If You Can See It, You Can Save it: How to Create a Screen Capture

Update to my original post:

Last night was the second presidential debate between DT and HC. And here, again, the use of screen captures was very noticeable.

NBC Nightly News tweeted this out…

Even NBC Nightly News uses screenshots

Even NBC Nightly News uses screenshots

And this morning, Twitter Moments used “The funniest screen grabs from the second presidential…” as the title to their section.

Twitter Moments announces screen grabs in their Moments section.

Twitter Moments announces screen grabs in their Moments section.

Now I call them screen captures, but screen grabs is good, too. Either way, lawyers need to learn how to do this. So read and re-read my original post on this topic.

Oh and regarding the administrator who made the public Facebook comment regarding a lawsuit he was involved in (see below).. yup, he took down his Facebook post. No matter; because of the many screen captures of his posting, that post is now listed as evidence in the Plaintiff’s Pretrial Disclosures.

Screen capturing a now-deleted-Facebook allows it to be used in litigation.

Screen capturing a now-deleted-Facebook post allowed it to be presented as hard evidence in a lawsuit.

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If you see it, you can save it, but you have to save it immediately.

At one point during the first debate between HRC and DT, DT said he did not deny that there was global warming. My Twitter feed was soon filled with people tweeting about how DT had stated the complete opposite on HIS Twitter account years earlier (and that the Chinese had created it as a hoax). They even posted a screen capture of DT’s Twitter post.

Twitterverse screen captured DT's tweet, just in case it got deleted at a later date.

Twitterverse screen captured DT’s tweet, just in case it got deleted at a later date.

I had already written a blog post earlier in the day based on screen captures and knew I had to amend it to include this timely example.

The initial reason for my blog article was in reaction to a presentation by attorney Brian Koncius during the State Bar of Michigan’s annual conference. Brian led an educational session on some of the current technologies impacting employment law.

He mentioned two examples/situations that piqued my interest: disappearing apps and digital content that is removed off of a website (for example, deleting a post on Facebook or Twitter).

This blog post discusses how to capture and save these content types.

It all boils down to capturing what someone sees as soon as they see it. Time is of the essence because the material may be fleeting.

Here is the general rule: If you see something on your screen, you can save it to use at a later date, but you have to save what you see immediately.

The method to do so is called taking a screen capture. You can do screen captures with things you see on your phone, your tablet, your laptop, and your desktop computer. Think of screen captures as taking a picture of everything you see on these screens.

A screen capture is a photo, taken at one point in time (so no video screen shots, sorry), that is either copied to the clipboard of your computer or saved as a photo on your phone.

Here is a high-level overview of how to do a screen capture on your desktop computer. For phones and other devices, I’d suggest Googling “how to take a screen shot” along with the name of your device (e.g. iPhone) and see what results. I’ve seen amazingly straightforward YouTube videos showing how to do this.

Back to screen capturing on your desktop computer.

Step 1: View the information on your computer screen.
For attorneys, you will either have to go to a specific website or have information sent to you. Or, you will have to instruct your client that they will need to take a screen capture for any material they see so it can be later used as evidence to support their verbal testimony.

Let’s assume you, the attorney, are viewing someone’s Facebook page on your computer. Be sure to close out anything else on your computer you do not want saved in your screenshot.

Step 2: Take the screenshot.

Your Print Screen button will be on your laptop or desktop keyboard.

Your Print Screen button will be on your laptop or desktop keyboard.

On most laptops and desktop keyboards, there is a key that says something like “PRT SC” in the upper right corner of the keyboard. Press it. For my computer, nothing appears to happen- but I know it has because of the next step…

Step 3: Open up Word and within a new file hit the Paste button. (With the older versions of Word, it was /Edit /Paste)

If you want the ability to further edit the screen capture, open up a photo editing software like Photoshop or MS Paint and basically do the same thing. Open up a photo editing software, create a new file in it, and then do an /Edit /Paste

I use Adobe Photoshop. So the steps for me are to Open Photoshop, hit /File /New, accept the settings the software is giving me, and then hit /Edit /Paste. Whola! There is my screen capture.

If you don’t have Photoshop, surely you have something basic like Microsoft’s Paint software. The same steps apply to Paint… /File /New and then /Edit /Paste.

Step 4: Save your new photo or Word file.

As lawyers, you know that visual evidence can be very effective in court. When the father says, “She never told me she was pregnant,” showing his Instagram post of the mother’s ultrasound and his text below it saying, “My ex claims she’s pregnant” will help your case.

Dennis Armistead

To the press, this administrator said, “No comment.” Then he publicly posted this on his Facebook and Twitter pages.

But it’s not just you who are using these screen captures, so is the press. When a company administrator says, “No comment” to the press and then publicly posts his views on a lawsuit against his employer on his Facebook page, you can be sure that reporter has screen-captured the heck out of the post.

That’s what happened during the HRC/DT debate.  Screen-capturing is becoming a commonly-used verb, like Photoshopping a photograph.

So just to clarify the details a bit more here: Once something is seen on a screen, it can be saved. It just has to be captured immediately.