Taking a screenshot is extremely easy on Windows and is a valuable skill as it comes in handy for several situations. For instance, if you’re facing an error, it would be easier for the technical support to assist you than a regular conversation.
In addition, if you’re a student or an employee, you can skip writing details and screenshot any desired information. Apart from these situations, there are countless uses for the screenshot feature on Windows; hence, knowing how to take a screenshot is necessary.
In this article, we will explain how to take a screenshot on Windows in 4 different ways. In addition, we will explain how to take a screenshot using a prominent third-party screenshot software for added features and enhanced flexibility.
See also: How to Take a Screenshot on Mac (incl. M1 M2)
- Windows offers two built-in screenshot tools, the Snipping Tool and Snip and Sketch, which allowyou to capture screenshots in different modes and offer basic editing options.
- To take a screenshot using the Snipping Tool, open the tool, select the desired mode, capture the screenshot, and save it.
- To take a screenshot using Snip and Sketch, enable the “prt sc” key to open the tool, select the desired mode, capture the screenshot, edit and save it.
- Third-party screenshot software, such as Snagitoffers advanced features for screenshot capture and editing but may need to be purchased or subscribed to use all features.
Using built-in snipping tool
The snipping tool is part of the Windows utility package, allowing users to capture screenshots. The best part of the Snipping tool is its ease of use, as the user doesn’t require any technical knowledge to operate it.
With the snipping tool, you can save time and increase productivity while having the flexibility to Free-form, Rectangular, Window, and Full-screen Snip. Once the screenshot is taken, you get basic editing options which are good to have.
Even though it is reliable, it does come with a few issues where limited features and image formats are the most significant downsides. Apart from these, it is arguably one of the best in-built tools offered by Windows.
Here are detailed steps on how to use the Snipping tool to take a screenshot on Windows;
- Open the Snipping tool on your device by typing “Snipping Tool” in the Windows search bar. The first result from the best match is the one we are looking for.
- Once the Snipping tool is loaded, start with the mode and select one of the four snip options that best suit your screenshot needs. You can also set a delay before taking a snap, adding flexibility.
- After modifying all the options, you can take a screenshot by clicking the “New” button. By doing so, the screen greys out, and the area you captured using the pointer displays a clear screen with a red border.
- The screenshot is successfully captured on leaving the pointer, and Snipping Tool will display the captured image. You can instantly edit the capture using a pen, highlighter, or eraser.
- If you’re satisfied with the capture, save it by navigating to the “File” option and clicking the “Save As” option from the drop-down. Now click on “Save as,” which opens a new Window, select the desired location to save the screenshot, and you’re done.
Pro-Tip: You no longer need to save the screenshots to paste them on several applications. The screenshot is available on the clipboard with the “alt + prt sc” key combination.
This tip is handy as the screenshot added to the clipboard can be pasted on multiple applications and used much as needed.
Using the “prt sc” key (Snip and Sketch)
The Snip and Sketch application was introduced in Windows 10 and is the updated version of the O.G. – Snipping Tool. In the new Snip and Sketch, several features are added along with key shortcut support to open instantly without the need to search in the Windows search bar.
One way to open “Snip and Sketch” is using the “Ctrl+Shift+S” key combination, and the other is using the “prt sc” key. However, the “prt sc” key isn’t mapped to open “Snip and Sketch” by default, and one has to enable it in the settings to make it work.
Note: “Snipping Tool” and “Snip and Sketch” are merged on Windows 11. Hence, the user has to use the Snipping tool instead of Snip and Sketch on Windows 11.
Here is how to make the “prt sc” key to take a screenshot:
- Open “Settings” by typing in the Windows search bar or using the “Windows+X” combination and clicking on Settings. Once the settings are open, navigate to “Ease of Access” and click on it.
- Under “Ease of Access,” look for the “Interaction section” by scrolling down the quick access menu on the left. Now click the “Keyboard” option, which displays the associated settings on the right.
Scroll down and enable the toggle button under the “Print Screen Shortcut,” which maps the “Snip and Sketch” to the “prt sc” button. Once done with step 2, restart your device to use the “prt sc” button to open Snip and Sketch.
