Capture that moment on your screen but not sure how? Taking a screenshot is an essential computing skill, yet often misunderstood or overlooked. This article demystifies the process of creating screenshots on Windows 10 and Windows 11, using built-in tools and techniques as well as third-party apps for advanced needs.
Read on to master everything about screenshots— you’ve got this!
- The Print Screen key is a simple and quick way to capture screenshots on Windows. Pressing it copies the entire screen contents to the clipboard, and pressing “Windows logo + Print Screen” automatically saves the screenshot as an image file.
- The Snipping Tool (and its successor Snip & Sketch in Windows 10 onwards) allows users to capture specific areas of their screen. It offers annotation tools and various snip types such as rectangular, free-form, window, and full-screen.
- The Game Bar is a built – in tool designed for gamers but useful for everyone. It provides options to take instant screenshots or record gameplay footage, which are saved as PNG or MP4 files in designated folders respectively.
- Third – party apps like ShareX and Snagit offer additional features and functionality for capturing, editing, and sharing screenshots on Windows devices.
Understanding the Basics of Screenshots on Windows
In order to take screenshots on Windows, you can utilize the Print Screen key, the Snipping Tool, or the Game Bar.
The Print Screen Key
Simplicity reigns supreme with the Print Screen key on your Windows keyboard, serving as a quick and straightforward method to capture screenshots. Following its function is a breeze: by simply pressing the Print Screen key, prominently labeled either “Prt Sc”, “Prnt Scrn”, or even “PrtSc”, an image of your current screen’s contents instantly gets copied onto your PC’s clipboard.
If you prefer to have it stored in a file directly after capturing, using the combination of ‘Windows logo + Print Screen’ does just that by automatically storing your captured screenshot into the Pictures > Screenshots folder within seconds.
This versatile keystroke offers both convenience and flexibility for any user seeking swift screen capture solutions in their day-to-day operations.
The Snipping Tool
The Snipping Tool emerges as a built-in feature on Windows, offering users the ability to capture screenshots in a customizable manner. Designed with versatility in mind, it serves up options for capturing an entire screen or just focusing on rectangular or free-form parts of it.
The output isn’t automatically saved as an image file but offers multiple paths forward such as saving, emailing, printing, or copying directly to the clipboard.
A highlight of this tool is its annotation capabilities that let you add your personal touch to the captured images. However, starting from Windows 10 onwards, Microsoft replaced the Snipping Tool with their new screenshot application – the Snip & Sketch app.
This new ‘snipping’ champ retains similar features while bringing additional editing tools like pens and highlighters into play. Activating it is seamless with keyboard shortcuts such as Windows Key + Shift + S enabling quicker access to your screenshot needs.
The Game Bar
The Game Bar is a built-in Windows feature that adds an extra layer of functionality to your screenshot experience, primarily designed for gamers but useful for everyone. Activating it requires pressing the Windows key + G on your keyboard, bringing up an overlay with diverse capture options.
This handy tool lets you take instant screenshots, saved as PNG files in the Videos > Captures folder. Beyond static images, The Game Bar also distinguishes itself with its screen recording capabilities – perfect for demonstrating a process or capturing key moments during gameplay sessions.
It even allows external audio recording for voiceover commentary by toggling on this option in the settings menu — all started and stopped quickly by using the Windows + Alt + R shortcut.
How to Screenshot on Windows 10
To screenshot on Windows 10, you can use the Print Screen key, the Snipping Tool, or the Game Bar for capturing screenshots and gameplay footage.
Using the Print Screen Key
To capture a screenshot on Windows, you can use the Print Screen key. Here are the steps:
- Press the Print Screen key (labeled as Prt Sc or Prt Scrn) on your keyboard.
- This will take a screenshot of the entire screen and save it to the clipboard.
- Open an image editor or a document where you want to paste the screenshot.
- Press Ctrl + V or right – click and select Paste to paste the screenshot.
- You can now save the screenshot as a file in your preferred format.
- Alt + Prt Sc: Captures only the active window and saves it to the clipboard.
- Windows logo + Print Screen: Captures the entire screen and automatically saves it as an image file in PNG format in the Pictures > Screenshots folder.
Using the Snipping Tool
The Snipping Tool is a built-in screenshot tool on Windows that allows users to capture specific areas of their screen. Here’s how to use the Snipping Tool:
- Open the Snipping Tool: Click on the Start button, type “Snipping Tool” in the search bar, and select the application from the results.
- Choose a snip type: The Snipping Tool offers four different types of snips:
- Free-form snip: Draw a free-form shape around the area you want to capture.
- Rectangular snip: Drag the cursor to create a rectangular shape around the desired area.
- Window snip: Select a single window or dialog box to capture.
- Full-screen snip: Capture everything displayed on your screen.
- Capture the screenshot: Once you’ve selected a snip type, click on “New” to start capturing your screen. Depending on your selection, follow the instructions for each snip type.
