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  Saving Images


Q: How do I print or save a plot I created with the data visualization applets?

Applets running from a web browser are not able to access your computer's storage devices or printers. Java was designed this way for security -- otherwise a malicious programmer could, for example, write an applet to use up your printer paper and fill your hard drive with garbage.

This means that to save your work you will need to be a little creative. Here are some ways to do it. (These instructions are written for Windows. Similar techniques and programs are available for other operating systems -- send us the details of what works for you and we'll add it to this page.)

Method 1: Use "Alt - Print Screen"

While holding down the "Alt" key on your keyboard, press the "Print Screen" key.

This will copy the current window to the Clipboard. Switch to a program that supports pasting images from the Clipboard, such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Word or Excel. Paste the image and edit, save or print it from here. You can paste into the Paint program that comes with Windows (usually found in the Start >> Programs >> Accessories menu). From Paint you can edit, print, or save the image.

This method is quick and easy, but the image is of the entire window -- including the borders and title and status bars -- see example:

Example Alt-PrtScrn image

You can edit the image to remove the borders (look up "crop" in your program's Help section). It can be a little cumbersome using the image editing tools found in Paint or most word processor programs. And Paint only allows you to save the image as a bitmap -- the file size is much smaller if these images are saved as GIF or JPG files. (Update: The current version of Paint does allow saving in other formats.) For more flexibility you might want to try the next method.

Method 2: Use a Screen Capture Utility

There are many programs that include screen capture features that will work very well for our needs. Here are several examples, but there are many more programs available that work just as well. If you have some other graphics program already installed on your computer check to see if it can handle screen capturing.


Paint Shop Pro (PSP)

Many schools have this program installed on their computers. It is available for evaluation at

In the PSP menu go to Capture >> Setup to set the options. Then press the Capture Now button.

PSP screen capture dialog box

With the settings shown above, PSP will create an image of the client area (the contents of the current window -- excluding the window title and borders) every time Ctrl-F11 is pressed.

The new images can be printed, and saved in a wide variety of graphics formats.



This program is free for noncommercial use (and only $10 for anyone else). It's hard to beat at any price. It does a lot more than screen captures.

In the Irfanview menu go to Options >> Capture.

Irfanview screen capture dialog box


ScreenHunter 4.0

This little utility only does screen captures, but it does them well, it's small, and it's free.
It can be set to capture the client area to the clipboard, to a file, or both.


Yet another (free) screen capture utility, with some interesting features.



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date last updated: Tuesday May 18 2004