Title:
SNIPPING TOOL
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Systems and methods for capturing content and performing operations associated with the content are described. A stylus or other pointing device may be used to designate content to be captured. After content is designated, a new window is generated that includes the designated content and user interface elements for annotating, conveying or otherwise acting upon the designated content.



Inventors:
Duncan, Richard J. (Redmond, WA, US)
Van Dongen, Neils (Redmond, WA, US)
Missimer, Constance A. (Redmond, WA, US)
Liu, Sally (Redmond, WA, US)
Jabrane, Khalil (Redmond, WA, US)
Application Number:
13/164560
Publication Date:
06/21/2012
Filing Date:
06/20/2011
Assignee:
Microsoft Corporation (Redmond, WA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
715/760, 715/767, 715/781, 715/810
International Classes:
G06F3/048
View Patent Images:



Other References:
TechSmith, "SnagIt User's Guide" by TechSmith Corporation www.techsmith.com, pages: 79 including two cover pages, index pages i and ii, and content pages 1-75
"Taking a Screen Shot", Published 10/27/2004, https://d2l.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/141/~/taking-a-screen-shot, pages: 2
Lawrence Abrams, "How to take and share a screen shot in Windows", December 27, 2004, http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/how-to-take-and-share-a-screen-shot-in-windows/ pages: 4
Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, CHAU T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC (One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA, 98052, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method comprising: displaying content, by a computing device, in a first window on a display device; receiving, by the computing device, a designation input that designates a portion of the content to capture; and displaying, by the computing device, a second window in addition to the first window, at least partly, in response to receiving the designation input, the second window including the portion of the content designated by the designation input.

2. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the designation input is received via an input device.

3. The method as recited in claim 2, wherein the input device includes a mouse, a stylus, a finger of a user of the computing device, or combinations thereof.

4. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the computing device is a tablet computing device.

5. The method as recited claim 4, wherein the display device includes a touch-sensitive digitizing display surface, a proximity-sensitive digitizing display surface, an optical digitizer, a capacitive digitizer, an electromagnetic digitizer, or combinations thereof.

6. The method as recited in claim 1, further comprising: receiving, by the computing device, annotation content; and resizing, by the computing device, the second window when the annotation content approaches an edge of the second window.

7. At least one computer-readable storage medium including computer-executable instructions that when executed by a processing unit perform operations comprising: displaying content in a window on a display device; receiving an activate command to activate a snipping tool configured to capture at least a portion of the content displayed in the window; displaying a floating toolbar in addition to the window, at least partly, in response to receiving the activate command, the floating toolbar including a plurality of menu elements related to designating certain content of the window to capture; receiving a designation input designating particular content of the window to capture; removing the floating toolbar, at least partly, in response to receiving the designation input; and displaying an additional window including the particular content of the window designated by the designation input.

8. The at least one computer-readable storage as recited in claim 7, wherein the additional window includes a menu having a plurality of options selectable to perform operations with respect to the particular content of the window designated by the designation input.

9. The at least one computer-readable storage medium as recited in claim 7, wherein the floating toolbar includes a particular menu element selectable to indicate a type of snipping tool.

10. The at least one computer-readable storage medium as recited in claim 9, wherein the operations further comprise: receiving input indicating selection of the particular menu element of the floating toolbar; and displaying a drop-down menu including a plurality of options for specifying a form to designate the particular portion of the content displayed in the window.

11. The at least one computer-readable storage medium as recited in claim 10, wherein the plurality of options include free form selection, rectangular selection, window selection, full screen, or combinations thereof.

12. The at least one computer-readable storage medium as recited in claim 7, wherein the activate command is received in response to selection of a key combination, selection of an icon from a menu, or combinations thereof.

13. The at least one computer-readable storage medium of claim 7, wherein the content displayed in the window includes designated content and non-designated content, the designated content including the particular content displayed in the window designated by the designation input and the non-designated content including a portion of the content displayed in the window that is not designated by the designation input.

14. The at least one computer-readable storage medium of claim 13, wherein the operations further comprise altering an appearance of the non-designated content by applying a white overlay to the non-designated content, changing a brightness of the non-designated content, changing color content of the non-designated content to black and white content, or combinations thereof.

15. A device comprising: a display device; a processing unit; and a memory comprising computer storage media including instructions that when executed by the processing unit: display content on the display device; receive a designation input via the display device, the designation input designating at least a portion of the content to capture; and display a window on the display device, at least partly, in response to receiving the designation input, the window including the at least a portion of the content, a first menu, and a second menu, the first menu including one or more first menu options selectable to perform operations with respect to the at least a portion of the content and the second menu including a plurality of second menu options, each of the second menu options being selectable to annotate the at least a portion of the content or convey the at least a portion of the content.