- Annotate and save your screenshot: After capturing your screen, you can use various annotation tools available in the Snipping Tool, such as pens, highlighters, erasers, and rulers. To save your screenshot as an image file, click on “File” in the Snipping Tool menu and select “Save As.” Choose a location on your computer and choose a file name for your screenshot.
- Additional options: Apart from saving screenshots as image files, you can also send them via email directly from the Snipping Tool by clicking on “File” and selecting either “Send To” or “Send To > Mail Recipient.” Furthermore, if you want to copy your screenshot to clipboard instead of directly saving it as an image file, click on “Edit” in the menu bar and choose “Copy.”
Using the Game Bar
The Game Bar is a useful built-in tool in Windows 10 for taking screenshots and recording gameplay footage. Here’s how you can utilize the Game Bar:
- Press the Windows Key + G to open the Game Bar.
- Click on the Capture button (camera icon) on the overlay.
- Select whether you want to capture a screenshot or record a video.
- If capturing a screenshot, click on “Take Screenshot” or use the Alt + Prt Sc shortcut.
- The screenshot will be saved as a PNG file in the Videos > Captures folder.
- If recording a video, click on “Start Recording” or use the Windows Key + Alt + R shortcut.
- A notification will pop up to indicate that the recording has started.
- To stop recording, click on the Stop button in the Game Bar or use the Windows Key + Alt + R shortcut again.
- The recorded video will be saved in MP4 format in the Videos > Captures folder.
How to Screenshot on Windows 11
Learn how to capture screenshots on Windows 11 using various methods, such as the Print Screen key, Snipping Tool, and Game Bar. Whether you’re a gamer or just need to capture important moments on your screen, we’ve got you covered.
Read on to master the art of screenshotting on the latest version of Windows!
Utilizing the Print Screen Key
To take a screenshot using the Print Screen key on Windows, follow these steps:
- Press the Print Screen key (labeled as Prt Sc, Prt Scrn, or a similar variation) on your keyboard.
- This action captures everything displayed on your screen and copies it to the clipboard.
- To save the screenshot as an image file, open an image editor or a program like Microsoft Word or Paint.
- Create a new document or canvas and paste the screenshot by pressing Ctrl + V or right – clicking and selecting “Paste.”
- The screenshot will appear in the document or canvas, allowing you to edit, save, or share it.
- If you only want to capture the active window instead of the entire screen, press Alt + Prt Sc instead of just the Print Screen key.
- The active window’s contents will be copied to the clipboard, and you can paste it into an image editing program as described earlier.
Leveraging the Snipping Tool
The Snipping Tool is a valuable built-in feature in Windows 11 that offers various options for capturing and editing screenshots. Here’s how you can leverage this tool to capture different types of screenshots:
- Rectangular Snip: Use the Snipping Tool to capture a rectangular part of your screen by clicking and dragging the cursor to select the desired area.
- Free-form Snip: For more flexibility, choose the free-form snip option. This allows you to capture any irregular shape by drawing around it with your mouse or touchpad.
- Window Snip: If you only want to capture a specific window, select the window snip option from the Snipping Tool menu. The tool will automatically identify open windows, allowing you to click on the one you wish to capture.
- Full-screen Snip: Capture your entire screen by choosing the full-screen snip option within the Snipping Tool menu. This is perfect for screenshotting web pages, documents, or applications that span across multiple screens.
- Editing Tools: Once you’ve captured a screenshot using the Snipping Tool, various editing tools are available at your disposal. These include pens, highlighters, erasers, and rulers, which enable you to annotate and mark up your screenshots as needed.
- Saving and Sharing: Unlike previous versions of Windows where screenshots were automatically saved as image files, in Windows 11’s Snipping Tool, you have more control over saving and sharing options. After capturing a screenshot, you can choose whether to save it as an image file or copy it directly to your clipboard for pasting into other applications.
Accessing the Game Bar
To access the Game Bar on Windows 11 and take screenshots or record gameplay, follow these steps:
- Press the Windows Key + G shortcut to open the Game Bar.
- Once opened, you will see a variety of options for capturing screenshots and recording gameplay.
- To capture a screenshot of the active window, click on the Capture button in the Game Bar overlay.
- If you want to capture a specific area of the screen, click on the Capture menu in the Game Bar overlay and select one of the snip options: Rectangular, Free-form, Window, or Full-screen snip.
- After selecting your desired snip option, use your mouse to drag and select the area you want to capture.
- To start recording gameplay footage, click on the Record button in the Game Bar overlay or press Windows + Alt + R.
- While recording, you can use additional features like capturing microphone audio by clicking on the Microphone icon in the overlay.
- To stop recording, either click on the stop button in the Game Bar overlay or press Windows + Alt + R again.
- Screenshots and recorded clips are saved as PNG files in the Videos > Captures folder by default.
