It always amazes me that some of the smallest refinements can equate to massive boosts in productivity. Features such as virtual desks or the new tab strip UI may feel like minor changes but they can massively enhance the way you move around your Chromebook and in turn, your entire workflow can see major performance boosts. For our line of work, another frequently used Chrome OS trick is the screenshot. Whether it’s grabbing something for a featured image or using the partial screen grab to snag a closeup of a device, the screenshot is a very useful tool on any platform.
If you aren’t familiar with how to take a screenshot on a Chromebook, it is super easy. You can take a full screenshot by pressing Ctrl and the overview key. On a non-Chrome OS keyboard, this equates to the F5 key. On a Chromebook, it is the key directly to the left of the brightness keys on the top row of the keyboard. You can see the overview key highlighted in the image below. By itself, this key zooms out all of your open windows into “overview” mode.
Alternatively, you can take a partial screenshot by pressing Ctrl+Alt and the overview key. You can then left-click and drag a resizeable rectangle around the area where you want to snap a pic. The only drawback of this feature is that the moment you release the mouse button, the picture is taken. If you missed the area you were trying to grab, you have to do it again. In my particular case, I often need to grab and image of a device on a website and would really like to get the images whitespace symmetrical on all sides so that I don’t have to open the image editor and crop the photo. That’s not always an easy thing to eyeball.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who sees room for improvement with this feature. A flag popped up in the Developer channel today that adds the ability to resize and move your partial screenshot before you grab the image.
chrome://flags/#movable-partial-screenshot-region does exactly what its name implies. When you press the keys for a partial screenshot, you then drag the mouse to cover the area you want to grab but then, you can grab the outline anywhere you like to resize it or move it so you can get exactly the image you want. When you’re your ready, simply left-click the mouse anywhere on the screen and your image will be saved in the Downloads folder. Again, I know this seems like a simple thing and it could be dismissed as insignificant but I’m here to tell you that this seemingly trivial update will forever improve my workflow and I’m sure that I’m not alone. Currently, in the Dev channel, the new screenshot feature is working perfectly. For that reason, I would expect to see it move up to Stable in the very near future. We’ll keep an eye out for it an let you know.