16. The device as recited in claim 15, wherein the designation input is received via selection of a menu element of a browser application.

17. The device as recited in claim 16, wherein the content displayed on the display device is a webpage displayed via the browser application.

18. The device as recited in claim 17, wherein the computer storage media include additional instructions that when executed by the processing unit obtain uniform resource locator (URL) information associated with the webpage from the browser application.

19. The device as recited in claim 18, wherein the URL information is obtained from the browser application via one or more application programming interfaces (APIs) specific to a type of the browser.

20. The device as recited in claim 18, wherein the URL information is obtained by identifying one or more nodes of a tree including a link fingerprint indicating a URL, the tree including information about the webpage.

Description:

PRIORITY CLAIM AND CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority from and is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/424,298, filed on Jun. 15, 2006, which is incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND

People often rely on graphical representations more than textual representations of information. They would rather look at a picture than a block of text that may be equivalent to the picture. For instance, a home owner may cut out pictures of magazines to show contractors exactly what is desired when remodeling a kitchen or bathroom. Textual representations of the same material often fall short. The tool that the home owner may use is no more complex than a pair of scissors.

In the computing world, however, attempting to capture and convey the identical content can be cumbersome. Typical computer systems provided limited ability to capture and convey graphically intensive content. Rather, they are optimized for capturing and rendering text or do not provide user friendly interfaces for capturing and conveying images.

Some computing systems have expanded the input and interaction systems available to a user by allowing the use of a stylus to input information into the systems. The stylus may take the place of both the keyboard (for data entry) as well as the mouse (for control). Some computing systems receive handwritten electronic information or electronic ink and immediately attempt to convert the electronic ink into text. Other systems permit the electronic ink to remain in the handwritten form.

The options available to users of computer systems for capturing and conveying content displayed on display devices are limited. Capturing and conveying displayed content remains difficult and cumbersome.

SUMMARY

Aspects of the invention relate to methods and systems for capturing and conveying content displayed on display devices using a snipping tool. Content may be designated with a stylus, mouse or other selection device. After the content is designated, a window is generated that includes the designated content and one or more menu options. The menu options may allow a user to perform operations such as annotating and conveying the designated content. The snipping tool allows users to capture a screen shot of any object displayed on a display device and then annotate, save, or share the screen shot.

Furthermore, a computer-readable medium storing computer-executable instructions for performing aspects of the invention is disclosed. The computer-readable instructions may exist at one or more levels of the computing system, e.g., device driver level, operating system level, application level, or others.

This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Aspects of the invention are illustrated by way of example and not limited in the accompanying figures in which like reference numerals indicate similar elements and in which:

FIG. 1 is an illustrative computing environment that may be used to implement aspects of the invention.

FIG. 2 is an illustrative computing device that includes an interactive display device screen that may be used to implement aspects of the invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a computer implemented method for capturing and conveying content in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary floating toolbar, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4a illustrates an exemplary snippet tool menu, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary window that may be placed around designated content, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates a window that includes content that has been designated by a user using a free form snipping tool, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary computer device 100 that may be used to implement aspects of the invention. In its most basic configuration, computing device 100 typically includes at least one processing unit 102 and memory 104. Depending on the exact configuration and type of computing device, memory 104 may be volatile (such as RAM), non-volatile (such as ROM, flash memory, etc.) or some combination of the two. Additionally, device 100 may also have additional features/functionality. For example, device 100 may also include additional storage (removable and/or non-removable) including, but not limited to, magnetic or optical disks or tape. Such additional storage is illustrated in FIG. 1 by removable storage 108 and non-removable storage 110. Computer storage media includes volatile and nonvolatile, removable and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information such as computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules or other data. Memory 104, removable storage 108 and non-removable storage 110 are all examples of computer storage media. Computer storage media includes, but is not limited to, RAM, ROM, EEPROM, flash memory or other memory technology, CD-ROM, digital versatile disks (DVD) or other optical storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to store the desired information and which can accessed by device 100. Any such computer storage media may be part of device 100.

Device 100 may also contain communications connection(s) 112 that allow the device to communicate with other devices. Communications connection(s) 112 is an example of communication media. Communication media typically embodies computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules or other data in a modulated data signal such as a carrier wave or other transport mechanism and includes any information delivery media. By way of example, and not limitation, communication media includes wired media such as a wired network or direct-wired connection, and wireless media such as acoustic, RF, infrared and other wireless media. The term computer readable media as used herein includes both storage media and communication media.

