How to take a screenshot in Windows 10 and Windows 11

Gabriela Haynes
2 months ago

Taking screenshots can be a valuable and sometimes essential technical skill in the digital age. Whether you need to capture an error message for tech support or snap a screenshot of your latest high score for posterity, knowing how to take screenshots on Windows 10 PCs is invaluable.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how easy it is to take screenshots and how to save them so that they are available when you need them most. Read on to learn all the tips and tricks for taking snapshots in Windows 10.

Table of Contents

  1. Taking Screenshots With the Print Screen Key
  1. Take Screenshots With Snipping Tool
  1. Taking screenshots with Game Bar


Taking Screenshots With the Print Screen Key 

Pressing the Print Screen key on its own will capture a screenshot of your entire screen and save it as a PNG image file. Depending on your keyboard settings, pressing the PrtScn button may copy the screenshot to your clipboard so you can paste it into any application. To access the file, go to your “Pictures” folder, where you will find a folder labeled “Screenshots.” The files will be named with the date and time they were taken in descending order (most recent first).

Suppose you want to take a screenshot of only one window; press ALT + PrtScn simultaneously instead of just PrtScn. This will capture only the active window and not any other windows or apps open in the background. Again, depending on your keyboard settings, this may save the screenshot as an image file or copy it straight to your clipboard without saving it as a file first. Again, if saved as a file, go to “Pictures > Screenshots” to access it.

Useful Tips

When using PrtScn alone, try not to move anything onscreen before pressing the key – this will ensure that everything is captured precisely how it appears when pressing PrtScn.

Also, consider editing after taking screenshots – plenty of free tools are available for adding annotations, cropping images, and more if needed before sending or posting them elsewhere. Finally, don’t forget about screenshots being public domain once posted anywhere publicly – so always think twice before posting anything sensitive or personal!


Save a Screenshot to Your Clipboard

This process is straightforward and only takes a few seconds to complete. To take a screenshot, ensure that the screen you want to capture is visible on your monitor and press the Print Screen key (or Fn+Print Screen on some laptops).

As soon as you do this, Windows will save an image of the entire display to your clipboard. You can then open up an editor (such as Microsoft Paint) or a word processor (such as Microsoft Word) and select Edit > Paste or press Ctrl+V to paste the screenshot into the program. This image can also be saved in various file formats such as JPEG, TIFF, or PNG, depending on the program you use to edit it.

Take Screenshots With Snipping Tool

The Windows 10 Snipping Tool is a built-in application that allows users to take screenshots on their computers. It is a powerful tool that enables you to capture specific regions of your screen, including screenshots of delays and annotating them. It is an alternative to the classic Windows Vista Snipping Tool, which has been phased out in favor of the modern Snip & Sketch tool. The Snip & Sketch tool includes all the same features as the original Snipping Tool, plus more.

To open and use the Windows 10 Snipping Tool, you can press Windows+Shift+S or search for “Snip & Sketch” in your Start menu or the Cortana search bar. After opening up the application, you will see options for taking various types of snips, such as free-form snips, rectangular snips, window snips, and full-screen snips, at the top of your screen. More information on them:

  • Rectangular Snip. A rectangular overlay will appear over your screen when you click on the Rectangular Snip button. You can then move the sides of this rectangle to adjust its size and shape. Once you have the area you want, click anywhere to take a screenshot of just that area. Windows will save the image as an image file, such as a .jpg or .png. This snipping tool is helpful for quickly capturing screenshots of specific areas of your screen without having to crop images afterward manually.
  • Freeform Snip. This allows you to draw any shape (such as circles, triangles, etc.) with your cursor on your screen and capture a screenshot of that drawn area. To use this snipping mode, click the Freeform Snip button and draw with your cursor or stylus where desired. When finished, click anywhere inside the drawn area or press Enter key to take the screenshot. The captured image will be saved in a file format such as .jpg or .png. This snipping tool is great for taking screenshots of irregularly shaped objects or sections of your screen which are otherwise hard to capture using other methods.
  • Window Snip. The Window Snip button allows you to take a screenshot of an individual window on your display. All you need to do is position the crosshair cursor over the window you wish to capture and click once – Windows will automatically save a full-sized image file containing just that window’s contents in formats such as .jpg or .png. This snipping tool is useful when you wish to quickly share what’s currently being displayed in a separate window without having to capture multiple screenshots and combine them into one afterward. 
  • Fullscreen Snip. By clicking on Fullscreen Snip, you can instantly take a screenshot of all displays connected to your computer at once! No matter how many screens are connected or large, Windows will create one single image file (.jpg or .png) containing everything currently visible across all displays connected at once! This feature is excellent if you can share what’s happening across multiple displays simultaneously without combining separate images afterward.
  • Close Snipping. By pressing either the Esc key on your keyboard or selecting Close Snipping from the overlay itself, you can immediately quit this mode without taking a screenshot! No worries about accidentally capturing something unwanted – simply close out and try again later if needed! To take a screenshot with this tool, all you need to do is select one of these options and then draw around (or click on) whatever it is that you would like to capture!

