Screenshots are some of the essential features for computer users. They make it easy to share your screen and save a copy for future reference. Try taking a picture of your screen using your phone, and you will realize that screenshots are heaven-sent.

Fortunately, Windows has built-in features for taking screenshots, a capability it has had since the 1980s. Learning to take, save and share screenshots can ensure you make the most of this feature. So, keep reading to learn how to take screenshots on Windows.

Use the Print Screen Button

The print screen button is the easiest way to take screenshots when using Windows 10 or 11. It’s found on the upper right side of the keyboard and is mainly abbreviated as prt sc or something similar. Pressing prt sc screenshots the entire screen.  

If no screenshot is saved after pressing prt sc, try pressing fn+prt scr, as some computers need you to press fn to activate the print screen. 

Screenshots in Windows 10 are saved in the clipboard after you press the print screen button. In this case, you will need to open a program allowing images to paste and save screenshots. Microsoft Word, Google Word, Microsoft Paint, and Photoshop have a paste function

On the other hand, when using Windows 11, your screenshot automatically saves on the screenshot folder after pressing prt sc. You can open file explorer and click on pictures to open the screenshot. Alternatively, enable it to save on one drive. Before pressing the print screen, ensure there are no distractions on the screen.

Windows Logo + Print Screen

Pressing the Windows and print screen keys together takes a screenshot and automatically saves it. When you press the two keys, the screen briefly goes dim. 

In Windows 10, the screenshot is saved in the screenshot folder on your computer. On Windows 11, the screenshot is saved in the screenshot folder and on the clipboard. This way, you can automatically paste it where you need it. 

Press the two keys simultaneously when using Windows and prt sc to screenshot. If your screen does not dim, some disabled display updates on your computer might be disabled. You can confirm in the screenshot folder to see whether the screenshot was captured. 

Alt + Print Screen

The alt + print screen keys capture a screenshot of only the active window. When using Windows 10, the screenshot is copied to the clipboard, and you must paste and save it. For Windows 11, the screenshot is saved in screenshots and copied to the clipboard. 

Use the Snipping Tool to Capture

The snipping tool is best if you intend to customize and share your screenshot. The tool allows four different types of snips which are:

  • Rectangular snip – form a rectangle shape around the part you want to screenshot 
  • Free-form – draw a free-form shape around an object
  • Window snip – select the window you expect to capture, for instance, a dialogue box 
  • Full-screen snip – grab the whole screen

Screenshots taken using this method are copied to the snipping tool. On this tool, you can open the screenshot, customize, save and share.

1. Open the snipping tool on Windows 10

2. Select the type of tool to use 

After opening the snipping tool, a new window appears with tool options,

3. Set a time delay for your screenshots

Next to mode, there is a delay option that allows you to set the time after which you expect to take the screenshot. The delay helps you remove tooltips and popup menus before taking the screenshot. 

Click on new when you are ready to capture the screenshot. The screen fades, and the cursor turns into a cross. If you set the delay, the screen fades after the selected seconds. The tool then takes the screenshot based on the chosen snip type. 

If you select a free-form snip, you will click and drag the cursor to draw your desired shape. The screenshot takes after you release the right click. For the rectangular snip, click and drag to create a rectangle around the space you expect to screenshot. If you have the Windows snip, you will click on the Windows you want to make a screenshot of, and for the full-screen snip, you take a screenshot of the whole screen. 

4. Modify the screenshot

After you take the screenshot, you can use the pen or highlighter option to edit it. These edit options help you focus attention on a specific part of the screenshot. 

You can save or share the screenshot by clicking on file.

Screenshotting Using the Snip and Sketch Tool

The snip and sketch tool is wisely used for snipping images. It is also ideal for customizing your screenshots.

1. Search, snip and sketch on your search bar

Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Windows+shift+S. 

If you manually opened the snip and sketch tool, click on new to get the screenshot menu.

2. Select the screenshot option

After activating snip and sketch, your screen dims, and you get a menu to select the screenshot option you intend to use.

You can select whether you want to use the freeform snip, rectangular snip, full-screen snip, or Windows snip. Drag through the area where you want to screenshot, and the screenshot captures when you release the mouse. You may also get a notification on the right corner of your screen (the notification panel) after taking the screenshot. Click on the notification and open the snip and sketch tool screenshot. 

