How to Take Screenshots in Windows 10

Many of us like to take screenshots of various applications, websites, documents, etc. on our computers, which come in handy in a variety of ways. Some people like to take screenshots for documentation purposes - maybe you want to be able to refer back to how you configured a certain application, or maybe you want to save a screenshot of a confirmation page after purchasing something online.

Screenshots can also be useful for troubleshooting. Maybe you need to place a tech support call for an issue you are having with your PC or an application, and the tech may ask for a screenshot to see exactly what you are seeing. Or, maybe you just want to share information with a friend or show them how far you got on a game you are playing.

In Windows 10, you can take screenshots in a couple of different ways. You can either use the tried and true method of using the Print Screen button, or use the built-in Windows app called "Snipping Tool."

Table of Contents

Taking a Screenshot using the Print Screen Button

The Print Screen button has been around for years, and is the most common way to take a screenshot, regardless of the version of Windows. The use of the Print Screen button may vary, depending on the manufacturer of the PC or the keyboard you are using.

Sometimes, the Print Screen button is labeled as "PrtScr." Also, sometimes it is it’s own button, and other times you have to use a function key (Fn) in combination with the "" button to make it work.

Pressing the Print Screen button will copy everything you see on your screen to your clipboard. Then, all you need to do is Paste the contents into whichever application you want to save the screenshot. For example, you could Paste it into the built-in Paint application (or some other image editor) if you are planning to make any edits to the image, or you could paste it into Word or PowerPoint or any other application of your choice that can display an image.

Tip: Press the Windows key + PrtScr and the image will automatically be saved as a PNG file to the Pictures/Screenshots folder on your PC.

Let’s say you just want to take a screenshot of a particular window, and not your entire desktop. To do this, you can use the key combination of Alt + PrtScr and it will capture whichever window you have as the focus at that time. To give a particular window focus, just select it by clicking your pointer somewhere on that window.

Now, what if you want to capture a particular region of your desktop, or a region of a window? To do this, you’ll need to use an app like the built-in "Snipping Tool."

Taking a Screenshot using the Snipping Tool App

There are many 3rd-party applications that you can use to take screen captures, but fortunately Microsoft includes a handy built-in tool with Windows 10 called "Snipping Tool." To use it, just follow these steps:

1. Begin typing "Snipping Tool" into the Search box near the Start menu. When the "Snipping Tool" app is displayed, click on it to open the app.

How to Take Screenshots in Windows 10 - Image 1

The app will open, which is a small floating toolbar that looks like this:

How to Take Screenshots in Windows 10 - Image 2

2. Next, make sure you have the window in view that contains the region that you want to capture, then switch over to the Snipping Tool app. There are a few options available to you before you take your screen capture, if you wish to use them.

  • The "Mode" button allows you to select different modes of capture, such as a "free-form" style selection tool, where you use the cursor to draw free-form around the area you want to capture.

  • The "rectangular" snip option lets you use the cursor to capture a rectangular or square area (this is the default option and most common).

  • You can also select "window" mode, which lets you capture the entire window that you click on without having to draw around it.

  • The "full screen" mode will of course capture the entire desktop.

  • The "Delay" button allows you to select a period of time (1-5 seconds) between the time that you select "New" (to begin the capture) and the time that the capture mode actually begins. This allows you time to use your mouse navigate to the area you want to capture without it actually capturing whatever you click on.

  • The "Options" button provides several options that you can select, if desired:
    How to Take Screenshots in Windows 10 - Image 3

3. Once you have your options selected and you are ready to capture, simply select "New" and your cursor will change to allow you to click and drag to select a region on the screen.

How to Take Screenshots in Windows 10 - Image 4

Once you release the mouse button, you will see the area that you have captured in the Snipping Tool window:

How to Take Screenshots in Windows 10 - Image 5

4. The Snipping Tool also has some editing options, if you wish to add any highlights or use a drawing tool on your image, for example.

How to Take Screenshots in Windows 10 - Image 6

5. Once you’ve finished any edits, you can use the toolbar shown above to save the image, copy it to your clipboard to paste into another application, or there is also an option to email the captured image (either embedded in the email or as an attachment).

The Snipping Tool app provides a much more sophisticated way to take screenshots in Windows 10. The Print Screen method is definitely useful and is a quick way to take a full desktop capture or a capture of a single window. However, if you need to get more particular with what you want to capture and would like a few other options and editing tools as well, then the Snipping Tool is the way to go.

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