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How to take screenshots on PC or laptop in 9 ways

How to take screenshots on PC or laptop in 9 ways

How to take screenshots on PC or laptop in 9 ways

Knowing how to take screenshots on PC or laptop without needing to download any extra software can be really helpful. Nowadays, almost every PC, laptop, or tablet comes with built tools to help you take screenshots. Let’s take a look at How to take screenshots on PC or laptop in 9 ways.

What is a screenshot?

A screenshot, sometimes referred to as a screencap or screengrab, is an image that shows the contents of a computer display….

A screenshot, sometimes referred to as a screencap or screengrab, is an image that shows the contents of a computer display. Screenshots let you capture exactly what you’re seeing on your screen to share with others or reference later.

Taking, saving, and sharing screenshots can be extremely helpful. In fact, some insist that the screenshot is the most important thing on the internet. But how can a simple picture of your screen be so vital? Well, you see, screenshots often act as a new age artifact. They serve as a way to prove to others that you’re really seeing the crazy stuff you’re seeing.

Not only do they help you prove your case, they also help you archive the past. For example, they can help you capture what a website looked like before the latest brand refresh, that weird error message you got a couple months ago, or even a juicy gossip article you don’t want to risk forgetting.

How can I use screenshots on PC?

Screenshots aren’t just handy, they’re also revolutionary to getting more work done, faster.

About Tech echoes the belief that screenshots can be extremely helpful when you need to demonstrate something that would otherwise be difficult to explain in words. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!

3 Ways Screenshots on PC Can Help You Get More Work Done

1. Collaborate with Others

How to take screenshots on PC or laptop in 9 ways

Does your coworker want your input on a new webpage they’ve put together? Or do they need you to look over a brochure they’re having printed? Instead of writing a lengthy email with edits, take a screenshot and wow your coworker with excellent, efficient feedback.

Marking up design concepts onscreen is faster and more effective than a wordy email

2. Demonstrate How to Perform a Function

Don’t just tell. Show. Demonstrate exactly what you’re talking about with a screenshot. By using a screenshot that shows exactly what you mean, there’s less chance that you’ll be misunderstood. And that means less confusion, less time explaining, and more time back in your day.

How to take screenshots on PC or laptop in 9 ways

For example, explain to a new employee how to login. Instead of telling them, you can quickly send them a screenshot that they can reference again and again without having to repeatedly ask you.
A screenshot with numbered steps is quick to make and easy to understand

3. Show Exactly What’s Happening

If you’ve ever contacted your IT or Web Support Team to report a bug, you’ve likely been asked to provide a screenshot. That’s because not everyone’s computer is the same. Depending on your machine, the operating system it’s running, the browser version you’re on, the way something appears for you could be completely different for others.
Providing a visual example of what you’re looking at helps others see exactly what’s going on and identify what might be going wrong.


A screenshot of an error message helps avoid confusion by showing someone exactly what you’re seeing

The best part about screenshots? They’re easy! As Buffer notes, screenshots are powerful yet simple to use. In fact, it only takes a second to make a screenshot. 

How to take screenshots on PC or laptop in 9 ways

NOTE: This guide applies to ALL modern versions of Windows: Windows 10, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. If a method works only in one or two of these operating systems, we appropriately highlight this fact.

1. Use the keyboard shortcut: PrtScn (Print Screen) or CTRL + PrtScn

The first method is also the best known and it works in all versions of Windows: on your keyboard, press the PrtScn (Print Screen) key or CTRL+PrtScn keys. Windows creates a screenshot of the whole screen and saves it to the clipboard. Next, open an image editing program like Paint and paste the picture from the clipboard. You can now save it as a file and do basic editing.

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Use the keyboard shortcut: PrtScn (Print Screen) or CTRL + PrtScn

2. Use the keyboard shortcut: Windows + PrtScn

If you want to take a screenshot of the whole screen and save it as a file on the hard drive, without using any other tools, then press Windows + PrtScn on your keyboard.

Windows stores the screenshot in the Pictures library, in the Screenshots folder. The file is named “Screeenshot(number).png,” where the number varies based on how many screenshots you have taken.

Screenshots stored by Windows in your Pictures library

In Windows 10, you can also find your screenshots if you use the Photos app, by going to “Folders -> Pictures -> Screenshots.”

Screenshots viewed in the Photos app from Windows 10

Besides creating the file with the screenshot, Windows also places a copy of the screenshot in the clipboard.