Device 100 may also have input device(s) 114 such as keyboard, mouse, stylus, voice input device, touch input device, touchscreen device, interactive display device, etc. Output device(s) 116 such as a speakers, printer, etc. may also be included. One example of an output device is a display device 106. Display device 106 may be implemented with a cathode ray tube (CRT), liquid crystal display, light emitting diode display or other conventional display devices. Display devices 106 may be used to present content such as graphical user interfaces, data and windows to users. As one skilled in the art will appreciate, a window is viewable area that may include graphical user interface elements and may be used to display data.

FIG. 2 depicts an illustrative tablet PC 206 that can be used in accordance with various aspects of the invention. Any or all of the features, subsystems, and functions in the system of FIG. 1 can be included in tablet PC 206. Tablet PC 206 includes a large display surface 204, e.g., a digitizing flat panel display, such as a liquid crystal display (LCD) screen. Using stylus 202, a user can designate content, select, highlight, and/or write on the interactive display device screen 204. Additionally, in some embodiments, a user's own finger(s) could be the stylus 202 and used for selecting or indicating portions of the displayed image on a touch-sensitive or proximity-sensitive digitizing display surface 204. Examples of suitable digitizing display surfaces 204 include electromagnetic pen digitizers, such as Mutoh or Wacom pen digitizers. Other types of digitizers, e.g., optical digitizers and capacitive digitizers, may also be used. Tablet PC 206 interprets gestures made using stylus 202 or the user's hand in order to, among other things, manipulate data, enter text, create drawings, perform preconfigured operations, and/or execute conventional computer application tasks such as spreadsheets, word processing programs, and the like.

FIG. 3 illustrates a computer implemented method for capturing and conveying content in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. First, in step 300 content is displayed on a display device. The content may include text, images or any other type of content that may be displayed on a typical computer display device, such as display device 106 (shown in FIG. 1).

In step 302 it is determined whether or not an activate command has been received. The activate command may be received from a user and may indicate that the user desires to use a snipping tool. The activate command may be pressing a special key combination, such as Windows+PrtScn, or by the user clicking on an icon in the quicklaunch tray, or by clicking on an icon on the start menu. When no activate command is received, control returns to step 300, where the process waits for the receipt of an activate command. When an activate command is received, in step 304 a floating toolbar may be displayed on the display device. The floating toolbar may be an uppermost window such that it will not be covered by any other windows. The floating toolbar may include menu options relating to the designation of content to capture.

FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary floating toolbar 400 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. Floating toolbar 400 includes a selection menu element 402, a stop menu element 404 for returning to a passive or non-capturing state and an options menu element 406 for configuring the toolbar. Selection menu element 402 is in the form of a drop-down menu that allows users to indicate the type of snipping tool desired. For example, as shown in FIG. 4a, selection menu element 402 may include a drop-down menu with elements such as free form selection, rectangular selection, window selection and full screen. In one embodiment, when free form selection is selected, the computer device may be configured to convert a received stroke array into a points array and then create a region based on the points array. In another embodiment, the user may hover over an icon, such as an icon included on a taskbar, that corresponds to a window that will be selected.

The type of snipping tool generated may be a function of the selection made by the user. In one embodiment of the invention, a default type of snipping tool may be a function of the type of computer device. For example, a Tablet PC computer device may have a default setting of free form, while other computer devices may use rectangular selection as a default.

Returning in FIG. 3, in step 306 it is determined if a designating input is received from a user. A designating input designates a portion of the content to be captured. For example, after indicating that the user desires to use a free form snipping tool, a user may contact a digitizing display surface, such as digitizing display surface tool 204 (shown in FIG. 2) with stylus 202 or use a mouse and begin to create a free form shape that designates a portion of the displayed content the user wishes to capture.

When a designating input is not received, the process returns to step 304 and waits for the receipt of an input. When a designating input is received in step 306, in step 308 the floating toolbar may be removed. In one embodiment of the invention, the floating toolbar is removed as soon as a user begins to designate a portion of content to capture. For example, the floating toolbar may be removed as soon as a stylus contacts a digitizing display surface. In another embodiment of the invention, the floating toolbar is not removed until content has been designated.

Next, in step 310 the appearance of the content other than the designated content may be altered. Altering the non-designated content may be used to draw attention to the designated content. In one embodiment of the invention, a white overlay may be applied to the non-designated content. Of course, other alterations may be made to the designated and/or non-designated content to draw attention to the designated content. Alterations may include changing color content to black and white content, changing brightness of content, or applying a variety of overlays.

