How to Take a Screenshot on Your Microsoft Surface Device

Microsoft Surface Pro with its adjustable kickstand reclined on the top of the desk.

Microsoft has merged the portability of laptops/tablets and the performance of desktops in its Surface devices. This versatility is the reason why people use various terms to describe Microsoft device— a touch-screen based personal computers, 2-in-1 detachable notebooks, hybrid tablets, or interactive whiteboards.

This portable computing device has gained a lot of popularity and reputation in a very short time. Whether you are a digital illustrator or an on-the-go freelancer, you will love the form and functionality Microsoft Surface offers.

However, if you were using a laptop or desktop for the longest time and have switched to the Surface just now, you may struggle in executing some commands and functions on it, e.g., taking a screenshot.  You can take screenshots on your Microsoft Surface device using different methods no matter which generation and model you are using.

Here, we are going to discuss all those methods. We will illustrate these methods and their examples for the latest Surface Pro since it is the most popular model out there. Moreover, these methods remain the same across the entire line of Microsoft Surface devices, with few exceptions that we will discuss in the article.

Without any further delay, let’s see how you can take snapshots on your Microsoft Surface device.

How to Take Screenshot on a Microsoft Surface Device

There are five ways to take screenshots on the Microsoft Device:

1. Taking Screenshot on Microsoft Surface with Keyboard

If you have bought Microsoft Surface with all its accessories, including its Signature Type Cover (includes keyboard), you can take screenshots just like you do on regular desktops and laptops that have Windows Operating System installed.

Taking Screenshot of Entire Screen

Print Screen Button on Microsoft Surface Type Cover Keyboard
  • Press the “PrtScn” button on the top row of the keyboard (circled in green) and release it.
  • The entire screen will be copied on the clipboard.  
  • Use paste command to furnish the screenshot in your preferred program and location (PowerPoint, Word, etc.)

Taking Screenshot of Active Window

Print Screen and Alt Button to capture active screen on Microsoft Surface.

If you have many windows opened on the screen and only want to capture the image of the active window (the one that is in the front and you are working on at the moment), then:

  • First, press the “Alt” key on the last row of the keyboard (circled in yellow), and press the “PrtScn” key simultaneously. Keep in mind that you have to keep holding the “Alt” and release the “PrtScn” key.
  • Only the active window will be copied on the clipboard. 
  • Use paste command to furnish the captured active window in your preferred program and location.

2. Taking Screenshot on Microsoft Surface without Keyboard

If you don’t have the Type Cover, you can take a screenshot on your Surface device by pressing the power button and volume up buttons simultaneously.

Image of Microsoft Surface indicating Power and Volume Button
  • Press and hold the power button (circled in green)
  • While holding the power button, press the “up” part of the volume button (circled in yellow)

The screen goes dim for a moment to indicate that a screenshot has been taken. If you are using your Surface device in tablet mode, this screenshot short cut will come in handy.


In earlier versions of Surface and Surface Pro (3 and lower), you have to press and hold the Windows button given on the front and simultaneously press and release the volume down button to take the screenshot. 

3. Taking Screenshot on Microsoft Surface with Snipping Tool

If you want a screenshot of a particular section of the screen and after a certain delay, you can use the Snipping Tool available in your Microsoft Surface.  We are going to outline the use of the Snipping Tool from the start to the end.

  1. First, click the “Windows” button present at the extreme left on the bottom of the screen.
  2. A search bar will appear
  3. Type “Snipping Tool” there
  4. As you complete typing, the tool will appear in the bar
  5. Tap on it
Searching for Snipping Tool

The snipping tool is more versatile than the methods discussed earlier since it doesn’t restrict you to capture the full screen or an active window only. You can select and snip any part of the screen in rectangular or any free form shape.

Snipping Tool also fares better because you can have a delay between giving the screenshot command and getting the capture. With PrtScn and power/volume buttons, you get an instant screenshot. Having a delay of up to five seconds in the Snipping Tool allows you to sort out your screen before taking its snapshot.

4. Taking Screenshot on Your Microsoft Surface Using Snip & Sketch Tool

Snip & Sketch is an upgrade to Snipping Tool. Its user interface is more detailed, and you get a longer capturing delay (up to 10 seconds) here. It also allows you to take screenshots with rectangular and free-form snips.

There is a keyboard shortcut for using Snip & Sketch Tool more quickly.

  • Press and hold the Windows and Shift buttons and simultaneously press the S button once.
  • It will open the clipping pan of the Snip & Sketch tool.
  • You can use the tool to edit, crop, and customize the screenshot and save it.

5. Using Snip & Sketch through Pen

Surface Pen doesn’t just let you easily navigate and illustrate but also helps with capturing the screen. If you are using the updated Windows 10 version on your Surface device, you can use Snip & Sketch (earlier called Screen Sketch) by double-tapping the eraser button of the Surface Pen (given on the top).

As soon as you double-tap, the screenshot is taken, and an edit bar is popped up on the right side of the window that allows you to edit, crop, and save the captured image.


As you can see, there are more than enough ways to take screenshots on a Microsoft Surface device.  From the classic PrtScn key to smartphone-like two-button press, you have many options for taking screenshots in Surface machines.

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