3. Use the keyboard shortcut: Alt + PrtScn

You can also take screenshots of the active window. Open the window that you want to capture and press Alt + PrtScn on your keyboard. The screenshot is saved to the clipboard. Open Paint or any other photo editing app and Paste the image so that you can edit it and save it to your Windows computer or device.

Screenshot of an active window in Paint

If you have a laptop, a tablet or a keyboard with the Fn key, do this instead of the first three methods:

The first three methods should work perfectly well on desktop computers with Windows or on Windows devices with a standard keyboard. However, if you have a laptop or a convertible device with a Fn key, then the PrtScn key does other things too, not just take screenshots. Therefore, when you press the keyboard shortcuts that include PrtScn key, Windows does not take a screenshot. Instead, use one of the following:

  • Fn + PrtScn – makes a screenshot of the whole screen and copies it to the clipboard. It is the equivalent of pressing the standard PrtScn key.
  • Fn + Windows + PrtScn – takes a screenshot of the whole screen and saves it as a file on the hard drive, without using any other tools. Windows stores the screenshot in the Pictures library, in the Screenshots folder. It is the same as pressing Windows + PrtScn on a standard keyboard.
  • Fn + Alt + PrtScn – takes a screenshot of the active window. It is the equivalent of pressing Alt + PrtScn on a standard keyboard.
How to take screenshots on PC or laptop in 9 ways
Keyboard shortcuts for screen captures on keyboards with the Fn key

On some keyboards, the PrtScn button might not perform two or more actions. However, it will not work until you press Fn lock key. On such keyboards, the Fn key works as a lock for the function and multimedia keys on the top, including the Print Screen key.

If you have such a keyboard, press the Fn key to unlock the top row of keys and then use the shortcuts we described in the first three sections of this article. They should work now.

How to take screenshots on PC or laptop in 9 ways
Fn (Function) key on a keyboard

If you have a Surface Pro tablet from Microsoft with Windows 10, you need to use different keyboard shortcuts, because there is no PrtScn key on the Type Cover. Instead, Microsoft offers the following Surface-device specific shortcuts for Windows 10:

  • Fn + Spacebar – this shortcut saves an image of your current screen to the clipboard, so that you can paste it into any application. It is the equivalent of pressing the standard PrtScn key.
  • Fn + Alt + Spacebar – this shortcut saves a screenshot of the active window, to the clipboard so that you can paste it into any application. It is the equivalent of pressing the Alt + PrtScn keyboard shortcut.
How to take screenshots on PC or laptop in 9 ways
Keyboard shortcut for taking a screenshot on a Surface Type Cover

4. Use the keyboard shortcut: Windows + Shift + S (Windows 10 only)

If you use Windows 10, press Windows + Shift + S to capture a region of your screen and copy it to your clipboard. After you press Windows + Shift + S, the screen is dimmed, and a cursor is shown, that you can use to draw on the screen the region that you want to capture in a screenshot. Press the left-click mouse button, draw the area that you want to capture and release the mouse button. If you have a touchscreen, draw the area that you want to capture with your finger (or pen) on the screen.

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Screenshot of a region in Windows 10

The screenshot is saved to the clipboard. Open Paint or any other photo editing app and paste the screenshot so that you can edit it and save it. This feature was originally part of OneNote but it has been added to Windows 10 itself, which is excellent.

5. Use the Snipping Tool

The Snipping Tool is a great desktop app for taking screenshots. It can create all kinds of screenshots, and you can also use it to do some light editing. Search for the words “snipping tool” in the Start Menu search box (if you use Windows 10 or Windows 7) or on the Start screen (if you use Windows 8.1) and click or tap on the appropriate search result.

Snipping Tool in Windows

6. Use the Snip & Sketch app (Windows 10 only)

Starting with the October 2018 Update, Windows 10 brings in a new app that is meant to replace the Snipping Tool. For the time being, the two apps are both available in Windows 10. Snip & Sketch adds new features and, as its name suggests, they focus on modifying (sketching) the screenshots after you take them. Snip & Sketch has more than one method to capture screenshots.

The first is to press the New button in the Snip & Sketch app or CTRL+N keyboard shortcut:

Start a screenshot in Snip & Sketch from Windows 10

Snip & Sketch offers three options to take a screenshot: rectangular, free-form, and fullscreen.

Screenshot options offered by Snip & Sketch in Windows 10

Once the screenshot is taken, Snip & Sketch opens an editing window ready to process the screenshot further.

