screenshots

A screenshot, screen capture (or screen-cap), screen dump, screengrab is an image taken by the computer user to record the visible items displayed on the monitor, television, or another visual output device. Usually, this is a digital image using the operating system or software running on the computer, but it can also be a capture made by a camera or a device intercepting the video output of the display.

Text box to enter new Gmail display name.
Screenshot example with annotation

In the 1980s, computer operating systems did not universally have built-in functionality for capturing screenshots. Sometimes text-only screens could be dumped to a text file, but the result would only capture the content of the screen, not the appearance, nor were graphics screens preservable this way. Some systems had a BSAVE command that could be used to capture the area of memory where screen data was stored, but this required access to a BASIC prompt. Systems with composite video output could be connected to a VCR, and entire screencasts preserved this way.

Screenshots can be used to demonstrate a program, a particular problem a user might be having, or generally when display output needs to be shown to others or archived. For example, after being emailed a screenshot, a Web page author might be surprised to see how their page looks on a different Web browser and can take corrective action. Likewise with differing email software programs, (particularly such as in a cell phone, tablet, etc.,) a sender might have no idea how their email looks to others until they see a screenshot from another computer and can (hopefully) tweak their settings appropriately.