Need to take a picture on your Windows computer? Taking screenshots in Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 is easy and quick. You can take a picture of the whole screen or just a window or part of the screen. This wikiHow will show you how to take a screenshot of any part of your Windows desktop by using keyboard shortcuts, like the Print Screen key, and the built-in Snipping Tool app.
Capturing the whole screen (Windows 10, 8, and 7)
No matter what version of Windows you have, you can take a screenshot of the whole desktop by pressing PrtScn, Print Screen, or Fn+Prnt Scrn on some laptops.
PrtScn copies a full-screen screenshot to the system’s clipboard. From there, you can copy and paste the image wherever you need it, like in an email or an image editor like Microsoft Paint or Gimp for Windows.
Press Ctrl+V to paste the picture.
Note: The screenshot shows all of the monitors that are on.
Use Windows Snipping Tool (Windows 7, 8, and 10)
With the built-in Snipping Tool, you can take screenshots in a different way that gives you more control over the area you want to capture. It works with Windows versions starting with Windows Vista, but each version is a little different. Here’s how to put it to use.
Note: The Windows Snipping Tool is being added to a new program called Snip & Sketch. Like the Snipping Tool, Snip & Sketch lets you take screenshots and add notes and crop them. Windows 10 still has both of these tools.
1. Click Start and type “snipping” into the Search box. Choose the Snipping Tool from the results of your search.
2. In Windows 10, go to the Snipping Tool menu and choose Mode. This is how Windows 10’s Snipping Tool is different from earlier versions.
In Windows 7 and 8, choose the drop-down menu labeled “New.”
Choose a shape for the area where the screenshot will be taken:
- Free-form With Snip, you can draw the area of the screenshot by hand. Click and hold the left mouse button, then move the mouse to draw the area you want to capture.
Rectangular Snip lets you make a rectangular area on the screen by using the familiar left-click-and-drag method. The rectangle catches everything inside it.
- Window Snip takes a picture of a full window. Move the mouse to the window you want to grab after using Window Snip. Choose the window that will be captured. Click the mouse’s left button to make the picture.
- Full-screen The Snip command takes a picture of the whole desktop and opens it in the Snipping Tool.
3. Options for Free-form Snip or Rectangular Snip: Release the mouse button after you’ve drawn the area you want to capture. The Snipping Tool opens to show the picture. It goes to your clipboard as well.
Window Snip: To take a picture of the active window, move the mouse pointer to the window and click.
When you choose “Full-screen Snip,” the Snipping Tool takes a picture of the whole desktop.
4. If the screenshot isn’t what you wanted, choose New from the menu and make a new one.
5. Save your screenshot when you are happy with it. Choose File > Save As, press Ctrl+S, or use the Snipping Tool to choose the floppy disk.
Windows 10 has screenshots
In Windows 10, press Win+Shift+S to take a screenshot. This shortcut key brings up a small menu at the top of the screen for clipping.
You can choose from four types of areas to capture:
- Rectangular Snip
- Snip Freeform
- Window Snip
- Full-screen Snip
Choose the type of screenshot you’d like to take. To use a Rectangular or Freeform Snip, click and drag the mouse to set the capture area. When you let go of the button on your mouse, the area is copied to your clipboard.
If you choose Window Snip, the active window you choose is copied to the clipboard.
If you choose Fullscreen Snip, the whole desktop is copied to the clipboard, including any extra monitors you have connected.
You’ll get a message when any of the snips are saved to the clipboard.
If you click on the notification before it disappears, it will open your snip in Snip & Sketch, the new version of the Snipping Tool in Windows 10. Or, you can paste the screenshot you copied into an image editor, an email, OneNote, or some other program.
Screenshots of a single-window (Windows 8 and 10)
To take a picture of a single window, click the title bar of that window (at the top). Press Alt+PrtScn. The only window that gets saved is the one that is currently open. You can then copy and paste the image somewhere else, like an email or Microsoft Paint.
Alternate Full-Screen Capture (Windows 8 and 10)
All versions of Windows can use the above PrtScn method. But Windows 10 and Windows 8 have a trick that makes it a little faster to take a screenshot.
Press Win+PrtScn (or Fn+Win+PrtScn). Your screen goes dark for a moment, like a camera shutter, to show that a screenshot has been taken. Windows saves the image to Pictures > Screenshots so you don’t have to copy and paste it into another program.
Other Ways to Capture the Screen
OneNote used to have a way to take a screenshot. Even though it’s not available anymore, you can still use this method on older versions to take a screenshot.
By pressing Win+VolumeDown on a Windows tablet, you can use the auto-save screenshot feature.