7. Take screenshots on a Surface tablet or any other Windows tablet

If you have a Windows tablet, like a Microsoft Surface, HP ENVY, or a Lenovo Tablet 10, and you use it without a keyboard attached to it, then the PrtScn key is not available. The best solution is to use the hardware buttons available on your tablet. On most (if not all) Windows tablets, you can take full-screen screenshots by pressing the Windows logo and the Volume Down key at the same time.

Take screenshots on a Windows tablet without a keyboard

You see the screen getting darker when you do this. It signals that a screenshot was made. You find the screenshot in your Pictures library, in the Screenshots folder. Please note that Snip & Sketch has a good user interface for touchscreens, and it is a good option for Windows 10 tablets.

8. Use the keyboard shortcut: Windows + Alt + PrtScn (starting with Windows 10 Creators Update only)

In Windows 10, Microsoft has introduced the Game Bar that can be used when playing games of all kinds. One of the things you can do with this Game Bar is take screenshots of the active game window. While playing a game, press the keys Windows + Alt + PrtScn, and a screenshot is automatically created and stored on your Windows 10 computer or device. You can also bring up the Game Bar by pressing Windows + G, and then click or tap the “Take screenshot” button highlighted below.

How to take screenshots on PC or laptop in 9 ways
Take a screenshot using the Game Bar from Windows 10

The screenshot is saved in your Videos library, in the Captures folder. Its filename includes the name of the game that you are playing and the date and time when the screenshot was made.

9. Take screenshots with the Share charm (Windows 8.1 only)

Windows 8.1 has improved the Charms concept from Windows 8, and they can also be used to take and share screenshots.

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Windows 8.1 comes with a bundle of many apps, from Sports and News to Finance and Health & Fitness. Chances are you are going to stumble upon some interesting content while using these apps, and you may want to quickly share a screenshot with it. Traditionally this meant using the PrtScn key, saving the screenshot in an image editor and then using another program to email the screenshot. Sounds like too much hassle, right? One of the great things about working with modern apps in Windows 8.1 is that you can quickly share screenshots with anyone. Here’s how it works.

How to Share Screenshots from Any Windows 8.1 App

To share a screenshot from any Windows 8.1 app, launch the app, and find the content that you want to share in your screenshot. Then, bring up the Charms bar and select the Share charm. A sidebar is displayed on the right-hand side of the screen. Click or tap the application’s name under the Share text and select Screenshot. A screenshot is automatically taken and you have the option of selecting the channel through which you want to share it – email by default, or any social networking apps you have installed.

Please note that you need to manually install the apps for the social networks you want to share to (Facebook, Twitter, etc). They are not bundled with Windows 8.1.

To exemplify the entire procedure, I’ve chosen two modern apps bundled with Windows 8.1: News and Video, and I’m going to show how to share screenshots from each of them.

How to Share Screenshots from the News App in Windows 8.1

You’ve been browsing through your News app and you found a good picture in one article. You want to share it with your friends on Facebook. Here’s how it is done:

screenshots, Windows 8.1, share, apps

To share screenshots from the News app, first make sure that you have the app on the screen. Bring up the Charms bar and select the Share charm.

screenshots, Windows 8.1, share, apps

Click or tap the News drop down menu and select Screenshot.

screenshots, Windows 8.1, share, apps

You will see a list with all the apps that you can use for sharing this screenshot. If you want to share on Facebook, tap the Facebook app.

screenshots, Windows 8.1, share, apps

A sidebar is displayed where you can add a description for the picture you are about to share. To post it, press the Post button.

screenshots, Windows 8.1, share, apps

How to Share Screenshots via Email from the Video App in Windows 8.1

Did you ever watch a movie or a short video that included a scene that’s just funny and you want to take a snapshot of it and share it with your friends? You can do that using the Share charm.

To share a screenshot from a video, pause the video at the moment you want to capture.

screenshots, Windows 8.1, share, apps

Bring up the Charms bar and select Share.

Click or tap the Video drop down menu and select Screenshot.

screenshots, Windows 8.1, share, apps

To share the screenshot via the Mail app, click or tap Mail.

screenshots, Windows 8.1, share, apps

Type the email address or the name of the person you want to send it to, in the To field. Then, type a message (if you want to) and click or tap the Send button in the upper right hand corner of the sidebar.

screenshots, Windows 8.1, share, apps

Which method do you like best for taking screenshots on PC or laptop?

As you can see, there are many ways to take screenshots on PC or laptop. Unless you have complex needs, you can use the built-in tools and features, without having to install third-party apps for this task. You get the same results, and it only takes a bit of effort. Before closing this tutorial, tell us what is your favorite way of taking screenshots on PC or laptop, in Windows. Comment below and let’s discuss.

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