©2016 by Donald R. Snow
This page was last updated 2016-03-31.  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 with these 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.  This discussion will not include photo and slide scanning.  These notes and additional information in Don's Freeware Corner articles are posted on  where they have active Internet links so you don't have to type in the URL's.


  1. Instructors are Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo and St. George, Utah and Linda Snow Westover ( ) of Orem, 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. Can be saved on your computer clipboard to paste elsewhere or can be saved as files to be used in other programs 
  8. Examples of screenshots to save -- family history information, photos, websites, 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 various parts or all of the screen, or of entire scrolling windows that have scroll bars at the side
  11. Files can be saved in various formats, e.g. pdf, jpg, tif, or png, depending on your use of them, and you can convert from one to another format later
  12. Demo with freeware program EVERYTHING listing screenshots and other files -- available from

  14. Screenshot tools -- two screen capture programs are built into Windows and there are many, many others, mostly free
  15. Built into Windows
    1. Print Screen key -- PrntScrn -- saves entire desktop to clipboard for pasting into other note program like WordPad or LibreOffice
    2. Snipping Tool -- in Windows 7 click Start (Globe at lower left) > All Programs > Accessories > Snipping Tool -- you select rectangular area to save to clipboard -- has options to save the screenshot, highlight parts, edit it, etc. -- can create an icon on your desktop for the Snipping Tool
  16. FASTSTONE CAPTURE -- excellent screen capture program with many features -- old free version is 5.3, later versions are better, but are not free 
    1. Last free version 5.3 is available from several websites, e.g.
    2. Latest shareware version is available from -- -- costs about $20 for a one-time license fee
    3. Has a portable version that can be run from a flash drive to use anywhere, e.g. at a Family History Center
    4. Has several shape capture options including full screen, rectangles, active window, and is the best inexpensive program that will capture an entire scrolling window, which is a feature I use often
    5. Captures can be saved in various formats such as pdf, jpg, png, tif, and gif
    6. Has many other options, including adding captions, sending to an image editor, and saving at specified intervals to make a tutorial
    7. The print option allows you to print the screenshot directly -- helpful when the print method on the website doesn't work well, e.g. on censuses 
    8. Screenshots are not text searchable, but for pdf screenshots you can use the free PDF-XCHANGE EDITOR -- -- to OCR them (Optical Character Recognition) so they are
    9. Will discuss naming screenshots below


  17. To scan most documents I use the Lexmark scanners at Family History Centers to scan things directly to a flash drive
  18. Lexmarks have flatbed and sheet-feeder trays and can be set to scan both sides of documents at once 
  19. The scanner names the files in sequence, e.g. Scanned-image-1.pdf, Scanned-image-2.pdf, etc. -- I rename these later at home.
  20. FHC's also have other scanners that can be used for some documents, e.g. the Kodak photo scanners will scan both sides of letter or legal size sheets

  22. Goal in naming files is so you, or anyone else, can find what you are looking for easily and without having to open the file
  23. The free program EVERYTHING can be used to find all files on your computer for whatever search characters you ask for in the titles; clicking on the file name in an EVERYTHING results screen opens the file in the default program your computer is set for for that type of file; can rename the file right in EVERYTHING, but may have to open it to know what name to give it
  24. Sometimes helpful to eliminate duplicates before you do much renaming, so you don't relabel things you will eventually delete
  25. To eliminate duplicate files I use EVERYTHING to copy all related files into one folder and then run a freeware duplicate file finder program on that folder, e.g. DUPLICATE CLEANER FREE -- available from 
  26. Tip:  Windows Explorer has a panel that lets you see the contents so you can rename files without opening them -- click on View Panel (upper right corner) and highlight any file to see its contents; being able to rename files without opening them saves lots of keystrokes
  27. With files in a single folder BULK RENAME UTILITY -- -- will replace parts of file names in whole groups of files at once
  28. My file naming system for files pertaining to individuals -- you have 255 characters, including the path to the file, plus the 3-character file extension 
    1. Name of file: "SurnameGivenNames(Married name)(birth year-death year)-Event date YYYY-MM-DD-Event-Description-Source--DateScannedOrScreenshot.ext"
    2. Example:  ManwaringDiane(Snow)(1934-2012)-2012-10-13-Obituary-SaltLakeDeseretNews--Ancestry-com--2014-04-10.pdf
    3. Using the woman's maiden name is standard in genealogy and allows all files pertaining to her to be together; I include married name in parentheses for ease of identification
    4. Including birth and death years makes it so time period is clear and distinguishes people with same name, so no need for Jr. or Sr., unless they are really part of the name
    5. Event dates after the name are in International Date Format YYYY-MM-DD so the files automatically sort chronologically for the person and give a timeline of their life -- putting the event date anywhere else in the title would not have them alphabetize chronologically 
    6. For event keywords I use words like Birth, Marriage, Death, News, LDS, History, Doc, School, Census, Letter, Medical, Directory, Portrait, Military, Genealogy, Talk, Audio, etc. -- can add others and use as many as you want
    7. If file pertains to entire life of the person, I use keywords like History, Pedigree, and Bio after the name, but before the date, so these all sort together after the timeline files
    8. I don't leave spaces in file names since some programs put other characters in empty spaces and make them harder to read
    9. Naming files this way makes them jump right to where they belong in the EVERYTHING list without having to move them, even if not in same folder
    10. If you have many files for an individual or for a surname, you can form a separate folder and use EVERYTHING to move all related files into that folder -- they then "chronologize" without using EVERYTHING
    11. I name portraits of an individual this way since I want them in the timeline, but other photos I name with a different system. 
  29. For other types of files I use a code at the start, e.g. LTR- for a letter, PHT- for a photo, O- or ORD- for an order, V- for videos, S- for Shows or Powerpoints, etc. -- the words could be spelled out, but the abbreviations take up less space so you see more of the titles

  31. Freeware program EVERYTHING -- -- is extremely useful and finds files quickly no matter where they are on your computer, if they have appropriate names
  32. To search with EVERYTHING
    1. Click Open New Search Window -- 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 since date in International Date Format makes them sort chronologically -- listing is interactive since you can click on any file to open it to show contents, e.g. a certificate or newspaper article 
    4. To see list of particular types of items for a person, such as School or News or Military, add that term in search box; result is chronological list of just those items -- very helpful for information about particular events, e.g. military service or education
    5. Can do screenshots or text files of such directory lists to save a timeline of that person
    6. If you see misspellings in the EVERYTHING results list, you can rename files right there and they jump to where they belong in the list
    7. When you see how the system works, you can modify parts of all of it to suit yourself.
  33. As mentioned above files named this way and placed in a separate folder will sort chronologically without using EVERYTHING -- can move files by highlighting them in EVERYTHING and right-click-dragging them to a folder in Windows Explorer; 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
  34. 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; I do all new files this way and I rename old files as I find them, but I haven't tried to rename all my old files, since that's just too large a task 
  35. Can use EVERYTHING to copy the files to CDs or DVDs and these would be timelines for an individual with all the documents, etc.

  37. Lots of helpful technology for screen captures, scanning, and file naming.
  38. Good organization on your computer takes time, but saves you time later.
  39. Storing information electronically means not having to store so much paper, makes it easier to find, helps in keeping track of what information you have, and helps turn your heart to your ancestors.

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