Taking a screenshot on your Windows PC has never been easier. With just a few simple keyboard shortcuts, you can quickly capture images of your screen to save for reference or share with others. In this article, we will explore the various methods to take screenshots using your keyboard on a Windows computer, whether you need an image of the entire screen, a specific window, or even a custom region.
Utilizing keyboard shortcuts is not only efficient, but it also eliminates the need for additional software to capture your screen. From built-in Windows tools to advanced settings, we will guide you through the process. By the end of this article, you will have a solid understanding of how to take perfectly timed screenshots using your Windows PC keyboard.
Taking a Screenshot on Windows PC
Taking screenshots on a Windows PC is simple and straightforward. There are several options to choose from when using your keyboard to capture what’s on your screen. In this section, we will cover three essential methods: the Print Screen button, specific window capture, and using the screen snip feature.
Keyboard: Print Screen Button
The easiest way to take a screenshot is by using the Print Screen (PrtSc or PrtScn) button on your keyboard. Pressing the Print Screen button will take a snapshot of your entire screen and store it temporarily in the clipboard. You can then paste the image into any image editing software, such as Paint or Microsoft Word:
- Press the Print Screen button.
- Open your preferred image editing software.
- Press Ctrl + V or select Paste from the Edit menu to insert the screenshot.
Remember that this method captures the whole screen, including all open windows and applications.
Specific Window: Alt + Print Screen
To capture a single, specific window on your screen, use the Alt + Print Screen keyboard shortcut. This method allows you to focus on a particular application, removing any unnecessary clutter from your screenshot:
- Click on the window you want to capture to bring it to focus.
- Press Alt + Print Screen.
- Open your preferred image editing software.
- Press Ctrl + V or select Paste from the Edit menu to insert the screenshot.
This method is handy for capturing only the relevant information and excluding any desktop or background distractions.
Screen Snip: Windows Key + Shift + S
In Windows 10 and Windows 11, there’s a built-in feature called Screen Snip that allows you to capture a custom area, a window, or the full screen. To use this feature, follow these steps:
- Press Windows Key + Shift + S. Your screen will dim, and a selection tool will appear.
- Choose the appropriate option: rectangular selection, freehand selection, window, or full-screen capture.
- Click and drag your cursor to select the desired area.
- Release your mouse button to capture the screenshot.
The resulting image will be stored in the clipboard like the previous methods. Open your preferred image editing software and paste the screenshot as before. The Screen Snip feature is convenient for capturing specific areas or irregularly-shaped sections of your screen.
By mastering these three essential keyboard shortcuts and techniques, you are now capable of taking screenshots in various situations on your Windows PC.
Saving and Editing Screenshots
Once you’ve taken a screenshot using the PrtScn key or the Fn key on your laptop, you can use the built-in Paint program to save and edit your screenshot. To do this, open Paint by searching for it in the taskbar. Once Paint is open, press
Ctrl + V to paste your screenshot, and use the editing tools available, such as crop or annotate, to make changes. When you’re satisfied with the outcome, press
Ctrl + S to save the image file as a PNG or another format of your choice.
Snip & Sketch
Another option for editing your screenshots is to use Snip & Sketch. To access Snip & Sketch, press
Windows key + Shift + S or find it in the list of apps from the taskbar. This tool provides more advanced editing features and makes it simple to annotate or crop your image directly. After making your desired edits, save the edited screenshot to your preferred location, such as the Pictures folder or Screenshots folder.
If you’d like to both save and automatically sync your screenshots with your OneDrive account, you can enable this feature in OneDrive settings. To do this, right-click the OneDrive icon in your taskbar, select “Settings,” and find the option to save screenshots and screen recordings. Once enabled, your screenshots will be saved in the OneDrive\Screenshots folder in PNG format when you press the PrtScn key.
With these methods, saving and editing your screenshots on your Windows PC becomes a straightforward process. Whether you choose Paint, Snip & Sketch, or OneDrive, you have the power to capture and make changes to your screenshots with ease.
Selecting and Capturing Different Types of Screenshots
Taking a screenshot on a Windows PC using your keyboard can be accomplished with ease. In this section, we will cover various types of screenshots you can capture using built-in tools in Windows. We will look into Rectangular Snip, Freeform Snip, Window Snip, and Full-Screen Snip.
A rectangular snip allows you to capture a specific area of your screen by selecting a rectangular region. To achieve this, press
Windows + Shift + S to open up the Snipping Tool. Click and drag your cursor to select the area you want to capture. The screenshot will be copied to your clipboard, and you can paste it into an image editor or document to save it. With this method, you have more control over the portion of the screen you want to capture in Windows 10.
Freeform snip enables you to capture irregularly shaped areas on your screen. Again, press
Windows + Shift + S to open the Snipping Tool. Choose the freehand selection tool from the toolbar, and then click and drag your cursor to create a custom shape around the area you want to capture. The freeform snip can be useful when capturing elements that do not fit neatly within a rectangular region.
Window snip allows you to capture an entire active window without the need to select it manually. To use this option, open the Snipping Tool by pressing
Windows + Shift + S. Choose the window capture option from the toolbar. After selecting this tool, hover over the desired window, and click on it to capture the whole window. This method is perfect for capturing just one specific window or app on your screen.