After the user designates content, in step 312 a window that includes the designated content is displayed on the display device. The window may include one or more menu options that allow the user to annotate and convey the designated content. FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary window 500 that may be placed around designated content in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. A new menu 502 may be used to return control to the floating toolbar. A save icon 504 may be selected to save the designated content and any annotations to a folder, external storage device or any other storage location. The designated content may be saved in JPEG, bitmap, HTML or other conventional file formats. In one embodiment of the invention, at least a portion of the designated content may be saved as text to facilitate later editing.

In one embodiment of the invention, HTML content is saved such that the hyperlinks included within the HTML content are preserved. When the user designates content inside of a web browser window, it may be desirable to preserve the context of the webpage URL that the user is currently viewing. This context will be included when the user saves captured content to formats that support additional information, such as HTML, or when the user sends the captured content as an email message. This context can be included along with the captured content in the form of a hyperlink to the page that the user was viewing at the time of capture. The snipping tool can communicate with the web browser to obtain the URL information. In one embodiment, this communication can use APIs specific to the web browser in question, for example, the Internet Explorer Document Object Model (DOM). In another embodiment, active accessibility may be used. For an application to support active accessibility, the application must provide all of its on-screen content as a tree of textual information. Each node on the tree will have certain attributes, such as an accessibility role (text box, button, combination box, etc.), name, value and description. The tree can be searched using a link fingerprint. Applications will define link fingerprints that can be used by a snipping tool to find the URLs within the trees. In operation, URLs may be located by walking the tree until a node is found that satisfies all of the conditions specified in the link fingerprint. Link fingerprints may be identified by software vendors and added to an operating system registry, for example during installation.

A copy icon 506 may be used to copy the contents of window 500 to a clipboard or other memory. In some embodiments, the contents of window 500 are automatically copied to the clipboard and the clipboard contents are updated when modifications are made to the contents of window 500. An e-mail icon 508 may be used to e-mail the content included within window 500. The e-mail message may include the content as an attachment or in-line. In one embodiment of the invention, annotations made by a user are parsed in a conventional manner and the parsed annotations are used to populate the subject line of the e-mail message. The parsed annotations may also be used to name a file that will be saved or as an information tag associated with the image. In another embodiment of the invention, a title of a web page identified in the designated content is used to populate the subject line of the e-mail message. In other embodiments of the invention a title of window 500 may be used to populate the subject line of an e-mail message.

A pen icon 510 may be used to annotate the content displayed in window 500. For example, a user may wish to use a stylus to write notes and draw arrows to particular parts of the content included within window 500. One skilled in the art will appreciate that many different additional and/or alternate menu elements may be used to allow users to annotate, convey or otherwise operate on the content included within window 500. For example, an extensible Send To option may be provided that, when selected, sends the content included within window 500 to one or more editing applications. Toolbars of applications may also include at least some of the menu elements described above. For example, a browser application may include a selection menu element, such as selection menu element 402 (shown in FIG. 4), so that a snip can be initiated directly from a browsing window.

In some embodiments of the invention, window 500 is located and sized such that the content displayed within window 500 corresponds to the location and size of the designated content. That is, window 500 appears to be generated around the designated content, such as by fading into view, without the designated content changing size or location. Such positioning preserves the context of the surrounding content. When the designated content is located at an edge of a display, window 500 may be shifted to allow for room to insert annotations.

The size of window 500 may be expanded, such as to provide additional room for annotations. In one embodiment of the invention, the location and size of content displayed within window 500 remains stationary while the size of window 500 expands. Window 500 may be resized by a computer device to provide additional room for annotations. For example, when a user annotates content and the annotation approaches an edge of the window, the computer device may expand the window to provide additional room for annotations.

FIG. 6 illustrates a window 600 including content 602 that has been designated by a user using a free form snipping tool, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. In the embodiment shown, content 602 is surrounded by a border 604. Border 604 may correspond to a free form pattern created by a user. An e-mail icon 606 has been selected to e-mail the content included within window 600.

Although the subject matter has been described in language specific to structural features and/or methodological acts, it is to be understood that the subject matter defined in the appended claims is not necessarily limited to the specific features or acts described above. Rather, the specific features and acts described above are disclosed as example forms of implementing the claims. Numerous other embodiments, modifications and variations within the scope and spirit of the appended claims will occur to persons of ordinary skill in the art from a review of this disclosure.