Office 2010 comes with a very useful Screen Clipping tool which lets you capture an image of any open Window or part of your desktop, and add the image to your current document. The new Screen Clipping tool is available in Word 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010 and Outlook 2010.

This is a really useful feature if you need add actual screenshots to a document, spreadsheet, email or presentation. For example you could capture a web page or an error message or part of a screen and add the resulting image to your work. Just be aware that any images captured in this way are not linked to the original, so if the original web page changes, your captured image remains the same.

You can already create an image of a screen or open Window using ALT+Prnt Screen to make the capture, and then pasting the resulting image into your current document, but you then need to crop the image if you want to show only part of the captured screen. The new Screen Clipping tool does a similar job but in a couple of clicks, so it's quicker and easier to do, and it also gives you a choice of open Windows to capture.

You can use the Screen Clipping feature in any of these applications by selecting the Insert tab and then clicking on the command "Screenshot". If you currently have any Windows open, but not minimized, you'll see a drop down showing thumbnails of all the Available Windows. You then click on any one to add an image of this Window to your document. You can only choose one Window at a time from the Available Windows, but you can add further Windows by repeating the process. Each time you select a Window the image is created and automatically added to your document.

Alternatively you may want to add an image of a part of your desktop or open Windows. You might like to setup your desktop the way you want to see it before using the clipper. To do this minimise your current document and then arrange your open Windows, on your desktop, and then restore your current document. To use Screen Clipping you still need to click the "ScreenShot" command, but this time look for the link "Screen Clipping" under the Available Windows.

If you don't have any other open Windows, you will only see the "Screen Clipping" option. When you click "Screen Clipping" your current document minimises and your desktop shows. After a moment the desktop greys out and a solid black cross appears. You use this cross the drag out the intended area to capture. Once you've dragged out an area the image is created and automatically added to your current document. If you didn't have any other open Windows, you'll only see your desktop in the capture area.

Once captured, the image can be modified in the usual way by using the picture Format tab. So the image can be resized, moved or cropped further for example, and you can apply one of the many picture styles or effects. You also might want to change the wrapping property of the image which controls how text flows round the image. By default all Screen Clippings have wrapping set to "In Line with Text". You can change this to "Tight", and perhaps make the image smaller if you want to be able to drag the image freely around your document.

Once you've added a Screen Clip image to your current document you may want to add it again somewhere else in the same document or in another document. You cannot paste the Screen Clip as such because the temporary memory holding the clip empties once used. However with the image selected the can choose Copy, and then you can Paste as often as you wish from there.

There are some limitations to the Screen Clip tool. For example you cannot capture a right click pull down list of options, or similar pop downs such as a style gallery as these options do not remain visible when you select a different Window. And you cannot capture the document you are currently working in.

However you can get over this by simply opening a new document and then use the Screen Clip. The current document will then appear as one of the other available open Windows. One last point to mention - if you are working in compatibility mode, the Screenshot button is disabled. You need to convert your current document to enable the button.

To summarise, the new Screen Clipping tool available in Word 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010 and Outlook 2010 gives you the power to easily and quickly capture an open Window, desktop or part desktop and place the resulting image in your current document, all within a couple of clicks. To find out much more about Office 2010 and its many new features consider attending a training course and really boost your Office 2010 skills.