I can’t say how grateful I am for the person who first thought of adding the screenshot feature to our computers. There’s always something to share. Be it for work, a game, or just to show your friends a cool snippet of a video. 

Although pressing ‘PrtSc’ is perhaps the most famous way to capture your screen, it’s not the only one. If you’re not even familiar with this method, no worries! In this article, I’ll explain how to screenshot on Windows with all the possible ways.

How to Take a Screenshot in WindowsHow to Take a Screenshot in Windows

Method 1: Using the Clipboard 

As you’ll see later on, there are a bunch of different keyboard shortcuts that capture your screen. Although they differ in the range they capture, they operate in a similar way: They copy your image into a virtual memory called ‘Clipboard’. All you have to do afterward is paste the screenshot wherever you need. 

By default, the Clipboard holds one entry. So as you’re taking the screenshot, avoid copying text, files, or anything else.

Step 1: Capture the Image

Use any of the following buttons or shortcuts according to the range you want to capture. 

Press Print Screen ‘PrtSc’ 

On the top right corner of your keyboard, you should find a button that says ‘Print Screen’ or ‘PrtSc’. Usually, it’s placed right above the Numpad, but some notebooks may have it above the Backspace. Also, if you find it printed in a color other than white, you’ll probably need to hold ‘Fn’ and ‘PrtSc’ together. 

After you press that button, Windows will capture the entire screen. If you’re using more than one display in the ‘Extend’ mode, the screenshot will capture a panoramic view of all the displayed data. 

Press Alt+PrtSc 

Instead of capturing the whole screen, you can press (Alt+PrtSc) to screenshot the currently active window. This can be helpful if you want to capture something for work while you’re checking your personal social media. 

But before pressing these buttons, make sure you’re highlighting the window of interest since the computer can’t really tell which window you need otherwise. You can easily do so by clicking anywhere inside the window. 

Hold Win+Shift+S

The latest Windows 10 Creators Update added lots of cool features to that amazing OS. And lucky for you, one of them was dedicated to screenshots. 

If you hold (Win+Shift+S), your screen should be covered with a transparent grey overlay. Afterward, left-click and drag your mouse to highlight the area you want to capture.

Step 2: Paste Your Screenshot

With the screenshot copied to your Clipboard, you can paste it anywhere that supports pasting images. For instance, you can press (Ctrl+V) in WhatsApp or Messenger to directly share the image with your friends. You can even paste it inside Gmail, but it won’t be sent as an attachment, though. 

If you want to save your image as a file that you can keep or send as an attachment, you’ll need to use the Paint desktop app as explained in the next step. 

Step 3: Use Paint to Save Your Screenshot

Paint was once the coolest program on the whole computer. Microsoft replaced it recently with Paint 3D, but I still favor the original for such simple tasks. 

To open it, type “Paint” in the taskbar’s search and click on the palette icon that appears. Then, press (Ctrl+V) to paste the screenshot that was stored in the Clipboard. You can directly save the image from File > Save as, or you can crop, draw shapes, or write a text first. 

Although Paint is supposedly the simplest, you can do the same steps with any image editing software like Photoshop, GIMP, etc. 

Method 2: Use the Auto-Saving Keyboard Shortcuts 

Unlike the shortcuts stated in the previous methods, the following ones won’t copy the screenshot to the clipboard. Instead, they’ll directly save it to your drive, which is way more helpful, if you ask me! 

Press Win+PrtSc 

Pressing (Win+PrtSc) will tell Windows to Capture a panoramic view of all your connected displays. By default, the screenshot will be saved to Pictures > Screenshots.

This feature works only on Windows 8 and 10. 

Press Win+G 

Hitting (Win+G) will open up the Game bar in Windows 10. From there, you can click on the screenshot icon or hold (Win+Alt+PrtSc). Either way, your image will be automatically saved in Videos > Captures. 

Contrary to what the name suggests, you can use this feature whether you’re gaming or not. 

Method 3: Use the Snipping Tool

All the Windows versions that came after Windows 7 have an extremely convenient program called Snipping Tool. I don’t wish to be decisive, but this has been my favorite screenshot tool for years. 

To open it, type “snip” in the taskbar’s search and click on the icon that shows. By default, clicking the New button will dim the screen and let you screenshot a section with your mouse. From the Mode button, you can also choose to snip a window, the whole screen, or freeform shape. 

Whatever you choose, the screenshot will be displayed in the same app after you capture it. You can apply minor edits with a pen, highlighter, and an eraser. Once you’re happy with the result, you can save the image on your computer from the floppy disk icon. 

On Windows 8 and 10, you’ll find a Delay icon next to Mode. This feature will tell the app to wait for 1 to 5 seconds before it captures your screen. This can be really helpful if you want to snip a particular frame from a video. 

Final Thoughts

How to screenshot on Windows? You’ve got plenty of shortcuts and built-in tools to help you with that. If you want my opinion, I think the Snipping Tool is the most reliable way. It can capture the whole screen, single window, small rectangle, or a freeform shape.

Want something more professional? You’ll find hundreds of third-party apps. Lightshot, for instance, allows you to do whatever you want with your images. I absolutely love how user-friendly its interface looks.