- Taking screenshots using “Snip and Sketch” is similar to the Snipping tool, where you’re offered four snipping modes – Rectangular, Freeform, Window, and Fullscreen snip.
- Like the Snipping tool, the screen greys out, and the area you captured using the pointer displays a clear screen with a white border.
- Leaving the pointer after dragging the specific area captures the screenshot, and a notification pops up, which needs to be opened to edit or save the screenshot.
- On clicking, the notification displays the captured image in the “Snip and Sketch” window with an intuitive interface. Similar to the Snipping tools, the edits can be made instantly, but the most significant change with the new “Snip and Sketch” is the new editing tools and the advanced options.
- Clicking on the “Save Icon” on the top right corner of the “Snip and Sketch” window opens the “Save as” window. Now select the desired location to save the screenshot, and you have successfully taken a screenshot using the “prt sc” key.
Pro-Tip: Take screenshots quicker without going through the entire process using “Snip and Sketch” or “Snipping Tool.” Instead, use the “Windows logo key + prt sc key” combination to take a quick screenshot of the entire screen.
You can find these screenshots at “C:\Users\-User Name-\Pictures\Screenshots.”
Using Xbox Game Bar
The “Snipping Tool” and “Snip and Sketch” are great ways to take screenshots on Windows. However, they can’t be used on every application, and games are one among them.
The Xbox Game Bar has multiple widgets associated with Gaming, where screen and video capturing are among them. With Xbox Game Bar, a gamer can capture and share their gaming experiences without the need to leave the game.
Additionally, the user gets support with the “Widget Store” support featuring a variety of widgets and apps, boosting the gaming experience further on Windows 10/11.
Here are detailed steps on how to use the Xbox Game Bar to take a screenshot on Windows:
- Open the Xbox Game Bar on your device by typing “Xbox Game Bar” in the Windows search bar or using the “Windows Logo Key +G” combination.
- Once the Xbox Game Bar is loaded, you can see multiple widgets associated with Gaming. Now, look for the widget named “Capture.”
- Start taking a screenshot by clicking the camera icon inside the Capture widget.
- Once you click on the camera icon inside the Capture widget, the screenshot is taken. You can confirm the capture from the notification “Screenshot saved.”
- Now you can check your screenshots by clicking on the “See my captures” option, which displays all the screenshots you have taken through the Xbox Game Gallery.
Using a 3rd party screenshot tool
If you’re unsatisfied with the built-in tools Windows offers, here’re some popular 3rd-party screenshot utilities you may try out.
- Snagit: Beginning with essential features such as All-in-One capture and Scrolling Screen capture, they have come in handy in multiple situations to capture images and record videos.
- LightShot: A free choice for quick screenshots, and the online editor comes in handy for instant edits. The “Similar Image Search” is great for generic everyday unofficial purposes.
- PicPick: Comes with an intuitive interface, all features of PicPick are handy, and the built-in screen recorder tool makes it unique.
- ShareX: A meant for pro-users, and cloud support makes it reliable. You must check out “URL Generation” file-sharing support while using ShareX.
- Greenshot: Another free option for basic use,the quick sharing and customizable hotkeys help increase productivity and are worth trying.
From our test, the most popular one is Snagit (read our full review). It is easy and doesn’t require any learning. While taking a screenshot for the first use, Snagit provides you with a tutorial on how to use it, which is very reliable.
Here is how to take a screenshot on Windows 10/11 using Snagit:
- Start by opening the application you want to capture, and ensure it is not running in the background.
- Now open the Capture window and look for the “All-in-One tab” option.
- Clicking the “All-in-One tab” opens the associated content to the right.
- Now look for the big red circular button named “Capture” on it.
- After clicking on the “Capture” button displays theorange crosshair.
- Drag the desired area and click the “Image Capture button” from the “All-in-One toolbar” to take a screenshot.
Taking screenshots used to be a hassle on Windows before, and one has to rely on third-party software to get the job done. With the built-in screenshot tools available in Windows, the user can now easily take screenshots.
The flexibility offered by the built-in Windows screenshot tools is impressive, where capturing a full screen, a specific window, or a selected area is no longer impossible.
By following all the methods and the simple steps associated with taking screenshots using in-built Windows screenshot tools, you can take a screenshot in a matter of seconds.