©2017 by Donald R. Snow
This page was last updated 2017-11-11.  Return to the  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page  or  Don Snow's Class Listings Page .
ABSTRACT:  This class will discuss making screenshots or screen captures, scanning documents, and ways to name the files for ease of use later.  Free and inexpensive computer programs that help will be shown.  A naming system for the files will be presented that makes them easy to find and shows them in chronological order for the person they relate to.  We will not discuss photo and slide scanning here, but save that for another discussion.  The notes for this class and related articles, all with active Internet links, are on my website .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo and St. George, Utah.
  2. These notes and other related notes and Freeware Corner articles are posted on Don's class notes website  with the links, so you don't have to type them in yourself.
  3. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for these notes, or any webpage, just drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser onto your desktop.  (2)  To open a link, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. The problem for today's discussion:  Doing screenshots, scanning documents, and naming the files for ease of use later.

  6. Screenshots or screen captures are pictures you make of things on your computer screen; they can be of documents, webpages, photos, text, etc.
  7. Screenshots can be saved as files or to your computer clipboard to paste elsewhere  
  8. Examples of screenshots to save -- family history information, family history webpages, photos, online orders you make, online receipts for purchases, forms you fill out
  9. Not necessary to save everything in hard copy; save it in electronic form and print it only when you need a printed copy
  10. Screenshots can be of part or all of the screen or of entire vertical scrolling window
  11. Files can be saved in various formats, e.g. pdf, jpg, tif, or png, depending on what you want to do with them, and you can convert from one format to another later

  13. Many free screenshot tools available; some are built into Windows 10
  14. Windows 10
    1. Print to PDF -- Can set this as your default printer so anytime you right-click > Print something it will be automatically be set to save it as pdf and not print it to paper; will ask you what to name it and where to put the pdf file; I print most things to pdf and then from that to paper, if needed
    2. Print Screen key -- PrntScrn -- saves entire desktop to clipboard for pasting into another program like WordPad or LibreOffice
    3. Snipping Tool -- click Start (the slanted "Window" icon in lower left corner) > Programs > Windows Accessories > Snipping Tool -- allows you to select rectangular area, full-screen, or free-form area where you trace around the area to snip; will save as file or to clipboard and can edit or highlight parts; can create an icon on your desktop for Snipping Tool by Window > Programs > Windows Accessories > highlight Snipping Tool and right-click-drag to Desktop > click Create Shortcut
  15. FASTSTONE CAPTURE -- excellent screen capture program with many features -- old free version is 5.3, later versions are better, but are Shareware and hence not free 
    1. Last free version 5.3 is available from several websites, e.g.
    2. Latest shareware version ($20 one-time license fee for all updates) is available from --
    3. Portable version also available that can be run from a flash drive to use anywhere, e.g. at a Family History Center
    4. Besides standard shape screenshots, it will capture entire scrolling window, a feature I use often 
    5. Captures can be saved in various formats such as pdf, jpg, png, tif, and gif; can add captions and has an editor
    6. Has a print option to print to paper directly -- helpful when the print method on the website doesn't work well, e.g. on censuses 
    7. Screenshot files are NOT text searchable since they are only pictures of the page; for pdf screenshots the free PDF-XCHANGE EDITOR -- -- has OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to make them text searchable


  16. To scan most documents I use the Lexmark scanners at Family History Centers and scan things directly to a flash drive
  17. Lexmarks have flatbed and sheet-feeder trays and can be set to scan both sides of documents at once 
  18. The scanner names the files in sequence, e.g. Scanned-image-1.pdf, Scanned-image-2.pdf, etc. -- can rename these at home later
  19. FHC Kodak Photo Scanners will also scan documents, both sides of letter or legal size sheets, but not to pdf 
  20. EVERNOTE has a free "document app" that will photograph and square up the rectangular area; can be used as a portable scanner, e.g. to scan forms you fill out at the doctor's office