The full-screen snip captures the entire screen, including all visible windows and elements. To take a full-screen screenshot, simply press the
PrtSc (Print Screen) key on your keyboard. The screenshot will be saved to the Screenshots folder within the Pictures folder by default. Alternatively, you can use the full-screen capture option in the Snipping Tool (
Windows + Shift + S) to achieve the same result.
By using these different types of snips, you can capture any portion of your screen on your Windows PC effectively. Remember that the Snipping Tool is a valuable resource, and by using the appropriate keyboard shortcuts, you can quickly and easily take screenshots for various uses.
Screenshot Options for Older Windows Versions
When it comes to taking screenshots on older versions of Windows, the methods vary across Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. In this section, we’ll discuss the different ways to capture images on each of these operating systems.
In Windows 7, you can easily take a screenshot with the Snipping Tool. To access this tool, follow these steps:
- Click the Start button, then type “snipping tool” in the search box.
- Select the Snipping Tool from the search results.
With the Snipping Tool, you can capture your entire screen, a specific window, or a custom region. Just select the desired mode and start capturing. Save your screenshot by clicking File > Save As.
Alternatively, you can press the Print Screen (PrtScn) key on your keyboard to capture the entire screen. The image will be copied to your clipboard, and you can paste it into an image-editing program like Microsoft Paint.
For Windows Vista users, the process is quite similar to Windows 7. Use the Snipping Tool as described above to take screenshots of your screen or specific windows.
If you’d rather use the keyboard shortcut, press Print Screen (PrtScn) to capture the entire screen, or hold down the Alt key and then press Print Screen to capture the current active window. In either case, paste the captured image into an image editor like Paint, and save the file.
In Windows XP, the Snipping Tool is not available. However, you can still use the Print Screen method:
- Press the Print Screen (PrtScn) key to capture the entire screen.
- To capture only the active window, hold down the Alt key and then press Print Screen.
Once you’ve captured the desired image, open an image-editing program like Paint, paste the screenshot, and save the file.
Remember that these screenshot options are perfect for quickly capturing images on older Windows versions like Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. With these methods, you’ll be able to easily document important information or share visuals with others.
Advanced Screenshot Options
Using the Game Bar
The Xbox Game Bar is a handy tool built into Windows that provides quick access to gaming features, and it can be used to take screenshots as well. To open the Game Bar, press the
Windows + G keyboard shortcut. You will see a variety of useful widgets, including a section for capturing screenshots.
To take a screenshot with the Game Bar, follow these steps:
- Open the window you want to capture.
Windows + Gto open the Game Bar.
- Click on the Capture widget (it looks like a camera icon).
- Click on the screenshot button or press
Win + Alt + PrtScshortcut to capture the screenshot.
The screenshots taken with the Game Bar will be saved to your default
Taking Screenshots with Snagit
Snagit is a popular third-party screenshot tool that offers advanced screenshot and editing options. Although not free, Snagit has a 15-day free trial so you can test its features before committing to a purchase.
To take screenshots with Snagit, follow these steps:
- Download and install Snagit from the official website.
- Open Snagit by clicking on its icon from your applications list.
- Select the Capture mode by clicking on the “Capture” button in the Snagit app window.
- Choose your desired capture method from the menu that appears. You can select from options like “Region,” “Window,” or “Fullscreen.”
- Capture the screenshot by clicking and dragging your cursor to select the area or by clicking the window you want to capture.
Your captured screenshot will automatically open in the Snagit Editor, where you can perform further editing, add annotations, and save it to your desired location.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the keyboard shortcut for taking a screenshot in Windows 10?
In Windows 10, you can take a screenshot by pressing the Windows key + PrtScn. This will capture the entire screen and save the image in the Screenshots folder inside your Pictures folder. Alternatively, you can use Windows Key + Shift + S to access the Snipping Tool, which allows you to capture specific areas or individual windows. For more information, check this Microsoft Support article.
How can I take a screenshot on a Windows 11 PC using the keyboard?
Taking a screenshot on Windows 11 is similar to Windows 10. You can use the Windows key + PrtScn to capture the entire screen, or use Windows Key + Shift + S to launch the Snip & Sketch tool, allowing you to select specific areas for capture. You can find more about this in this OnMSFT article.
What are the shortcut keys to screenshot on a Windows 7 computer?
On a Windows 7 PC, you can press the PrtScn button to capture the entire screen. The screenshot will be copied to your clipboard, and you can paste it into a program like Paint or Word to save the image. Alternatively, you can use the Snipping Tool by searching for it in the Start menu, which allows for more screenshot options.
How can I capture a screenshot using a laptop’s keyboard?
On a laptop, you may need to press the Function (Fn) key along with the PrtScn button to take a screenshot. In some cases, you might need to combine the Fn key with the Windows logo key + PrtScn or the Windows logo key + Spacebar. Check your laptop’s manual for specific instructions.
Is there a keyboard alternative to the Print Screen button?
If your keyboard lacks a Print Screen button or it’s not working, you can use Windows Key + Shift + S to access the Snipping Tool in Windows 10 and 11. This will let you capture the entire screen, specific windows, or custom areas. Alternatively, you can use a third-party screenshot program that provides customizable hotkeys.
What are some common ways to take screenshots on a Windows PC?
Some common methods for taking screenshots on a Windows PC include using the PrtScn button, the Windows key + PrtScn shortcut, the Snipping Tool, the Snip & Sketch tool (Windows Key + Shift + S), or the Game Bar (Windows + G) for capturing in-game content. The best option depends on your specific needs and the version of Windows you’re using.