. If you want to change batteries without shutting down, the PowerBook includes an AC adapter. All you have to do is plug the PowerBook into the wall before you change the battery and you won't lose any data.

Unfortunately, there isn't always an AC outlet handy. For those times, there's PowerSwap from Utilitron. Weighing about an ounce, this 2 1/2 -inch-long gizmo allows you to change batteries without shutting down.

On one end, the device attaches to an ordinary 9-volt battery. Plug PowerSwap's other end into the AC adapter power jack on the back of the PowerBook. Put the PowerBook into its sleep mode and PowerSwap and its battery will maintain power to the computer's memory.

Change the battery, remove PowerSwap, open the PowerBook and you're right where you left off.

PowerSwap works on Macintosh PowerBook models 140, 145 and 170. Ironically, the least-expensive model, the 100, has a built-in battery backup that allows users to perform a battery swap without shutting down.

PowerSwap sells for $39.95.

Utilitron Inc.: (214) 727-2329

(Send questions to: Craig Crossman, Business Monday, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla. 33132. Please include your phone number.)

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