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How to Take a Screenshot on a Windows PC

Taking a screenshot is a quick and easy way to capture what’s happening on your screen in a single image. These screenshot images can be used to show someone else a specific problem with your computer, or to save an image that you found on a webpage, or a receipt you received in an email. Here’s how to take a screenshot on a Windows PC.

How to Take a Screenshot on Windows Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Here are all the different ways to take a screenshot on your Windows PC using keyboard shortcuts:

  • Press the “Print Screen” key to copy an image of your whole screen. This button (which is also labeled “PrtSc” or “Print Scr” on some keyboards) is located on the top row on most keyboards. More specifically, it is usually located just after the “F12” key.

    This method will only save a copy of your screen image to the clipboard. If you want to save your screenshot, you will have to open an application like Word or Paint and paste the image using the Ctrl + V keys.

    You can then save the image by clicking “File” and then “Save” from the dropdown menu of the application. Choose a name, location, and format for your image. Press Save when done.

    Note: Depending on what version of Windows you are using, and what kind of keyboard you have, these shortcuts might be different. For example, if you’re using a laptop, your PrtScn key might do more than just take screenshots. In order to take a screenshot on a laptop, you might also need to press the “Function” key (usually labeled as Fn).

  • Press the Windows Logo + PrtScn keys to save an image of your whole screen. You’ll know that you have taken a screenshot when you see your screen flash.

    This method will automatically save an image of your entire screen to your computer and the clipboard. You can then find your saved image by opening File Explorer and going to ThisPC\Pictures. You can also find this folder under the file path: C:\Users\YOUR USER NAME\OneDrive\Pictures.

  • Press the Alt + PrtScn keys to copy a screenshot of your current window.

    This method will only save a copy of the current window you are using to the clipboard. For example, if you are surfing the web while typing something in MS Word, you can click on your internet browser and take a screenshot of just that window (and not Word). If you want to save your screenshot, you will have to open an application like Paint and paste the image there using the Ctrl + V keys. You can then save the image by clicking “File” and then “Save” from the dropdown menu.

  • Press Windows + Shift + S to copy a screenshot of a specific area. When you press these keys at the same time you will see your screen go dark and your mouse pointer will turn into a cross.

    In order to take a screenshot with this method, use your mouse to click and drag a box around the portion of the screen that you want to capture. Once you have the image that you want inside the box, release the mouse button to save the image to your clipboard.

    Again, you will have to open an application like Paint and paste the image there using the Ctrl + V keys. You can then save the image by clicking “File” and then “Save” from the dropdown menu.

    Note: This method will work only if you are running Windows 10 in your PC computer.

How to Take a Screenshot Using the Snipping Tool

If you don’t like using keyboard shortcuts, you can try using the Snipping Tool application that came with your computer. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Snipping Tool in your start menu. You can find the Snipping Tool in your applications menu under “Windows Accessories” or by typing “snipping tool” in the Start Menu search box. 
  2. Click “Mode” to choose how you want to capture your screenshot.
    • Rectangular Snip will let you draw a box around the image you want to capture.
    • Free-form Snip will let you capture any part of the screen you draw around.
    • Window Snip will capture any window you choose.
    • Full-screen Snip will capture the entire screen.
  3. Click “New” to take a screenshot.
  4. Click “Save Snip” to save your image to a location of your choosing.

Check out our ultimate guide to Windows keyboards shortcuts to see all the other cool things you can do with your keyboard.

Updated on December 6, 2019

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