Capture

How to take screenshots on Windows 10

Taking screenshots on a PC is very simple, and there are a few ways to do it on Windows 10.

Take screenshots on Windows 10

On Windows 10, you can quickly take screenshots of anything on the screen. You can capture the entire screen or just a particular area, an active window, or an app, and it’s all possible without the need to install third-party tools.

Perhaps you need to send an image capture to a friend, an error message to get help from tech support, or may be to create a guide. Whatever the reason it might be, Windows 10 includes a few ways to take and save screenshots using only keyboard shortcuts or a couple of clicks using a tool.

While there are different methods to take screenshots on Windows 10, most of the time, you’ll be using the Print Screen key in combination of another key, and it should be noted that this key will almost always appear labeled differently depending on who designs the keyboard. Sometimes, the key will show up as “PrtScn”, but it can also well appear as “PrtScr”, “Prt Sc”, “Print Screen”, etc.

In this guide, you’ll learn seven different ways to take screenshots using Windows 10 built-in tools on your PC or tablet.

How to take screenshots of the entire screen

Windows 10 offers at least three keyboard shortcuts to take screenshots of the entire screen.

  • Windows key + Print Screen key: When using this keyboard shortcut, Windows 10 will save a screenshot of the entire screen as a .png file in your Pictures folder, inside the Screenshots folder.

    Screenshots folder on Windows 10
    Screenshots folder on Windows 10
  • Print Screen key or Ctrl + Print Screen key: Either shortcut will take a screenshot of the entire screen, but it’ll copy the image to the clipboard, which you can paste on Word, OneNote, Paint, or other app. Neither shortcut will save the screenshot as a file.

How to take screenshots of an active window

Sometimes, you only need to capture an active window and not the entire screen, in this case, Windows 10 offers a keyboard shortcut.

  • Alt + Print Screen key: when using this keyboard shortcut, Windows 10 will take a screenshot of the active window and copy to the clipboard, which then you can paste on an app, such as Word, OneNote, or Paint. This shortcut will not create an image file.

How to take screenshots of a region of the screen

Starting with the Creators Update, Windows 10 now incorporates native support to capture only a region of the screen.

  • Windows key + Shift + S: When using this keyboard shortcut, you can take a screenshot from a particular region of your screen and copy it to the clipboard. You can then paste it in OneNote or any other app.

    Windows key + Shift + S shortcut
    Windows key + Shift + S shortcut

How to take screenshots using the Snipping Tool

Alternatively, you can also use the Snipping Tool built on Windows 10, which offers a number of options to capture screenshots.

To use the Snipping Tool, do the following:

  1. Open Start menu.

  2. Search for Snipping Tool and click the result.

  3. Click on Mode to select the type of capture you want to use.

    • Free-form Snip: Draw a free-form shape around an object.
    • Rectangular Snip: Drag the mouse cursor around an object to form a rectangle capture.
    • Window Snip: Select a window, such as a browser window or dialog box, that you want to capture.
    • Full-screen snip: Captures the entire screen.

    Snipping Tool on Windows 10
    Snipping Tool on Windows 10
  4. Use the available tools, such as pen and highlighter to annotate the image as necessary.

    Snipping Tool editing options
    Snipping Tool editing options
  5. Click the Save Snip button to save the capture as .png, .gif, .jpeg, or as an HTML file.

The Snipping Tool included on Windows 10 also has a delay feature to delay captures by 1 to 5 seconds.

How to take screenshots on a laptop

If you’re working on a laptop, the keyboard layout and keys most of the time are not the same as a full-size keyboard. Typically, you’ll have to press Fn (function) key to access certain features and keys, such as the Print Screen key.

While the ability to capture screenshots is available on all Windows 10 devices, the shortcuts are a bit different on laptops.

  • Fn + Windows key + Print Screen key: Takes a screenshot of the entire screen, and saves it as a .png file inside the Screenshots folder on your Pictures folder.

  • Fn + Print Screen key or Fn + Ctrl + Print Screen key: Captures the entire screen and stores the image in the clipboard, which you can paste on OneNote, Word, Paint, or another app.

  • Fn + Alt + Print Screen key: Allows you to take a screenshot of an active window and stores the image in the clipboard. Then you can paste the capture on any app.

It should be noted that some keyboards let you turn on and keep function keys enabled. If this is the case, you don’t need to use the Fn key on every shortcut.

How to take screenshots on a Surface

Surface devices, such as the Surface Pro 3 don’t include a Print Screen key in the Type Cover, which means that you’ll have to use different keyboard shortcuts to take screenshots.

  • Fn + Windows key + Spacebar: When using this keyboard shortcut, Windows 10 will save a screenshot of the entire screen as a .png file in your Pictures folder, inside the Screenshots folder.

  • Fn + Spacebar: Captures will store in the clipboard, which you can then paste on any application.

  • Fn + Alt + Spacebar: Allows you to take a screenshot of an active window. The image will store in the clipboard, which you can paste on any app, including Word, OneNote, and Paint.

It should be noted that the Type Cover for the Surface Pro 4 and Surface 3 include a PrtScn button.

How to take screenshots without a keyboard

If you’re using a device, such as tablet or a phone, without a keyboard, it’s still possible to take screenshots. You only need to press and hold a specific set of hardware keys.

  • Windows logo hardware key + volume down: On devices like Surface, Dell Venue, and other detachable devices, you can use the Windows logo hardware key + volume down at the same time to take a screenshot.

  • Power button + volume-down: Devices such as the Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, or phones don’t include a Windows logo key, in which case you can hold the power button down and then press the volume-down button to take a screenshot. The screenshot will be saved in the Screenshots folder under the Pictures folder in your account.