I'm not sure about people who are proficient in English. But as a person who isn't very good at it, I feel refreshed whenever I found images related to the content. It usually made me understand the message more quickly.

However, most of answers/questions in Stackexchange network (that I found) doesn't have embedded images in them. So I start to wonder if it's a bad practice for Q&A sites? What do you thing about people who include images/screenshots in their questions/answers?

5 Answers 5


Text gets indexed by search engines allowing others with a similar problem to find the Q&A and either be helped or contribute.

Screenshots don't.

That doesn't mean that screenshots don't have their supportive place at times, but a question "looks at this screenshot" typically won't incite as much response compared to a properly formatted and thought out question or answer.

Another big disadvantage of using screenshots and other such graphics compared to copying screen output and the text from message boxes is also that images don't always work that well at every display resolution and/or type (such the mobile app).

  • Agreed, most useful info/solution I found while googling is from Stack Exchange sites
    – weeix
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 15:18

For most questions, what we (and sites like stackoverflow.com) need is text, not pictures. Text containing log snippets, error messages, code etc. that we can work with to copy it into our answers (or maybe even test ourself).

Screenshots don't work for this and makes it less likely someone will try to help you if you post a screenshot instead of copied/pasted text from your terminal.

Naturally, this doesn't apply to everything and if a screenshot or other illustration is the only possible way to show something, it's perfectly fine to post one.


Simply cause its often not needed. In some cases, it makes things more difficult.

image files (and I suppose animated gifs) have their place in gui based environments that are reasonably standard. You effectively point at what needs to be clicked on.

In most cases, when the solution is for a modern server you'd be running commands, typically in bash or powershell. You'd be talking about the commands you ran, either in bash or powershell, or the configuration you are running, which might be a text file (or I suppose MAYBE a GUI configuration screen).

There's just so few situations on SF where a screenshot massively improves an answer.


Embedding an image is fine, and is usually recommended.

However, to prevent certain types of malicious activity, you must have 10 reputation in order to embed an image. Below 10 reputation, you can only link to it.

  • 5
    For terminal output, I think it's safe to say we generally prefer text copy/paste it stead of a screenshot.
    – EEAA
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 12:06
  • @EEAA And since semi-transparent terminals seem to be popular among some people, a screenshot of a terminal can also potentially leak information unexpectedly. I have seen one user leak a list of usernames and passwords that way.
    – kasperd
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 8:36

At least as often as not, when I am answering a question, I am not doing the thing the person asking it is trying to do. I might even only be talking about theory, wherein there is nothing to take a screenshot of!

I don't really have time to set up test environments and go through processes just to get screenshots. I am usually explaining why something is so or telling people how I did something when last I did it, or explaining oblique documentation.

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