Useful Tips

For those who are new to using the Windows 10 Snipping Tool, here are some tips that may help:

  • Always make sure you have sufficient desktop space before attempting a screenshot so that it captures all desired content without any overflowing edges.
  • If you want to take a screenshot quickly without needing to adjust anything beforehand, just press Windows+Shift+S.
  • To copy content from multiple windows into one screenshot, just press Alt+PrtScn, which will add each viewport to one image saved onto your clipboard.
  • When using free-form snippet mode, keep pressing Shift while outlining, so it snaps into place along straight lines instead of jagged.
  • You can also crop existing screenshots by selecting ‘Edit & Share’ from within your applications menu bar at any time after taking a screenshot.

Annotate or Crop a Screenshot

Annotating and cropping screenshots can be a great way to save time and make sure that important information is communicated effectively. Capturing data from the screen, such as a website page or an image, is often the easiest way to share something quickly with others. But if that screenshot needs to be further edited in some way, annotating or cropping it can be invaluable.

When you take a screenshot, the system will notify you that your capture was successfully copied to your clipboard. You can then paste it into any other application or program that supports images using the ‘Edit > Paste’ option or pressing Ctrl+V. If the notification disappears before you click it, you can find it in Windows 10’s Action Center.

Clicking on this notification will open the Snip & Sketch app, where you’ll be presented with various options to annotate or edit your image – such as writing on it, highlighting specific areas, erasing parts, or even cropping sections out of the whole. Also, if you want to save your shot as an image file instead of sending it elsewhere, there is a dedicated ‘Save’ button that allows you to do just that. Depending on your Snip & Sketch window size, all these options may appear on the top toolbar or be spread across several different menus. 

Furthermore, suppose you need more advanced options while editing your screenshots, such as saving them in various formats – like JPG, PNG, and GIF – or setting up custom shortcuts for taking captures quickly and easily. In that case, Windows 10 offers users these features too! All they need to do is visit their Settings > Ease of Access menu, where they’ll find all sorts of useful tools and functions related to taking screenshots and snipping images from their computer screen.

Annotating a screenshot allows you to highlight or draw attention to certain areas of the image so that your audience more easily understands specific points. You can use tools like arrows, text boxes, and highlighters to draw attention to important parts of the screenshot and explain precisely what’s happening. The annotation also provides opportunities for adding additional context or notes to clarify any confusing points about the image.

Snip & Sketch includes convenient tools like arrows, text boxes, and highlighters for annotating images without requiring additional tools. At the same time, its crop feature offers preset crop ratios that allow users to quickly select an area of interest on the fly without manually adjusting widths and heights – a handy feature for mobile device screenshots where capturing precise dimensions is essential for proper scaling across different platforms.

Take a Delayed Screenshot

In some cases, taking a screenshot on a delay can be a handy tool in helping you capture certain menu items, interface elements, or other digital assets that may only appear when they are interacted with. Windows 10’s Snip & Sketch application allows users to take screenshots on a three-second or ten-second delay – making it easy to capture exactly what you need when you need it.

You’ll need to open the Snip & Sketch window to access this feature. To do this, click the Start button (or press the Windows Key) and search for “Snip & Sketch.” The shortcut should appear within search results – select it and launch the application window. Once the window is open, look for the down arrow next to the “New” button and set either “Snip in 3 seconds” or “Snip in 10 seconds,” depending on how much time you want between pressing the button and taking your screenshot. This gives you plenty of time to focus and set up whatever element or data point you want to capture before taking your screenshot. 

Snip & Sketch’s delayed image options can come in handy if you’re looking for a quick way to capture certain items that may not always appear until they are interacted with. Plus, having control over your timing and exactly what gets captured can help ensure that your screenshots are both precise and accurate each time.

Taking screenshots with Game Bar

The Xbox Game Bar is a gaming-focused overlay on Windows 10. It can be used for taking screenshots and recording videos of games or other applications running on your PC. The Game Bar also has features such as quick access to settings, a sound mixer, and more.  

To access the Game Bar, press the combination of keys Windows+G while a game or application is running on your PC. Alternatively, you can click an icon on the taskbar if one appears when you launch a game or application. Once the window opens up, you’ll see various controls, such as options to take a screenshot or record a video. 

  1. By default, pressing the key combination of Windows+Alt+Print Screen will take a screenshot of the game or desktop application with the Game Bar open. If you wish to record a video instead, select “Record” from within the Game Bar window.  
  2. You can customize keyboard shortcuts for taking screenshots and recording videos from within Settings > Gaming > Xbox Game Bar.  
  3. Once you finish recording or take a screenshot with the Game Bar active, you’ll see a “Screenshot saved” notification appear at the bottom-right corner of your screen, allowing you to view it immediately (or later). You can also save these files elsewhere by opening its folder from within File Explorer (located at %localappdata%\Packages\Microsoft.XboxGameOverlay_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalState).

Useful Tips

When taking screenshots or recording videos with the Xbox GameBar in Windows 10, several tips may help improve your experience: 

  • Always make sure that visuals look clear before starting – check that windows are appropriately sized/positioned, and no background items are obscuring essential elements;
  • Consider using external hardware such as microphones for higher-quality audio recordings;
  • Make sure programs aren’t running in fullscreen mode when capturing footage; this might affect performance;
  • If performance isn’t satisfactory when capturing footage, consider lowering graphics settings; this will reduce strain on your CPU/GPU; finally • Always check file sizes before saving – larger files will consume more disk space but offer better image/video quality overall.

In conclusion

Screenshots are an important part of collaboration and documentation for Windows users. Luckily, there are plenty of screenshot solutions to take care of your screenshot needs on Windows. Do you have a favorite tool for taking screenshots in Windows? Let us know in the comments below!