- “The Complete Guide to Windows 11 Screenshots & Screen Recording” by Winsor Consulting
Advanced Screenshot Techniques
In advanced screenshot techniques, you can capture full web pages and include the pointer in your screenshots. Utilize these tips to enhance your screenshot capabilities on Windows.
Capturing Full Web Pages
To capture full web pages on Windows, you can use browser features or extensions. Here are some methods you can try:
- GoFullPage (Chrome extension): GoFullPage is a popular Chrome extension that allows you to capture full web pages with just a few clicks. Simply install the extension, navigate to the web page you want to capture, click on the GoFullPage icon in your browser toolbar, and choose the capture option that suits your needs. You can save the captured page as an image file or PDF.
- Microsoft Edge: If you’re using Microsoft Edge as your browser, you can take advantage of its built-in screenshot options. Open the web page you want to capture, click on the three-dot menu in the top-right corner of the browser window, go to “Web Capture,” and select “Capture Full Page.” This will automatically scroll through the entire page and capture it as an image.
- Firefox: Firefox also offers a built-in feature for capturing full web pages. Open the webpage you want to capture, right-click anywhere on the page, and select “Take a Screenshot” from the context menu. Then click on “Save full page” in the top-right corner of the screenshot toolbar. The captured page will be saved as an image file.
- Third-party tools: There are various third-party tools available that specialize in capturing full web pages. Some popular options include ShareX, PicPick, and Lightshot. These tools offer advanced features like scrolling screen captures and annotation capabilities.
Including the Pointer in Screenshots
To make your screenshots more informative and visually appealing, you can include the pointer in your captures. This feature allows you to highlight specific areas of interest or demonstrate how to perform certain actions on your screen. Here’s how you can include the pointer in your screenshots:
- In Windows 10:
- Press the Windows logo + Print Screen keys on your keyboard to capture the entire screen.
- Open a program like Microsoft Word or Paint and paste the screenshot.
- Use the annotation tools, such as arrows or circles, to draw attention to specific areas.
- Position the cursor wherever you want it to appear in the screenshot.
- Take another screenshot by pressing Alt + Prt Sc, which captures only the active window without the background.
- Paste this new screenshot into the same program where you pasted the previous one.
- Adjust its positioning so that it aligns with where you placed the cursor in the first screenshot.
- In Windows 11:
- Utilize the Snip & Sketch app by pressing Windows Key + Shift + S, then selecting “Screen Snip” from the notification that appears on your taskbar.
- Once you’ve selected an area of your screen for capture, use Snip & Sketch’s annotation tools to mark up and draw attention to specific areas.
- Move your cursor wherever you want it reflected in the screenshot before taking another snip using Windows Key + Shift + S.
- Overlay this second snip onto the first one within Snip & Sketch and position it accordingly.
Third-Party Screenshot Apps for Windows
Third-party screenshot apps provide users with advanced features and customization options beyond what the built-in tools offer. These apps are perfect for those who require more control over their screenshots or need additional functionalities like image editing, sharing, and annotation.
Some popular third-party screen capture tools for Windows include ShareX, PicPick, ScreenPresso, Snagit, Apowersoft Screen Capture Pro, Droplr, CloudApp, Screencast-O-Matic, and Lightshot.
For example, ShareX is a powerful app that allows users to capture screenshots in various shapes and sizes including rectangular snips or even full-page scrolling captures of web pages. It also offers advanced editing options like adding text annotations or graphics overlays.
Similarly,PicPick is another great option that provides a comprehensive set of editing tools along with the ability to capture not just images but also video clips of your screen. And if you’re looking for an easy way to share your screenshots instantly with others online,Screencast-O-Matic allows you to record videos as well as take screenshots.
These third-party screenshot apps can greatly enhance your screenshot-taking experience on Windows by providing additional flexibility and functionality tailored to your needs. Whether you’re a professional designer or simply want more control over how you capture and edit your screenshots these apps are definitely worth exploring.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
In conclusion, capturing screenshots on Windows is a breeze with various options available. Whether you prefer the traditional Print Screen key, the user-friendly Snipping Tool and Snip & Sketch app, or the powerful Game Bar for gamers, there’s a method that suits every need.
Don’t forget to explore third-party apps like ShareX and Snagit for additional features and functionality. With these tools at your fingertips, sharing and annotating screenshots will be a breeze!
In conclusion, capturing screenshots on Windows is a breeze with various methods at your disposal. Whether you prefer using the Print Screen key for quick captures, utilizing the Snipping Tool or Snip & Sketch app for customization, or harnessing the power of the Game Bar for gaming-related screenshots and recordings, there’s an option that suits every need.
Additionally, third-party apps such as ShareX and Snagit offer even more functionality for capturing and editing screenshots. With these tools at your fingertips, taking and sharing screenshots on Windows has never been easier.