How to Take Screenshots in Windows 10. How to take screenshots windows 10

Then you can open the editor, paste the image from the clipboard there, and do whatever final editing you want to do before saving it in a usable format.

8 Fastest Ways to Take Screenshots on Windows 10

Taking screenshots is a fundamental part of my job, and I’m sure many of you also need to take screenshots frequently. There are over a dozen ways to take screenshots on Windows only. However, since I’m always looking for ideas to increase my productivity on Windows 10, I found one of the fastest ways to take screenshots on Windows 10.

Unfortunately, different situations call for different methods to take screenshots. Sometimes it is enough to quickly share your point of view, and sometimes you need to take a few screenshots to demonstrate the process. Keeping up with both, here are some of my favorite methods to take screenshots quickly on Windows 10.

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Use the Print Screen key

(Steps required: 2)

Probably the easiest and fastest method of taking screenshots, requiring no previous setup. However, it only works for quickly sharing a screenshot over the internet or an image editing application.

  1. Press the Print Screen key on your keyboard (next to the F2 key) and the screenshot of the entire screen will be copied to the clipboard. There will be no indications, however.
  2. Press Ctrl + V over any field that accepts images and the screenshot will be pasted. Then you can share it. It could be a social website, a chat program, or even an image editor like Windows Paint or GIMP.

If you just want to take a picture of the current window with focus, press Alt + Print Screen instead.


If you want to quickly share the current screen or window state without editing, this is perfect.


This method does not save the image. If you want to save it permanently, you have to paste it into an image editor and then save it. So it’s not a good option when you need to take permanent screenshots. Also, you can’t annotate or edit the screenshot before sharing.

When you take a screenshot, you can capture an image of the entire display – or just a part of it. Windows 10 has a lot of built-in tools to easily take screenshots, and we also have even more powerful third-party tools at your fingertips.

Use Shift-Windows Key-S and Snip & Sketch

After using Snagit for many years (see below), this has become my main screenshot method. Hit the Shift-Windows Key-S key combination and you have the choice of full-screen shooting, rectangular selection, freehand selection, or a single program window. An alternative way to invoke the Snip & Sketch function is to use the Screen Clipping button in the Action Center.

When you press this keyboard shortcut, a small thumbnail panel notification appears in the lower right corner that says Snip Saved to Clipboard. Touch this to open the Snip & Sketch window. This way, you can mark up the image with a pen, pencil, highlighter, eraser, ruler and crop tool. Then you can save the image to a folder of your choice or share it using the standard Windows Share menu. This allows you to send the image to Instagram, Messenger, Mail, or any other application that accepts the file type. It also lets you send it to a nearby computer that has Nearby Sharing turned on.

A few things I wish I had about Snip & Sketch are the text overlay and basic shapes, including the always useful arrow. If you only want to use this tool, you can go to the Windows Settings app and select Ease of Access> Keyboard and select Use the PrtSc button to open screen clipping. Note that this requires a restart of Windows.

Use the Print Screen Key With Clipboard

This has been the classic method of taking screenshots on Windows 10 for a long time. It is especially useful for taking pictures of applications that change appearance when a key combination is pressed. Often times, the menu collapses as soon as you press the Shift key. Pressing the Print Screen or PrtSc key copies the entire screen to the Clipboard; adding Alt together with Print Screen copies only the active window rectangle.

You’ll need to take additional steps to open and save the image to an image-aware application like Paint, Paint 3D, or even Photoshop (unless you use the next tip). Just paste with Ctrl-V while you are in a new document in one of these applications, then you can go to the city with editing and finally save the image to the folder of your choice.

Windows 10 includes a feature called Xbox Game Bar. Despite the name, this is a truly gaming-focused overlay with a variety of features. This is especially useful for taking screenshots of PC games.

Capture the Entire Screen With Print Screen

This method will suit you if you want to customize the screenshot to your liking.

Find and press the Print Screen button on your keyboard to get a snip of the entire screen. However, don’t panic if you can’t find it. Often, Print Screen is also written as Prt Sc on the keyboard – so make sure you are looking for that.

When you press the button, the image will be saved to your computer’s clipboard, instead of saving it as a screenshot right away. For this, you have to open it and save it to any editing tool like Paint.NET, Paint etc. After opening the tool, you can paste the image there (Ctrl + V) from the clipboard. Finally, you can save the image.

Use Snip & Sketch

Originally introduced as a replacement for the Snipping Tool, Snip & Sketch is available on Windows 10 1809 and above.

You can launch it by pressing Windows key + Shift + S.

When you press Windows Key + Shift + S, you can choose from different types of screenshot procedures such as full screen snip, window snip, freedom snip, or rectangular snip. Note that after the specified area is captured successfully, the screen clip will be saved to the clipboard just like in the Prt Scr method.

Then you can open the editor, paste the image from the clipboard there, and do whatever final editing you want to do before saving it in a usable format.

Press Windows + Print Screen to save the screenshot as a file. In other words, press and hold the Windows logo key and press the Print Screen key, which may be labeled PrtScrn or PrtScn. (You may need to use Windows + Fn + PrtScn on a laptop keyboard.)

To capture the entire screen, press the Print Screen key (sometimes labeled PrtScn). Your screenshot will not be saved as a file but will be copied to the clipboard. You’ll need to open an image editing tool (such as Microsoft Paint), paste the screenshot in an editor, and save the file from there.

You can also set the PrtScn button to open the Snip & Sketch tool by going to Settings> Ease of Access> Keyboard and toggling Use the PrtScn button to open screen clipping under Print Screen Shortcut.


