How to Take a Screenshot on Windows 10

Are you new to taking screenshots on Windows 10 and you are wondering how to go about it? If yes, then this quick tutorial has got you covered. A screenshot is simply an image representation of your screen whether a part of it or the entire screen. There are tons of methods you can use in order to take a screenshot on Windows 10 and you only need to choose one that works best for you. Besides using third party tools, Windows 10 creators did a pretty good job by including built-in screenshot functionalities. In this article, we will take a look at both sides of the coin that is built-in as well as third-party tools. Let’s get into it.

Option 1: Using windows 10 built-in screenshot functionalities

Windows 10 comes with a couple of built-in functionalities which makes it easy to take a screenshot on the go without having to install a third-party tool. They may not be feature-rich but they are pretty handy and reliable. Here are the methods you can use in order to access the built-in screenshot functionalities:

Method 1: taking screenshots using the Print Screen key

Every keyboard comes with the Print Screen key whose functionality is supported on almost all computer operating systems. The Print Screen key on your keyboard may be labeled “prt sc”, “PrtScrn” or “PrtScn”. This key works pretty much the same on Windows as it would on Linux and other platforms. With the Print Screen key, you have two options, you can take a screenshot of the entire screen or a screenshot of an active window.

Taking a screenshot of the entire screen using Print Screen

  • Step 1: Go ahead and press the “Print Screen” key. If this key has been used in combination with another input functionality like “insert”, you will have to press the function key first i.e. press “fn + PrtScn” simultaneously. Now the screenshot will be copied on the clipboard.
  • Step 2: To save, press “Windows key + fn + PrtScn”. If your PrtScn key is independent, exclude the function key. When being saved you will note the screen dims in a split second. The screenshot will then be saved in the directory THIS PC > Pictures > Screenshots. If these shortcuts don’t save your screenshot, you can alternatively open the Paint app and press “Ctrl + V” to paste the screenshot from your clipboard. Press the small floppy disk icon at the top, choose the storage directory, give a name to your file and press the “save” button.

Taking a screenshot of an active window using Print Screen

  • Step 1: Open the window you want to take a screenshot of.
  • Step 2: Go ahead and press “Alt + PrtScn”. If the PrtScn key has two functionalities, press “Alt + fn + PrtScn”. This should capture the active window while excluding the rest of the screen. Use the same procedure as we did above in order to save the file.

Method 2: taking screenshots with windows snipping tool

The snipping tool is a simple and lightweight app that comes pre-installed on Windows 10. Here is how you can use it to take screenshots:

  • Step 1: Go to the search bar and type in “Snipping Tool” and select the first result to open the snipping tool.
  • Step 2: In the small window that appears, click “New”. The mouse cursor should change to a plus sign. Now hold the left mouse button and drag the plus sign on the area you want to take a snip.

  • Step 3: Release the mouse button when you have covered the desired area. A new window should pop up showing a couple of options as well as the screenshot. Click on the floppy disk icon in order to start saving.

  • Step 4: Choose the directory you want to save and designate a name for the file. Now press the “save” button.

Note: The Snipping Tool will be replaced by Snip & Sketch on a future Windows update.

Method 3: using the new Snip & Sketch tool (Windows logo key + Shift + S)

Snip & Sketch tool works the same way as the Snipping tool although it comes with some new and improved features. The major difference is the interface. Here is how you can use Snip & Sketch tool to take screenshots:

  • Step 1: Go to the search bar and type in “Snip & Sketch”. Select the first option from the results. Alternatively, you can open Snip & Sketch by pressing “Windows logo Key + Shift + S”.

  • Step 2: On the Snip & Sketch window, click on “New”.

  • Step 3: After the screen dims, you will have four options for creating a snip – rectangular snip, freeform snip, window snip, and full screen snip. Go ahead and select the mode that you prefer. Window snip and full screen snip will not require you to drag the cursor. If you select window snip, just click into the window that you want to capture. Full screen snap captures the screen immediately when that option is selected.

  • Step 4: After you are done capturing, click on the floppy disk icon to start saving.

  • Step 5: Choose a preferred directory to save the file. Designate a name for the file and tap on the “save” button.

Method 4: Using the Game bar tool

Game bar is a tool used to broadcast, record and take screenshots of your gameplay. This is probably the last option you can think of since all the other methods above are simpler and work perfectly that is unless you want to capture gameplay on Xbox. Although this method can also be used to capture screenshots of other windows apart from Xbox gameplay. The drawback of this method is that for it to work on other windows, the Xbox Console Companion needs to be opened. Here is how to capture screenshots using Game bar:

  • Step 1: Go to the search bar and type in “Xbox Console Companion” and select the first option from the results.
  • Step 2: Now, minimize the Xbox Console Companion window and open whichever window you want to capture.
  • Step 3: Go ahead and press “Windows logo key + Alt + PrtScn”. If the PrtScn key is not independent, include the function key i.e. “Windows logo key + Alt + fn + PrtScn”. Tap the checkbox if prompted to “Enable gaming features for this app to record gameplay”. The capture will then be saved to Users > THIS PC > Videos > Captures.

You can easily change the keyboard shortcuts for taking screenshots using the game bar in case the ones above are too overwhelming. To do that:

  • Step 1: Open the Xbox Console Companion app.
  • Step 2: Click on the cog icon to open Xbox settings.

  • Step 3: Go ahead and select “Captures”.

  • Step 4: Now, click on “Windows Settings”. Tap on the “Yes” button when prompted to confirm.

  • Step 5: A new window will pop up. Make sure “Game bar” is selected on the left side menu. Scroll down to where “Take Screenshot” is and enter your preferred key combination.

Option 2: Using third-party tools

While the Windows 10 built-in screenshot functionalities will usually get the job done, third party tools offer more features and functionalities. These tools will go where the built-in features won’t. For example, some can generate a link that can be shared over the web. Here are two examples of third-party screenshot tools and how you can use them:

1. ShareX

ShareX packs a lot of features suited for productivity and professional use so this is just a brief overview of what this tool can do.

  • Go ahead and download ShareX and install it.
  • After the installation, launch the app.
  • To capture an active window using ShareX, press “Alt + PrtScn” or “Alt + fn + PrtScn”.
  • To capture a region on the screen, press “Ctrl + PrtScn” or “Ctrl + fn + PrtScn”.
  • To capture the entire screen, press “PrtScn” or “fn + PrtScn”.
  • These functionalities can also be carried out in-app with just a click.
  • ShareX also allows you to pre-define tasks that will be carried out after a screenshot has been taken. Not forgetting it comes with an image editor.

2. Greenshot

This tool is pretty straight forward and simple but it is quite effective.

  • Go ahead and download Greenshot and install it.
  • Open the app after installation. This app does not have an interface. To know the app is running, you should see the Greenshot icon in the system tray.
  • To take a screenshot of a specific section on the screen, press the “PrtScn” key or “fn + PrtScn”. Drag the plus sign while holding down the left mouse button.
  • To take a screenshot of the entire screen, press “Ctrl + PrtScn” or “Ctrl + fn + PrtScn”.
  • To take a screenshot of an active window, press “Alt + PrtScn” or “Alt + fn + PrtScn”.
  • After you have captured the screen or a section of the screen, the window below will appear:

  • Select “Save as” from the list of options in order to save the file on your computer.
  • To generate a link that can be shared over the web, go ahead and select “Upload to Imgur”.

Learn more about the new Windows Terminal here.

Other popular third-party tools for taking screenshots

  • Lightshot
  • Snagit
  • Light screen
  • Fireshot
  • Jing
  • Tinytake

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