The ability to take screenshots of all or part of the screen can be useful in many scenarios. For example, when you want to share some interesting content with others or need help when an error message appears on your computer or if you want to save a copy of a form before sending it, keep proof of something or prepare a guide like this one.
We will guide you through the different ways of taking screenshots of the entire screen, just from a particular active window, or a scene from your favorite game.
Here are the ways to capture screenshots in Windows 10:
Taking screenshots using Windows 10
Outside the box, Windows 10 includes some ways to take screenshots of the entire screen or active window.
1. Print screen using the keyboard shortcut: PrtScn (Print Screen) or CTRL + PrtScn
This is the best-known method and works on all versions of Windows: Press the PrtScn (Print Screen) key or the CTRL + PrtScn keys on your keyboard. Windows creates a screenshot of the entire screen and saves it to the clipboard. Then, open an image editing program such as Paint and paste the image from the clipboard. Then, you can save it as a file and even do a basic edition.
If you want to take a screenshot of the entire screen and save it as a file on your hard drive, without using any other tool, press Windows + PrtScn on your keyboard. Windows stores the screenshot in the Pictures folder, in the Screenshots folder. The file is named as “Screenshot (number) .png”, where the number will vary according to the number of screenshots you have taken.
2. Print screen using the keyboard shortcut: Alt + PrtScn
You can take screenshots of the active window. Open the window you would like to capture and press Alt + PrtScn on your keyboard. The screenshot is saved in the clipboard. Open Paint or any other photo editing software and paste the image to edit it and save it to your computer.
If you have a laptop or a keyboard with the Fn key, do this instead of the first three methods:
The first three methods should work perfectly on Windows desktop computers with a standard keyboard. However, if you have a laptop with an Fn key, the PrtScn key will also do other things, not only take screenshots. Hence, when you press the PrtScn key, it will not take a screenshot. So you may have to use one of the following keyboard shortcuts:
Fn + PrtScn: takes a screenshot of the entire screen and copies it to the clipboard. It is the equivalent of pressing the standard PrtScn button.
Fn + Windows + PrtScn: takes a screenshot of the entire screen and saves it as a file on the hard disk, without using any third-party tool. Windows stores the screenshot in the Pictures folder, in the Screenshots folder.
Fn + Alt + PrtScn: take a screenshot of the active window. It is the same as pressing Alt + PrtScn on a standard keyboard.
On some keyboards, the PrtScn button may not perform two or more actions. However, it will not work until you press the Fn lock key. On such keyboards, the Fn key works as a padlock for the function and the multimedia keys on the top, including the Print Screen button.
If you have a keyboard of this type, press the Fn key to unlock the top row of keys and then use the shortcuts that we described in the first three sections of this article. They should work now.
3. Use the keyboard shortcut: Windows + Shift + S (only in Windows 10)
If you use Windows 10, press Windows + Shift + S to capture a particular region of your screen and copy it to your clipboard. After pressing Windows + Shift + S, the screen appears dimmed and a cursor is displayed that you can use to draw on the screen the region you want to capture in a screenshot. Draw the area you want to capture and release the mouse cursor.
The screenshot is saved in the clipboard. Open Paint or any other photo editing application and paste the screenshot so you can edit and save it.
4. Use the Snipping tool
The Snipping Tool is the free desktop application for taking screenshots. You can create all kinds of screenshots, and you can also use it to make a light edition. Look for the words “cutting tool or snipping tool” in the search box of the Start menu (if using Windows 10 or Windows 7) or on the Start screen (if using Windows 8.1) and click or tap the corresponding search result.
The delay function in the Windows 10 clipping tool is useful when you need to make a complex screen captures on the fly. You can choose between 0 and 5 seconds (the default is 0). Once you have chosen your delay time, choose the type of cut you want to make by clicking on the arrow next to New (free, rectangular, window or full screen).