How to Screenshot on Windows

Screenshots play a vital role in capturing and preserving visual information displayed on your Windows computer screen. Whether you need to capture an error message, save an important document, or share an interesting image, knowing how to take a screenshot on Windows is an essential skill.

A screenshot, also known as a screen capture, allows you to capture a static image of the content visible on your computer screen at a specific moment. It enables you to save and share what you see, including applications, web pages, documents, or any other visual element on your screen.

Screenshots serve a wide range of purposes, such as creating instructional guides, documenting software issues, highlighting visual details, or simply keeping a record of important information. Mastering the art of capturing screenshots on Windows will empower you to efficiently capture, store, and share visual content as needed.

In this article, we will explore various methods for taking screenshots on Windows. Whether you prefer using built-in tools like the Print Screen (PrtSc) button, Snipping Tool, or Snip & Sketch, or if you want to discover third-party applications for advanced screenshot capabilities, we have you covered. So, let’s delve into the world of screenshotting on Windows and unlock the potential of capturing and sharing visual moments effortlessly.

What is a Screenshot and Why Do You Need It?

Screenshots, also known as screen captures or screen grabs, are digital images that capture the contents of your computer screen at a specific moment. It’s like taking a snapshot of what you see on your display, allowing you to save and share it in various formats.

Understanding the Importance of Screenshots

Screenshots serve multiple purposes and offer numerous benefits in different scenarios. Here are a few reasons why you might need to take a screenshot:

  1. Capturing Information: Screenshots enable you to save important information displayed on your screen that you may need to refer to later. Whether it’s an error message, a confirmation page, or a recipe you found online, capturing it as a screenshot ensures you have a visual record that can be easily accessed.
  2. Sharing and Communication: Screenshots are an excellent way to visually communicate information. Whether you want to show a friend a funny conversation, share a specific section of an article, or demonstrate a software issue to technical support, screenshots provide a clear and concise visual representation of the content you want to share.
  3. Troubleshooting and Documentation: Screenshots can be invaluable when troubleshooting technical issues. By capturing error messages, system settings, or software configurations, you can effectively communicate the problem to others, such as IT support or online communities, who can assist you in finding a solution. Screenshots also help document software bugs, enabling developers to understand and address issues more efficiently.
  4. Creating Tutorials and Presentations: Screenshots are widely used in creating tutorials, step-by-step guides, and presentations. By capturing screenshots of each step or important visual elements, you can easily illustrate instructions, making them more accessible and understandable for your audience.
  5. Preserving Memories: Screenshots allow you to capture memorable moments, such as funny social media posts, inspiring quotes, beautiful images, or achievements in games. By saving these moments as screenshots, you can create a digital scrapbook of memories that you can revisit and share with others.

Method 1: Using the Print Screen (PrtSc) Button

One of the most basic and commonly used methods to capture screenshots on Windows is by utilizing the Print Screen (PrtSc) button on your keyboard. This method allows you to capture the entire screen or specific portions of it.

PrtSc Basics

  1. Press the PrtSc button: Locate the PrtSc button on your keyboard. It is typically found in the top row, often labeled as “Print Screen,” “PrtScn,” or a similar abbreviation. When you’re ready to take a screenshot, press this button.
  2. Capture the entire screen: By pressing the PrtSc button, you will capture a screenshot of the entire screen, including all open windows and applications.
  3. Capture the active window: If you only want to capture the currently active window, press the Alt key along with the PrtSc button. This will capture the screenshot of the window in focus, excluding other windows or the desktop.
  4. Capture a specific area: If you wish to capture a specific area of the screen, press the PrtSc button, followed by the Windows key + Shift + S. This key combination activates the snipping tool, allowing you to select and capture the desired portion of the screen.
  5. Save the screenshot: Once you have captured the screenshot, you can save it by opening an image editing software like Paint or a word processor application like Microsoft Word. Press Ctrl + V or go to the Edit menu and choose Paste to insert the screenshot. Then, save the image file in your preferred format (e.g., JPEG, PNG) for future use or sharing.

Method 2: Using the Snipping Tool

Windows provides a built-in screenshot utility called the Snipping Tool, which offers more flexibility and customization options compared to the basic Print Screen method. The Snipping Tool allows you to capture screenshots of selected areas, windows, or the entire screen with various snipping modes.