Screenshot by Matt Elliott / CNET

Windows key + Print Screen

To capture the entire screen and save the screenshot automatically, press the Windows key + Print Screen key. Your screen will go blank for a moment which means you just took a screenshot and the screenshot will be saved in the Pictures> Screenshots folder.

To take a quick screenshot of the active window, use the Alt + PrtScn keyboard shortcut. This will snap the currently active window and copy the screenshot to the clipboard. To save them, you need to open the snapshot in the image editor.

TechSmith offers a free trial version of SnagIt so you can check if it meets your needs before purchasing. If you take a lot of screenshots, we find it going to be hard for you to go back to the more basic tools built into Windows.

Snipping Tool

While Snip & Sketch will eventually replace the Snipping tool on Windows, you can still use the old screenshot tool on Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista.

To run the snipping tool, you need to find it using the search bar. Use the “Mode” button to customize the screenshot and then click the “New” button to take a screenshot.

You can also set the capture time to five seconds using the “Delay” drop-down menu. After taking the screenshot, it will open in a new window where you can annotate it, save it or share it in Microsoft Outlook.

Game Bar

The Game Bar is an overlay that can be used with most Windows 10 apps and games to take screenshots and record videos. To open the Game Bar, press the Windows key + G.

Quick tip: If the game bar won’t open, make sure it’s turned on. To turn on the Game Bar, search for “Game Bar Settings” and turn on “Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using the Game Bar from the menu.”

In the overlay menu, click the camera icon to take a screenshot in full screen. You can also record a video by pressing the record button, with the option to include audio by clicking on the microphone icon.

You can take screenshots or screen recordings with the Game Bar in Windows 10. William Antonelli / Insider

Screenshots and video clips captured by the Game Bar are saved in PNG format in the Videos> Capture folder. You can also find it in the Game Bar by clicking “Show All Screenshots” below the Screenshot and Record buttons.

Click on notification for more options. This opens the Snip & Sketch window with options for writing, highlighting, erasing, and cropping image areas.

How to take a screenshot on the Microsoft Surface Tab and other Windows Tablets

If you are using a tablet or other device without a keyboard, the best alternative is to use the hardware buttons your device is equipped with.

1. On most portable devices such as tablets, press the Windows logo on the Start screen and hold the volume down button at the same time to take a full screen screenshot and save it.

2. Device-specific shortcuts are available on Surface or Surface Pro tablets running Windows 10. Using Fn + Spacebar, you can save a screenshot of the current screen to the clipboard. Using Fn + Alt + Spacebar takes a screenshot of the active window and saves it to the clipboard.

Screenshots with “Snipping Tool”

Using the Snipping Tool in Windows is one of the best ways to take screenshots as it also allows light editing.

1. In the boot menu, search for “snipping tool” and press Enter to display it on the screen.

2. After booting, use the mode button to select the type of screenshot you want. There are many options available.

3. Free-form Snip allows you to emphasize the rough outline around the object or area of ​​interest you want to take a screenshot.

4. With Rectangular Snip, you can take a rectangular screenshot by moving the cursor around the object or area you want.

5. Window Snip allows you to capture standalone windows such as dialog, browser, video player or music player.

6. Full Screen Snip, just like the regular Print Screen button on your computer, allows you to take a screenshot of the entire screen.

The Xbox Game Bar on Windows 10 can also be used to take screenshots. However, it only works in open applications (not in file explorer or in Windows settings), and you need to set each application as a game at least once in the games bar before taking any screenshots of it.

Take Screenshots With Greenshot, a Free Application

Our favorite free screenshot tool for Windows – in addition to the tools built into Windows 10 itself that is extremely efficient – is Greenshot. It’s free and open source, and also comes with additional features like customizable keyboard shortcuts.

Greenshot runs in the system tray where it provides useful options such as “Capture Window from List” which allows you to quickly capture a screenshot of any running window from the context menu.


Take Screenshots the Easy Way With SnagIt, a Powerful Tool

Windows 10 comes with handy screenshot features, and Greenshot is a powerful tool, but each of the methods above has its limitations. If you take a lot of screenshots and need more flexibility and options, you may want something even more powerful.

If you don’t mind spending a few dollars on a screenshot tool, Techsmith’s SnagIt is an incredibly powerful screenshot app. It facilitates taking screenshots and has functions to target specific windows and capture the full text of scrolling windows, such as web pages in a browser.


SnagIt can also record videos from your screen, turn them into animated GIFs (if you want), add webcam video and microphone audio, and help you easily trim those video clips so you can only include what’s important.

Besides, SnagIt can extract text from screenshots, annotate them, replace text in screenshots, and do just about anything you imagine a screenshot tool should be able to do. This is a great app that we recommend especially if you need to take a lot of screenshots.

TechSmith offers a free trial version of SnagIt so you can check if it meets your needs before purchasing. If you take a lot of screenshots, we find it going to be hard for you to go back to the more basic tools built into Windows.

Thinking about switching to another computer? Taking a screenshot on a Mac or capturing something on a Chromebook is not much different than capturing an image on a Windows 10 PC.

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  • ›The best free screenshot applications for Windows
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  • ›How to reset the Windows 10 screenshot counter
  • ›How to practice presentations with a PowerPoint presenter trainer
  • ›How to get more dynamic range from your photos

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Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is the editor-in-chief of How-To Geek. He has been writing about technology for over a decade, and for two years he was a columnist for PCWorld. Chris has written for The New York Times, has been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations such as NBC 6 in Miami, and his work has been covered by news sites such as the BBC. As of 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly a billion times – and it is right here at How-To Geek.
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