Do you use Windows and need to take a screenshot quickly? Are you having trouble with the PrtScn key not working? Do you want to take a screenshot of the active window instead of the entire screen? Or maybe you want to take a free screenshot of a specific part of the screen? Or maybe you are playing a game in Windows and want to capture your achievements with a screenshot? There are tons of Windows apps, paid or free, that take screenshots. Before installing any other app, make sure you’re familiar with the whole range of screenshot options already available in Windows:
NOTE: This guide applies to ALL modern versions of Windows: Windows 10, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1. If a method only works in one or two of these operating systems, we highlight it appropriately.
1. Use the keyboard shortcut: PrtScn (Print Screen) or CTRL + PrtScn
The first method is also the best known and works in all versions of Windows: on your keyboard, press the PrtScn (Print Screen) key or CTRL + PrtScn keys. Windows takes a screenshot of the entire screen and saves it to the clipboard. Then open an image editing program such as Paint and paste the image from the clipboard. You can now save it as a file and do basic editing.
2. Use the shortcut: Windows + PrtScn
To take a screenshot of the entire screen and save it as a file on your hard drive, without using any other tools, Press Windows + PrtScn on your keyboard.
Windows saves the screenshot in the picture library in the Screenshots folder. The file is called “Screenshot (number) .png,” with the number varying based on how many screenshots you have taken.
In Windows 10, you can also find your screenshots using the Photos app by going to “Folders -> Pictures -> Screenshots.”
In addition to creating the screenshot file, Windows will also place a copy of the screenshot on the clipboard.
3. Use the shortcut: Alt + PrtScn
You can also take screenshots of the active window. Open the window you want to capture and press Alt + PrtScn on your keyboard. The screenshot is saved to the clipboard. Open Paint or any other photo editing app and paste the image so that you can edit it and save it to your Windows computer or device.
If you have a laptop, tablet, or keyboard with the Fn key, do this instead of the first three methods:
The first three methods should work perfectly on desktop computers with Windows or on Windows devices with a standard keyboard. However, if you have a laptop or convertible device with an Fn key, the PrtScn key does other things, too, not just taking screenshots. Therefore, Windows does not take a screenshot when you press the shortcut keys containing the PrtScn key. Instead, use one of the following:
· Fn + PrtScn – takes a screenshot of the entire screen and copies it to the clipboard. It is the equivalent of pressing the standard PrtScn key.
· Fn + Windows + PrtScn – takes a screenshot of the entire screen and saves it as a file on the hard drive, without using any other tools. Windows saves the screenshot in the picture library in the Screenshots folder. It’s the same as pressing Windows + PrtScn on a standard keyboard.
· Fn + Alt + PrtScn – takes a screenshot of the active window. It’s the equivalent of pressing Alt + PrtScn on a standard keyboard.
On some keyboards, the PrtScn button may not perform two or more actions. However, it won’t work until you hit the Fn Lock key. On such keyboards, the Fn key acts as a lockout for the function and multimedia keys on the top, including the Print Screen key.
If you have such a keyboard, press the Fn key to unlock the top row of keys and use the keyboard shortcuts we described in the first three sections of this article. They should work now.
If you have a Surface Pro tablet from Microsoft with Windows 10, you will have to use several keyboard shortcuts, as there is no PrtScn key on the Type Cover. Instead, Microsoft provides the following Surface device-specific shortcuts for Windows 10:
· Fn + Spacebar – This shortcut will save an image of your current screen to the clipboard so you can paste it into any application. It is the equivalent of pressing the standard PrtScn key.
· Fn + Alt + Spacebar – this shortcut saves a screenshot of the active window to the clipboard, so you can paste it into any application. It’s the equivalent of pressing the shortcut Alt + PrtScn.
4. Use the keyboard shortcut: Windows + Shift + S (Windows 10 only)
Suppose you are using Windows 10, press Windows + Shift + S to capture part of your screen, and copy it to your clipboard. After pressing Windows + Shift + S, the screen will dim, and a cursor will appear, which you can use to draw on the screen the area you want to capture in a screenshot. Press the left mouse button, draw the area you want to capture, and release the mouse button. If you have a touchscreen, draw the area you want to capture with your finger (or pen) on the screen.
The screenshot is saved to the clipboard. Open Paint or any other photo editing app and paste the screenshot so you can edit and save it. This feature was originally part of OneNote but has been added to Windows 10 itself, which is excellent.
5. Use the Snipping Tool
The Snipping Tool is a great desktop app for taking screenshots. It can take all kinds of screenshots, and you can also use it to do some light editing. Search for the words ‘snipping tool’ in the Start menu search box (if you’re using Windows 10 or Windows 7) or on the Start screen (if you’re using Windows 8.1) and click or tap the appropriate search result.
6. Use the Snip & Sketch app (Windows 10 only)
Starting with October 2018 Update, Windows 10 will be releasing a new app meant to replace the Snipping Tool. For now, the two apps are both available in Windows 10. Snip & Sketch adds new features and, as the name suggests, focuses on modifying (sketching) the screenshots after you take them. Snip & Sketch has more than one method of taking screenshots.
The first is to hit the New button in the Snip & Sketch app or CTRL + N keyboard shortcut:
Snip & Sketch offers three options to take a screenshot: rectangular, shape-free, and full screen.
After the screenshot has been taken, Snip & Sketch will open an editing window ready to further process the screenshot. You can read more about how to work with it here: How to Use Snip & Sketch to Take Screenshots in Windows 10.
7. Take screenshots on a Surface tablet or another Windows tablet
If you have a Windows tablet, such as a Microsoft Surface, HP ENVY, or a Lenovo Tablet 10, and you are using it without a keyboard connected, the PrtScn key is not available. The best solution is to use the hardware buttons on your tablet. On most (if not all) Windows tablets, you can take full-screen screenshots by pressing the Windows logo and the Volume Down key simultaneously.
You will see the screen getting darker when you do this. It indicates that a screenshot has been taken. You can find the screenshot in your Pictures library, in the Screenshots folder. Keep in mind that Snip & Sketch has a good UI for touchscreens and is a good option for Windows 10 tablets.
8. Use the keyboard shortcut: Windows + Alt + PrtScn (only starting with Windows 10 Creators Update)
In Windows 10, Microsoft introduced the Game Bar that can be used when playing all kinds of games. You can read more about it here: What is the game mode and how do you use it in Windows 10? One of the things you can do with this Game Bar is to take screenshots of the active game window. While playing a game, press the Windows + Alt + PrtScn keys , and a screenshot will be automatically taken and saved to your Windows 10 computer or device. You can also open the Game Bar by pressing Windows + G and then clicking or tapping the “Take Screenshot” button highlighted below.
The screenshot is saved in your video library, in the Recordings folder. The file name contains the name of the game you are playing and the date and time the screenshot was taken.
9. Take screenshots with the Share charm (Windows 8.1 only)
Windows 8.1 has improved the Windows 8 Charms concept and they can also be used to take and share screenshots. This guide explains how they work: Introducing Windows 8.1: Sharing screenshots from any app.
Which Method Do You Like Most For Taking Screenshots In Windows?
As you can see, there are many ways to take screenshots in Windows. Unless you have complex needs, you can use the built-in tools and functions without having to install third-party apps for this task. You will get the same results, and it only takes a little effort. Before closing this tutorial, tell us about your favorite way to take screenshots in Windows. Comment below and let’s discuss.