Overview of the Snipping Tool

  • Launch the Snipping Tool: To open the Snipping Tool, you can either search for it in the Start menu or use the Run dialog box by pressing Windows Key + R, then typing “snippingtool” and pressing Enter.
  • Snipping Modes: The Snipping Tool provides several snipping modes to capture different types of screenshots:
    • Free-Form Snip: Allows you to draw a free-form shape around the desired area to capture.
    • Rectangular Snip: Enables you to capture a rectangular area by dragging the cursor around it.
    • Window Snip: Allows you to select a specific window or dialogue box to capture.
    • Full-Screen Snip: Captures the entire screen, similar to the Print Screen method.
  • Capture the Screenshot: After selecting the desired snipping mode, use your mouse or touch input to create a selection around the area or window you want to capture.
  • Annotate and Save the Snip: Once you have captured the screenshot, the Snipping Tool will open a window where you can annotate or highlight specific areas if needed. Afterward, click on the Save Snip button to save the screenshot as an image file (e.g., JPEG, PNG).
  • Additional Features: The Snipping Tool also offers options to send the snip via email, copy it to the clipboard, or perform basic editing tasks like highlighting, cropping, or adding a pen tool.

Method 3: Using Snip & Sketch

Snip & Sketch is an enhanced screenshot tool introduced in Windows 10 that offers more advanced features compared to the Snipping Tool. It provides a user-friendly interface and additional annotation options, allowing you to capture, edit, and save screenshots with ease.

Getting Started with Snip & Sketch

  1. Open Snip & Sketch: You can launch Snip & Sketch by searching for it in the Start menu or by using the Windows Key + Shift + S keyboard shortcut. Another way is to press the Windows Key and type “Snip & Sketch,” then select the app from the search results.
  2. Capture the Screenshot: Once Snip & Sketch is open, your screen will be overlaid with a transparent white layer. Click and drag your cursor to create a selection around the area you want to capture.
  3. Snip & Sketch Tools: After capturing the screenshot, Snip & Sketch will open a sidebar on the right side of the screen. Here, you can find various tools to annotate, crop, highlight, or draw on the captured screenshot. You can use the pen, pencil, highlighter, or eraser tools to modify the image as desired.
  4. Save or Share the Snip: Once you have edited the screenshot, click the Save or Share button located at the top right corner of the Snip & Sketch window. You can save the screenshot as an image file or share it directly with other applications or contacts.

Method 4: Using the Windows Key + Volume Down Button (For Tablets)

For Windows tablets or devices with touch screens, capturing screenshots can be done conveniently using a combination of the Windows key and the Volume Down button. This method allows you to quickly capture and save screenshots without the need for external tools or additional key combinations.

Taking a Screenshot on Windows Tablets

  1. Identify the Windows Key and Volume Down Button: On your Windows tablet or device, locate the Windows key, which is usually located at the bottom of the screen. Also, find the Volume Down button, typically positioned along the sides of the device.
  2. Simultaneously Press the Buttons: With the content you want to capture on the screen, press and hold the Windows key and the Volume Down button simultaneously. You may need to hold them for a brief moment until the screen dims or you hear a camera shutter sound, indicating that the screenshot has been taken.

Accessing and Editing the Screenshot

  1. View the Screenshot: After taking the screenshot, the captured image will be saved automatically. You can access it by opening the Photos app or navigating to the Screenshots folder in the Pictures library.
  2. Editing and Sharing Options: Once you have accessed the screenshot, you can use built-in editing tools within the Photos app to crop, annotate, or make any necessary adjustments. Additionally, you can share the screenshot directly from the app via email, social media, or other compatible sharing methods.

Method 5: Using Third-Party Applications

In addition to the built-in tools provided by Windows, there are numerous third-party applications available that offer advanced features and customization options for capturing screenshots. These applications often provide additional functionalities such as delayed captures, scrolling captures, annotation tools, and more.

Introduction to Third-Party Screenshot Applications

  1. Research and Choose an Application: Start by researching and selecting a reliable third-party screenshot application that suits your specific requirements. Popular options include Snagit, Greenshot, Lightshot, ShareX, and many others. Visit their official websites or reputable software download platforms to find the application that best fits your needs.
  2. Download and Install the Application: Once you have chosen an application, download it from the official website or a trusted source. Follow the installation instructions provided by the application’s website or installer.
  3. Familiarize Yourself with the Application: After installation, open the application and explore its features and functionalities. Each third-party application may have a different user interface and set of options, so take some time to understand how it works.