  22. Goal in file naming is so you, or anyone, can find what you are looking and tell what's in them without having to open them
  23. Several ways to rename files
    1. FILE EXPLORER in Windows 10 (same as Windows Explorer in Windows 7) has a Preview Pane to see what's in the file without opening it -- click View > Preview Pane -- can then rename the file without opening it
    2. Freeware program EVERYTHING -- available from -- will find all files on your computer for whatever characters are in the titles; can rename files in it; now has a Preview Pane -- Click View > Preview
    3. Freeware program BULK RENAME UTILITY -- available from -- will replace parts of file names in groups of files all at once; I use it to rename scanned files when I come home from FHC
  24. Eliminating duplicates
    1. Helpful to eliminate duplicates before you do much renaming, so you don't relabel files that you will later delete
    2. Can use EVERYTHING to copy all groups of files into one folder and, if there are duplicate file names, it asks you what you want to do
    3. DUPLICATE CLEANER FREE -- freeware available from -- helps eliminate duplicates, even if names are different 
  25. My file naming system for files for individuals -- you have 255 characters, including the path to the file, plus the 3-character file extension 
    1. Example of file name:  ManwaringDiane(Snow)(1934-2012)-2012-10-13-DEATH-NEWS-Obituary-SaltLakeDeseretNews--Ancestry-com--2014-04-10.pdf
    2. Name format:  "SurnameGivenNames(Married name)(birth year-death year)-Event Date[in format YYYY-MM-DD]-KEYWORDS-Description-Source--DateScannedOrScreenshot.ext"
    3. Using the woman's maiden name is standard in genealogy and brings all files pertaining to her together, before and after marriage; married name in parentheses helps identify her
    4. Birth and death years makes time period clear and distinguishes people with same name, so no need for Jr. or Sr., unless that really was part of their name
    5. Event dates after the name are in International Date Format YYYY-MM-DD so the files automatically sort chronologically as a timeline for the person -- putting the event date anywhere else in the title would not have the person's files sort chronologically 
    6. For event keywords I use words like BIRTH, MARRIAGE, DEATH, NEWS, LDS, MISSION, DOC, SCHOOL, EDUCATION, PORTRAIT, CENSUS, LETTER, MEDICAL, MILITARY, TALK, AUDIO, etc. -- can use as many as you want; EVERYTHING will then collect together all files for the person or only those with keywords you put in search box and will show those chronologically, e.g. searching for person and MILITARY you get all their military records together and in chronological order
    7. If file pertains to entire life of the person, I use keywords like HISTORY, PEDIGREE, BIO, or GENEALOGY before the date, so these all sort together after the event-dated files
    8. I don't leave spaces in file names since some programs add characters in empty spaces, such as a % sign, and it makes them harder to read
    9. Files named this way makes them jump right to where they belong in the EVERYTHING list without you having to put them there, even if not in same folder
    10. EVERYTHING can be used to move all related files into a single folder and then they sort chronologically without EVERYTHING
    11. Portraits I name this way, but for other photos I use a different system, since there are so many  
  26. For some other types of files I use a code at the start, e.g. LTR- for a letter, PHT- for a photo, ORD- for an order, V- for videos, S- for Powerpoints or slideshows, etc., so I can find them easily

  28. Searching with EVERYTHING finds all files, no matter where they are on your computer
    1. Double click to open -- can open as many copies as you want, e.g. you could have one for a person's timeline and another for the photos of that person
    2. Search syntax for EVERYTHING:  space = AND, | ("pipe") = OR, ! = NOT, < > = grouping, " " = exact phrase
    3. For a timeline enter person's name as above -- result will be a chronological timeline of the person's life because International Date Format makes them sort chronologically
    4. List is interactive and you can click on any file to open it to read it or listen to audio, etc.
    5. For particular types of items for a person such as EDUCATION, NEWS, or MILITARY, add that term in search box; result is chronological list of just those items -- very helpful for information about particular types of events
    6. Can do screenshots or text files of such directory lists to save a timeline of that person or event list for them 
    7. If you see misspellings in the EVERYTHING results list, rename the files right there and they jump to where they belong in the list
    8. When you see how the system works, you can modify parts or all of it to suit yourself.
  29. As mentioned above files named this way and placed in a separate folder will sort chronologically without using EVERYTHING
  30. To move files to another folder highlight them in EVERYTHING and right-click and drag them to the folder; they will still be listed in EVERYTHING, but their paths will all be changed; if you copy, rather than move them, they will all appear duplicated in the EVERYTHING results list
  31. No limit to the number of files you can handle this way and they automatically jump to where they belong, as soon as you name them
  32. I use this system on all new files and I rename old files as I find them, but I only do old files as I need or come across them, since it's too big a task to go back and do all old files   
  33. Can use EVERYTHING to copy the files to flash drives or burn CDs and form interactive timelines with all the documents to give to others

  35. Good organization on your computer takes time, but saves you time later.  But don't try to do it all at once.  Remember: "Small deeds done are better than big deeds planned."
  36. Storing information electronically about yourself makes it easier to find and will help your descendants know about you; storing information electronically about your ancestors turns your heart to them.

  37. Return to the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page or Don Snow's Class Listings Page .