How to take a Screenshot in Windows 10

Whether you’re creating a guide for a friend or documenting a live event like meetings or webinars that’s happening on your monitor, it definitely helps to know the different ways as to how to get a snapshot of your screen. Here’s how to take a screenshot in Windows 10 – and it’s pretty easy to do.

To get a screenshot or a screencap as some might call it, you have several tools at your disposal:

  • Using your Keyboard Print Screen Function
  • Keyboard Tricks
  • Advanced Keyboard Tricks
  • Using the Snipping Tool
  • Using your App’s screenshot tool

Some of these tricks might be something that you already know, but some of them might be new to you. We’ll outline the steps for each of the tricks for your reading pleasure. Let’s jump right in!

Using your Keyboard Print Screen Function

Perhaps the most well-known of all the methods to take a screenshot in Windows 10 is using the PRTSCN button on your keyboard. It’s usually next to the scroll lock button, though your keyboard layout might be different. Here’s how it looks like on my keyboard right now (pardon the dust that’s collecting on it):

Some keyboards might have it as Prt Scr, Prt Sc, Print Screen or some combination of those words. But in any case, here’s the step by step procedure.

  1. Press your keyboard’s Print Screen Function to capture your entire screen.
  2. Once you’ve pressed the button, you’ll have to paste it in an image editing program. MS Paint is the most accessible, so open that on your computer.
  3. Paste your screen capture by pressing CTRL + V on your keyboard
  4. Save your file!

It sounds like a tedious process but it’s the method that mostly everyone knows. However, there are tricks that you can do on your keyboard.

Keyboard Tricks

If you just wanted to capture just a portion of your screen, like a browser that you’re doing a review for, or a Steam chat that you want to share to your friends, you can do it by simply doing a certain keyboard combination.

Let’s say you wanted to take a screenshot of just the active window that you’re using. You would just simply need to use the keyboard combination ALT + PRTSCRN and you should be able to get a screen capture of the window that you’re using. Here’s a breakdown of the steps:

  1. Press ALT + PRTSCRN on your keyboard to capture your active screen.
  2. Once you’ve pressed the button combination, you’ll have to paste it in an image editing program like Paint or Photoshop.
  3. Paste your screen capture by pressing CTRL + V on your keyboard
  4. Save your file!

If you take a screenshot this method, the results are amazing. Here’s what my search for the Print screen button looks like by just using the Print Screen function straight away.

And here’s what you get if you use ALT + Print Screen.

This is great to know if you’re in the search to just take a screenshot in Windows 10 active windows. But there are more advanced tricks than this. What would you do if you find out that you don’t necessarily have to paste in paint to get a screenshot? Well, I’m pretty sure that will increase your productivity tenfold!

Advanced Keyboard Tricks

Windows 8 added a secret feature that not everyone knows about, but it’s something that everyone would LOVE to know about. The feature still persists in Windows 10, and it’s absolutely one of the best ways as to how to take a screenshot in Windows 10.

The secret combination that you need to use is the Windows Key + Print Screen. What it does is it not only takes a screenshot of your current screen and saves it onto your clipboard for pasting; it also saves the file on your computer straight away! No need to work with that pesky MS Paint app to paste and save your screenshot. If your browser is full screen and you want to take that picture without the hassle of opening another app to do it, this is the way to go.

Here’s an outline of the steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + Print Screen on your keyboard.
  2. Your screen will dim a little, meaning that it has already taken the screen capture.
  3. Your file will be saved in Pictures > Screenshots
  4. You’re done! It’s that simple.

Alternatively, you can still choose to paste the image onto Paint for minor editing, but if you came just to take a screenshot and don’t want to be bothered doing anything else, just hit Windows Key + Print Screen, and you’re all set!

Using the Snipping Tool

There are other built-in tools that you can use to take a screenshot in Windows 10. What if, for example, you wanted to take a screenshot of just a snippet or a portion of a screen – like a quotation or just a feature on your browser? Well, there’s the snipping tool that you can use for that.

The Snipping Tool is a program that shipped together with Windows 7 and it’s still a great way to take a portion of your screen right now. In Windows 10, it’s more accessible than ever. All you need to do is pull up your search bar and start searching for ‘Snipping tool’.

The Snipping has an easy to understand interface and you can jump into taking screencaps immediately.

Once you have the Snipping Tool open, just simply click on new. The tool will whiten your screen and it will turn the cursor into a crosshair. You can start dragging at this point to take your screenshot.

Once you’ve dragged a portion of the screen that you want to keep, the Snipping tool windows will show you what was taken. You have the option to save the screenshot, or you can copy it to the clipboard by pressing the appropriate buttons.

And there you have it! You can easily create a file of just a portion of your screen by using the Snipping tool. There are other apps out there that can also accomplish this with much better UI and are much easier to use. But why not settle with the tool that Microsoft itself recommends?

Using your App’s Screenshot Tool

The last method on our list is an underappreciated feature in Microsoft Office apps. You don’t really have to go through the process of pressing a keyboard combination or use an app to take a picture of a portion of the screen. You could actually just use the snipping tool that’s built into MS Word, MS Outlook and all of the other apps in the Microsoft Office Suite!

  1. Try opening any Microsoft Office App you intend to paste the screenshot to. I’m using Microsoft Word 2010 for this demonstration.
  2. Click on Insert.
  3. You should be able to see a ‘Screenshot’ button in the Insert options. Click on it. 
  4. You can select whether you want to paste the Active Windows or take a screen clipping.
  5. If you select an active window, it should automatically add the screenshot to your document.
  6. If you select ‘Screen Clipping’, it will give you the same interface as using the snipping tool where it will whiten your screen.
  7. Congratulations! You’ve just used Microsoft Office to take a screenshot!

This is one of the easiest ways to take a screenshot in Windows 10. It’s actually the feature that I use most of the time and it really cuts the time that it takes to send someone an email of what you’re seeing on screen or whatnot.

And many other ways!

There are actually many ways that you can go about taking screenshots of your screen. If you’re using a Windows Surface Tablet, you can simply press the Windows Button and press the Volume Down Key to take a screenshot. There are a lot of alternative methods that you can take a screenshot, there might be an app that you prefer using, and sometimes there are hidden features that can specifically be found only on the laptop or PC that you’re using. It’s definitely worth it to explore and find these out.

But all in all, it comes down to your preference and your needs. If you’re not comfortable taking a screenshot of your entire screen – for privacy purposes, then probably you might need to use the ALT + PRTSC method. Or if you’re not too specific about what you want to snip, then you can take advantage of the snipping tool. Maybe you just want to send a snippet of your screen to your coworkers using MS Outlook? It’s up to you.

Were you able to find the best screenshot method that works for you here? Let us know in the comments!

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