This tool has several features you can use to modify the screenshot, such as a highlighter, ballpen point, pencil, ruler, and eraser. You can also crop the screenshot to remove unwanted parts. When your screenshot is ready, there are options to copy, save or share at the right corner of the screen. 

Take Screenshots Using the Game Bar Option

The game bar screen capture method lets you take screenshots and record video and gameplay footage.

1. Open the screen you want to capture, then press Windows+G 

Pressing Windows + G buttons is helpful in taking screenshots of full-screen PC games.

2. Click on the camera icon to take a screenshot

By doing so, the screenshot is saved as a PNG file under videos. 

You can also record videos using the game bar option. To do this, open the video that you want to record. Ensure there is no possibility of getting any other audio from other running apps. The recording will capture all sounds, both internal and external. 

3. Click on Windows key+G to open the Game Bar

Turn on the microphone button to add any external recording to the video.

4. Click on the record option to start recording

You can also record the video by clicking on Windows+Alt+R.

5. Click on the stop button on the recording menu

The stop button can be found in the right corner of your screen.

You get a Game Clip Recorded notification at the lower right corner of your screen. Click on the notification to get the video you recorded under the ‘captured’ folder or in file explorer under the screenshot folder. 

Use Third-Party Apps to Capture the Screenshot

Third-party apps are software you can install on your PC to complement Windows screenshot tools. They have better screenshot features, such as sharing between different apps and capturing scrolling screens. Some of these third-party screenshot features that you can use include: 

Lightshot is a free screenshot tool you can install on Windows. The tool offers an easy and fast way to create and customize screenshots. You can download the app on Windows instead of other screenshot tools. 

Snagit is a screenshot tool that offers free and premium versions. The cost of the premium option starts from $62, based on the features you use. It also allows you to add content to the screenshot and share it. Additionally, they have a screen recorder that allows one to record through the steps quickly. You can save your recorded videos as animated GIFs or as an MP4

Greenshot – the screenshot tool allows you to capture and customize screenshots. Download the Windows version of the app and use it to take screenshots and use customizing features that may not be available in other built-in apps.

Screenshots are a straightforward method to capture what you have on your screen for future reference. Windows provides different apps and techniques that you can use to take screenshots based on the screenshots that you need and whether you need to customize them. You can also download third-party apps such as Lightshot, Shagit, or Greenshot and use them to take screenshots on your computer. 

Up Next 

How to Screenshot on Windows FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How do I take screenshots if I do not have a print screen key?

If your keyboard does not have a print screen key, you can press the Fn+ Windows logo+ Space bar. This is an alternative method for taking screenshots on Windows.

Which is the easiest method of taking screenshots on a PC?

The easiest method of taking screenshots is by using the print screen button. After pressing the print screen, you can open another app where you can paste (ctrl+V) and save the screenshot. If you want to automatically save the screenshot, press the Windows logo key+ prt sc to save the shot.

How do you take a screenshot with a Microsoft Surface device?

If you have a Microsoft Surface device, you take the screenshot by pressing the power button and then the volume up button. This briefly dims your screen, and the screenshot is saved in the screenshot folder.

Where are screenshots saved after pressing the print screen?

After pressing the print screen, screenshots are saved in your clipboard. You will need to paste the picture in either Microsoft Word or Microsoft paint to save the screenshot on your device. However, if using Windows 11, the screenshot automatically saves to the screenshot folder after you press print screen.

How can you change where screenshots are saved?

To change where screenshots are saved, open the screenshots properties window and go to the location tab. Click on the move tab to set a new location. Select a new destination in the Select a Destination Window. Click apply, then okay to save and apply the changes.

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  • Microsoft Support Available here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/use-snipping-tool-to-capture-screenshots-00246869-1843-655f-f220-97299b865f6b#:~:text=Press%20Ctrl%20%2B%20PrtScn%20keys.,that%20you%20want%20to%20capture.
  • Business Insider (1970) https://www.businessinsider.com/guides/tech/how-to-screenshot-on-windows?r=US&IR=T#power-+-volume-up
  • wikiHow Available here: https://www.wikihow.com/Take-a-Screenshot-in-Microsoft-Windows
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  • CNET Available here: https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/taking-screenshots-is-easy-on-windows-10-and-11-heres-how/
  • PCMag Available here: https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/how-to-take-screenshots-in-windows-10