Recommended Screenshot Applications

  1. Snagit: Snagit is a popular and feature-rich screenshot and screen recording software. It offers various capture modes, including full screen, region, scrolling window, and more. Snagit also provides advanced editing and annotation tools, making it a comprehensive solution for capturing and editing screenshots.
  2. Greenshot: Greenshot is a lightweight and open-source screenshot utility. It offers capture modes like full screen, region, window, or even specific menus. Greenshot provides essential editing capabilities and allows you to save screenshots in various formats.
  3. Lightshot: Lightshot is a simple and easy-to-use screenshot tool available for Windows and Mac. It allows you to capture selected areas, entire screens, or even specific windows. Lightshot also provides basic editing features, such as adding text or shapes to screenshots, and enables easy sharing and saving options.

Installing and Using a Third-Party Application

  1. Install the Application: Download the installation file from the official website or trusted source. Run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions to install the application on your computer.
  2. Capture Screenshots: Once installed, open the application and familiarize yourself with its interface and available capture options. Explore the different capture modes and features provided by the application to suit your screenshot requirements.
  3. Edit and Save Screenshots: After capturing a screenshot, the third-party application may offer various editing and annotation tools to enhance your captured image. Once you have made any necessary adjustments, you can save the screenshot in your desired format, share it directly, or copy it to the clipboard for further use.


Capturing screenshots on Windows is an essential skill that allows you to save and share visual information, troubleshoot technical issues, create tutorials, and preserve important memories. In this article, we explored various methods to capture screenshots on Windows, ranging from the basic Print Screen (PrtSc) button to utilizing built-in tools like the Snipping Tool and Snip & Sketch, as well as exploring third-party applications for more advanced features.

By mastering these screenshot methods, you can efficiently capture and save content from your computer screen, whether it’s the entire screen, specific windows, selected areas, or even scrolling web pages. Additionally, with annotation and editing tools, you can enhance and customize your screenshots as needed.

Remember to choose the method that best fits your requirements and preferences. The Print Screen button provides a quick and straightforward option, while the Snipping Tool and Snip & Sketch offer more flexibility and annotation features. If you desire additional functionalities, consider exploring third-party screenshot applications, such as Snagit, Greenshot, or Lightshot.

Now that you are equipped with the knowledge and techniques for capturing screenshots on Windows, you can streamline your workflow, enhance communication, and preserve valuable visual information with ease. Experiment with different methods and find the one that suits your needs best.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I take a screenshot on Windows?
A: To take a screenshot on Windows, you can use various methods such as pressing the Print Screen (PrtSc) button, using the Snipping Tool, or employing the Windows key + Shift + S shortcut for Snip & Sketch.

Q: What key is the screenshot on Windows?
A: The Print Screen (PrtSc) button is commonly used for taking screenshots on Windows. It may be labeled as “Print Screen,” “PrtSc,” or something similar on your keyboard.

Q: How do I take screenshots on my computer?
A: You can take screenshots on your computer by using the Print Screen (PrtSc) button to capture the entire screen or utilizing built-in tools like the Snipping Tool or Snip & Sketch for more precise captures.

Q: How do I take a screenshot of one window in Windows 10?
A: To capture a screenshot of a specific window in Windows 10, click on the desired window to make it active, then press the Alt key + Print Screen (PrtSc) button simultaneously.

Q: How to screenshot on a laptop?
A: On most laptops, you can take a screenshot by pressing the Fn key (usually located near the bottom-left of the keyboard) in combination with the Print Screen (PrtSc) button or other designated keys specified by your laptop’s manufacturer.

Q: How to take a screenshot in Chrome?
A: To take a screenshot in the Chrome browser, you can use the Print Screen (PrtSc) button or install Chrome extensions specifically designed for capturing screenshots, such as “Awesome Screenshot” or “Lightshot.”

Q: Where do F12 screenshots go on PC?
A: The F12 key is typically associated with web browsers’ developer tools rather than taking screenshots. Screenshots taken with other methods like Print Screen (PrtSc) are usually copied to the clipboard and can be pasted into image editing software or other applications for saving.

Q: Is the F12 key used for screenshots?
A: No, the F12 key is not commonly used for taking screenshots on Windows. It is primarily associated with web browsers’ developer tools, which allow developers to inspect and debug web pages.

How to Screenshot on Windows