How to Create a Screenshot

This guide explains what a screenshot is, why they're useful, and how to create screenshots on your device. This guide also demonstrates what to include in your screenshot and why showing your entire window or screen is often important.

What is a screenshot?

Screenshots—also known as screen captures or screengrabs—are pictures of your device’s display that show what’s on your screen at the time they’re taken.

You’ll often need to create and share a screenshot when asking for help using Canvas, or working with our Technology Help Desk. Screenshots help our support staff help you as efficiently as possible.

For example, if you see an error message in Canvas, take a screenshot to share with Canvas Support so they can see exactly what’s on your screen. This is often more useful than describing the error, which can unintentionally cause confusion or leave out important details included in a screenshot.

Screenshot of Browser Window

How do I create a screenshot on this device?

It’s easy to take a screenshot on most computers, smartphones, and tablets.

For quick screenshots, try using the built-in screen capturing tool included with your device. explains how to take a screenshot on the following devices:

  • Android
  • Apple iPad or iPhone
  • Windows Computer
  • Windows Tablet
  • Chromebook
  • Linux Computer

If you need more options than your device provides by default, you can install a screenshot software like Greenshot, Snagit, or Cleanshot X.

Canvas Image File Compatibility

Canvas doesn't accept all image formats. If you need to use a screenshot or photo in Canvas, make sure you saved it as one of the following formats:

  • BMP - Windows Bitmap
  • GIF - Graphics Interchange Format
  • JPEG - Joint Photographic Experts Group
  • SVG - Scalable Vector Graphics
  • PNG - Portable Network Graphics

Save your screenshots as either a PNG or JPEG file. Both formats can be used in Canvas and can be opened by most devices and software.

Screenshots on Apple Devices

Many Apple devices save screenshots and photos in the HEIC file format. However, this file format is not compatible with Canvas.

To use your iPhone or iPad photos in Canvas, you'll first need to convert them from HEIC to either PNG or JPEG. You can also change your iOS Camera settings so all newly created photos and screenshots will be saved in a "Most Compatible" JPEG format that will work in Canvas.

What should I include in my screenshot?

Most screenshot tools can capture your device’s entire screen, a specific application window, or just a portion of your screen.

If you’re uncertain which option to use, include as much of your device’s screen as possible in your screenshot. If you’re not comfortable sharing your entire screen, or if there are certain onscreen elements you’d like to hide, at least include the full window of whatever application you’re trying to show.

This is particularly important when asking for tech support from the UW-Superior Help Desk or when corresponding with Canvas Support. When asking for help using Canvas, including a screenshot of your entire browser window tells us some important information:

  1. Your Device’s Operating System: This screenshot was taken on an Apple computer running MacOS v12.4.
  2. Your Browser: We recommend using Google Chrome when working in Canvas. Mozilla Firefox also works well.
  3. Where You Are in Canvas: Each Canvas page has a different URL, shown in your browser’s address bar. We can use this information to easily identify a Canvas course, distinguish between Canvas courses with the same name, and troubleshoot broken links and error messages.
  4. Browser Extensions: Browser extensions can interact with Canvas in unexpected ways, so we need to know if you’re using any. Also, some parts of Canvas require a browser extension, like assessments proctored with Honorlock.
  5. Date and Time: This information can identify when the screenshot was taken.

Screenshot of Desktop and Browser

Need Help?

Please reach out to the Technology Help Desk.

Keywordscanvas, macOS, Windows, iOS, Android   Doc ID118846
OwnerMichael M.GroupUW Superior
Created2022-06-03 15:13:08Updated2023-06-04 12:19:21
SitesUW Superior
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