take screenshots on windows - snip and sketch

How to take screenshots on windows

Taking screenshots is an essential skill everyone must know.

There are different devices and different operating systems, which all have their own methods to take screenshots. You all may know how to take a screenshot on an Android mobile device by holding the power button plus volume down key together. It’s pretty straightforward on Android.

When it comes to Windows 10 or Windows 7, there is more than one way to do a screen capture. The numerous methods to take a screenshot include capturing the entire computer screen or just a selected part of the window. Screenshots can be helpful for a variety of reasons. You may need it to keep a record, to show someone what’s happening on your screen, or to help solve an error with tech support.

The basic ways include using the game bar, print screen key, and snipping tool. All of them have their pros and cons. Some are faster, but some allow you to capture a specific part or edit it after capturing your screenshot.

Let’s look into each way one by one and discuss their benefits.

What is the keyboard shortcut for the screenshot?

The easiest and most convenient way to take a screenshot in windows is by using the Print Screen Key. This key can be found on the top row, usually beside the F12 key. It may be named PrtSc, PrtScn, PrintScreen, or Print Scrn button depending on the keyboard you are using.

How to take a screenshot by print screen key:

Take a screenshot of the whole screen

By simply pressing the PrtScn button once, the system automatically takes a screenshot of the entire screen. When you press the print screen button, nothing seems to happen, but windows have taken the screenshot of your entire screen and copied it to the clipboard. You can then paste the copied screenshot anywhere from the clipboard, such as an image editor application like Microsoft Paint or any program that supports images like Microsoft Word. You can simply press Ctrl + V to paste.

Take a full screen screenshot on Windows with print screen

On some laptops, pressing the print screen key alone doesn’t work, you need to hold the function key and then press the print screen key.

Take a screenshot of only the active window

Sometimes you may require to take a screenshot of only the active window instead of the full screen. For this, you need to use the keyboard shortcut Alt + Print Screen key. This will copy the screenshot of the active window to the clipboard, and you can paste it anywhere.

2 Press Alt + Print Screen button to take screenshot of a single window or a specific window

Automatically save your screenshot

You may require to take a screenshot and save it automatically. For this, you need to press and hold the Windows key (the button with the Windows logo) and then press the PrtScn key to save the entire screen as an image. This image can be found in the Screenshots folder, which can be found in the Pictures folder. This procedure is useful when you want to save your screenshot in a folder for later use. You can anytime access the pictures screenshots from the screenshots folder.

All of these methods are applicable to both windows 10 and windows 7. They both have the same features regarding when taking screenshots with print screen.

Press Windows key + Print Screen to automatically save entire screen as a PNG image file

How to take a screenshot by Game bar:

The game bar or Xbox game bar is an overlay that can be used to capture screenshots or record videos. The tool is already preinstalled on Windows and works on almost all games, apps, and software.

You can enable the game bar by typing “Enable Xbox Game Bar” from the Windows search bar then toggle on record game clips, chat with friends, and receive game invites.

Use game bar to record video or do screen captures

Here’s how you can capture a screenshot with the game bar.

Step1) Bring up the desired window, game, screenshot screen or application of which you want to take a screenshot.

take a screenshot by Game bar - step 1
Step2) Press and hold the windows key, and then press “G”. The game bar overlay will appear.

take a screenshot by Game bar - step 2
Step 3) Click on the camera icon, located on the top left side, under “Capture.” This will take a screenshot of the active window. The shot screen and video clips captured will be saved in PNG file format. You can find them in the “Captures” folder located in the “Videos” folder. This does not copy the pictures of the screenshots to the clipboard.

Click the screenshot button ("Capture" button). A screen capture from game bar will be automatically saved as PNG format

You can also take a screenshot of an active game screen by pressing the windows key, the Alt key, and then the PrtScn key together. Taking a screenshot using the game bar with this keyboard shortcut is much faster.

How to take a screenshot by Snipping tool:

Snipping tool is a screenshot tool that comes preinstalled with Windows 10. This utility is also available on Windows 7 and Windows Vista. It comes installed with both versions of windows. This utility allows you to snip and save it anywhere as an image in windows 10.

Though Snipping Tool isn’t available on the list of apps accessed in the Start menu, you still can look for it on the Search bar. Let’s see how the snipping tool works.

Step 1) Make sure you’re on the screen of windows, app, or software which you want to take screenshots of.

Step 2) Run the snipping tool from the start menu.

Run Snipping Tool, one of built in tools in Windows to take a screenshot

Step 3) Under “Mode”, select how you wish to take a screenshot.

Free form snip, rectangular snip, window snip, and fullscreen snip options

Step 4) Proceed by clicking on “New.” Your current screen will freeze, and you can freely select part of the windows, by dragging the cursor. Once you have selected it, you will be returned to the Snipping tool window.

Open screen snipping

Step 5) Now you can either copy the screenshot to the clipboard, or you can save it to your desired directory.

How to take a screenshot by Snipping tool - step 5

With the snipping tools, you also have the option to delay when the screenshot is taken. You can delay it by 1 second, 2 seconds, 3 seconds, 4 seconds, and 5 seconds. This may be useful in places where the part of which you want to snap, does not appear on the screen immediately. You can delay when the screen freezes and when to take the screenshot.

>Set delay in snipping tool

The snipping tool is being moved, and windows recommend its users to use snip sketch instead of it. A snip sketch is a similar tool, but with a bit more features than the snipping tool. Both of them are used to take screenshots.

How to take a screenshot by Snip & Sketch:

Snip sketch is another software that comes preinstalled on the latest version of Windows 10. This software was not preinstalled on the older versions, but if you update windows, you’ll find the snip sketch software. This tool gives you more flexibility when taking a screenshot. With the snip sketch, you have ether option to annotate your screenshot before saving it. Let’s see how it works.

Step 1) Open Snip & Sketch from the Start Menu. You can also use the keyboard shortcut of the Windows key (the button with Windows logo) + Shift + S to open the Snip & Sketch tool.

Using Snip & Sketch app instead of old Snipping Tool

Step 2) Click on “New” on the top left corner of the windows.

After opening the Snip & Sketch window, click "New" button to start your screen capture

Step 3) The current screen will freeze, and you’ll find a small menu bar on the top. From the bar, you can choose your desired options if you want a rectangular snip, free form snip, window snip, or a full screen snip. Proceed by highlighting the area you wish to snip by dragging the cursor or capturing the entire screen.

Take a screenshot of full screen or specific window by Snip & Sketch

Step 4) The captured snip will be copied to your clipboard and shown in a notification panel on the bottom right corner of your screen. You can paste it to drawing tools like Microsoft Paint with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + V. You can also simply click the notification panel and the snip will get loaded to the snip sketch window.

Preview of the Snip on the notification panel bottom right corner of the screen

Step 5) Here in the snip & sketch window you can annotate the snip with different options.

Annotate screenshots in Snip & Sketch

Step 6) Finally when you’re ready, you can either copy the snip to the clipboard, or you can save it as an image to your desired directory.

Snip & Sketch offers more advanced features compared to Snipping Tool

Taking screenshots with this tool is easier and offers more control—this isn’t an upgraded version of the snipping tool but rather an alternative to the snipping tool.


As you can see, there are various ways to take screenshots, with each method having different benefits. Why not try out each of our listed procedures, so you can determine the most efficient workflow to take your screenshots.

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