HOW TO TAKE A SCREENSHOT ON A WINDOWS PC OR LAPTOP
A Step by Step Guide
There was a time when the PrtScn (Print Screen) key was the only way to take screenshots in Windows.
Screenshot, also known as snapshot or screengrab, is an image file that displays the content of your computer screen at the time of the click. What is a screenshot and its uses?
If you are in a hurry, you can follow the steps below to quickly take a screenshot on your Windows PC:
On some laptops/notebooks, you will have to hold the Function Key (Fn) and then press the Print Screen button.
As new Windows versions got introduced, users got more than one option to take a screenshot alongside various additional features. If you have upgraded your system to Windows 10 and want to know how to make the most of the screenshot feature in the latest version of the operating system, read on.
Here, we are going to put down a detailed yet simple guide on how to take a screenshot in Windows 10.
Table of Contents
There are four different ways to take a screenshot in Windows 10:
1. PrtScn Key
2. Snipping Tool
3. Snip & Sketch Tool
4. Game Bar
1. PrtScn Key (Print Screen)
Let’s start with the classic option of taking a screenshot: the PrtScn key. Many people know using the Print Screen key only one way. Pressing the PrtScn key gets a copy of the taken screenshot on the clipboard, so you can paste it in different applications, like Paint, Word, PPT files, etc. However, there are two more ways to use the PrtScn key for screenshots. Let’s see how they work one at a time.
1.1 Using PrtScn Key for Capturing Screen on the Clipboard.
This input will take the screenshot of the entire screen, including all the opened Windows, and copy it on the clipboard. From there, you can paste it on an image editing application/software.
1.2 Using PrtScn Key for Taking Screenshot and Saving It to a File.
If you want to take a screenshot but want to save it as a standalone file instead of saving it on the clipboard, then press PrtScn + Windows keys on the keyboard.
The file will be saved in the sub-folder Screenshots in Pictures automatically.
1.3 Using PrtScn to Capture Active Windows.
If you have multiple windows open and you only want to capture the active window (the one on the forefront), you can do it by pressing PrtScn + Alt keys.
2. Snipping Tool
The snipping tool was around since 2002. However, it became popular with Windows 7. It is a built-in application in Windows that lets you ‘snip’ a portion of the screen you are looking at. The Snipping Tool also allows you to save the screenshot as an image file and copy it on the clipboard. You can also export the screenshot directly to your email.
You also get a couple of editing features with the Snipping Tool. You can highlight parts of the screenshot with a highlighter and also use a pen to underline or circle things. An eraser is also given to edit the use of highlighter and pen. Microsoft has also introduced some additional features in the Snipping Tool for Windows 10 that we will explore below.
Using the Snipping Tool in Windows 10 is pretty simple.
1. Click the “Windows” button present at the extreme left on the bottom of the screen.
2. A search bar will appear. Type “Snipping Tool” there. Click on the tool that will appear in the bar.
Modes of Capturing
Earlier, users could only snip in a rectangular shape. Users had to draw a rectangle around the part of the screen you want to capture. In Windows 10, you get these options besides rectangular snip.
Window snip: To capture a particular window by clicking on it
Free-form snip: Draw around the part of the screen that you wish to capture
Full-screen snip: Captures the whole screen (just as PrtScn button would do)
In the earlier versions of the Snipping Tool, you have to snip the screenshot as soon as you click the New button. This non-delay entails some back and forth when you are using more than one window and tabs. Now, you get to keep up to five seconds of delay between clicking the New and taking the snippet.
After the chosen delay, the screen will appear dim, and you can select the snipping option you want to use. Once you take the screenshot, it appears within the window of the Snipping Tool. You can edit it (through highlighter, pen, and eraser), and save it as an image file in your preferred format and at your preferred disk location.
An easy, step by step guide on how to use Snipping Tool.
Important Note: Microsoft is mulling over removing the Snipping Tool from the future Windows versions.
3. Snip & Sketch Tool
Snip & Sketch Tool is pretty similar to the Snipping Tool, except here you get a longer time delay (10 seconds). Click the Windows button and search for Snip & Sketch.
The use of Snip & Sketch more or less follows the same steps as the Snipping Tool.
1. Click the down arrow button (circled in Blue).
2. Click the “New” button and choose the time delay.
3. When the time delay ends, the screen will get dim (just like the Snipping Tool), and the below panel will appear from where you can choose the snipping option.
- Rectangular snip
- Free-form snip
- Full-screen Snip
- Cancel (This option gets you out of the capture mode)
Once you take the screenshot via using the chosen snipping option, you can save it on your computer, just like the Snipping Tool. Snip & Sketch is better than Snipping Tool because here, you get more editing options like sketching, labeling, and drawing. If you are a regular Windows 10 user who has to take a lot of screenshots, it is better to get yourself accustomed to Skip and Sketch since the Snipping tool is being phased out gradually.
An easy, step by step guide on how to use Microsoft’s Snip & Sketch in Windows 10
4. Game Bar
Game Bar is a built-in app in Windows 10 that is particularly designed for gamers to improve their gaming experience. It also lets you broadcast video games and take screenshots of the gameplay. If you are in the middle of a game, hit the Windows + G keys to summon the Game Bar. You can use the Screenshot button at the bar to capture the full screen.
Taking a screenshot on Windows 10 has become easier and more layered with all the different methods we have discussed. For most of your screenshot needs in Windows 10, we would recommend you to use the Snip & Sketch tool.
Now that you know how to take a screenshot on a Windows PC, here are some easy to understand tips that will assist with capturing a screen efficiently:
How to Take a Screenshot with High Resolution Quality in Windows 10
How to Use Microsoft Word’s Built-in Screenshot Tool
How to Change Print Screen Screenshots Folder Location in Windows?
Screenshot on Windows Laptops and Tablet
Taking a screenshot on any Windows device is quite similar, however the articles below provide specific information for how to take a screenshot on these listed devices:
How to Take a Screenshot on HP Laptops and Desktops in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10
How to Take a Screenshot on Dell Laptops, Desktops and Tablets in Windows 7-8-10
How to Take a Screenshot on Lenovo Laptops and Tablet in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10
How to Take a Screenshot on Toshiba Laptops in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10
How to Take a Screenshot on ASUS Laptops in Windows
Screenshot Software Reviews
If you don’t want to use the built-in screen-capturing tools of Windows due to their limited features and capabilities, you now have access to a list of free and paid third-party software applications that offer more features and better use. We have tested and reviewed a number of popular screen capturing tools, so you can find the right software that fits your need.
TechSmith Snagit Review (2022): Screen Capture Software (Free Trial)
PicPick Review (2022): Screen Capture Tool (Free and Paid)
Greenshot Review (2022): Free Screen Capture Tool
ShareX Review (2022): Free Screen Capture & Recording Software
Lightshot Review (2022): Free Tool to Take Screenshots in Windows and Chrome
Screenpresso Review (2022): Download Free Screen Capture Tool
Apowersoft Screen Capture Pro Review (2022)
Awesome Screenshot Review (2022): Chrome App Extension
Nimbus Screenshot Review (2022): Screen Capture & Video Recorder
Snipaste Review (2022): Free Portable Screen Capture App
Full Page Screen Capture Review (2022): Chrome Extension
Screenshot Captor Review (2022)
FastStone Capture Review (2022)
TechSmith Capture (Jing) Review (2022): Free Screenshot Software
Gadwin PrintScreen Review (2022): Screen Capture Software
MWSnap Review (2022): Screenshot Tool