There are several reasons why you might want to take a screenshot on your PC – to add something you found online to a school project, to share some issue you might be facing with tech support or perhaps, like me, you might need to take screenshots for work. Screenshots can really come in handy for a wide variety of things and you might have already felt the need to take a screenshot on your system (which is probably why you’re here). So if you’ve caught yourself asking the question ‘How to take a screenshot on PC?’, then you’ve come to the right place.
There are several different ways you can take screenshots on your Windows 10 powered PC and here we’ll be listing all the screenshot tools Microsoft has packed in its operating system, along with a couple of methods that involve third-party apps. So, without any further delay, lets explore all the ways in which you can take screenshots on a PC:
How to Take a Screenshot on PC
How to Take a Screenshot on PC with ‘Windows + Print Screen’ Shortcut
The first, and probably the most widely used, way you can take screenshots on your PC is by using the ‘Windows + Print Screen’ shortcut. In order to take a screenshot using this method, all you need to do is tap on the Windows key and the Print Screen key (often labeled as PrtScr or PrtScn) on your keyboard at the same time and you’ll see the screen dim momentarily and brighten back up signifying a successful screen grab. Taking a screenshot using this feature automatically saves the screenshot in the ‘Pictures’ folder in your system within the ‘Screenshots’ folder. This is, by far, the simplest and the fastest way to take a screenshot on a Windows 10 PC.
Note: In some laptops the Print Screen button can only be activated after pressing the Function key. If you have such a laptop then you’ll have to use the ‘Windows + Function (Fn) + Print Screen’ command to take a screenshot. Another thing worth noting is that you can take a screenshot by just pressing the ‘Print Screen’ key, but the screenshot taken using this method is saved to the Windows clipboard and you’ll need to first paste it in Paint/Paint 3D before you can save it.
How to Take a Screenshot on PC with the Snipping Tool
The Windows Snipping Tool is another great way to capture screenshots on your Windows 10 PC. In order to use the Snipping Tool, all you need to do is open the snipping tool from within the Start menu. Once the tool is open and you’re on the screen that you want to capture, simply click on New in the toolbar, left click on your mouse/trackpad and drag to select the area you want to capture. As soon as you leave the left click, the tool will select the area that you’ve highlighted and will open the screenshot within a window, allowing you to make any edits or add annotations if needed.
The Snipping Tool offers four different screenshot modes that you can choose from, including Free-form Snip, Rectangular Snip, Window Snip and Full-screen Snip which allow you to take different types of screenshots. On top of that, the tool also features a delay option which allows you to set a timer to take a screenshot, which can really come in handy if you’re trying to capture a temporary window. What’s really great about the Snipping Tool is that it allows you to save the screenshot in different file formats, share the screenshot directly via email and open the screenshot in Paint 3D in case you wish to make any additional changes.
How to Take a Screenshot on PC with the ‘Windows + Shift + s’ Shortcut
Another great shortcut that you can use to take screenshots on your Windows 10 PC is the ‘Windows + Shift + s’ command. You can use the command by tapping on the Windows, Shift and s key on your keyboard at the same time which will then allow you to drag and select any portion of the screen that you want to take a screenshot of. However, unlike the previous methods, the screenshot captured by this method isn’t saved automatically.
Screenshots captured by this method are copied to the Windows clipboard and need to be pasted in an image processing software like Paint or Paint 3D. To do that, you’ll need to open up Paint and press ‘Ctrl+V’ to paste the screenshot and then you’ll be able to edit/save the screenshot. The ‘Windows + Shift + s’ command is a faster alternative to the Snipping Tool as it removes one step from the process of taking a screenshot.
How to Take a Screenshot of a Window
In case you wish to take a screenshot of a particular open window then you can make use of the ‘Alt + Print Screen’ command. The command works quite a lot like the ‘Windows + Shift + s’ command, as it copies the screenshot to the Windows clipboard, but in this case, the command only takes a screenshot of a selected active window. The ‘Alt + PrtScr’ command can really come in handy if you want to take a screenshot of a particular window, without having to fiddle with dragging and selecting the window.
‘Windows logo + Volume Down’ Shortcut (Microsoft Surface devices only)
In case you have a Microsoft Surface tablet, then you might not have access to a physical keyboard. To take screenshots in such a situation, you’ll need to hold the Windows logo and the volume down button at the same time to take a screenshot. Upon pressing the buttons, the screen will get darker momentarily, signaling that a screenshot has been taken. The captured screenshots will be stores within the Pictures library in a folder titled Screenshots.
‘Fn + Windows + Spacebar’ Shortcut (Microsoft Surface devices with type cover)
If you have a type cover with your Microsoft Surface device, then you can easily take a screenshot using the ‘Fn + Windows + Spacebar’ command. Much like the previous screenshot shortcut for Microsoft Surface devices, a successful screenshot will be signaled by the screen going dim momentarily. This shortcut will also save your screenshots in the Screenshots folder within the Pictures library on your system.
How to Take Scrolling Screenshots in Windows
Windows 10, unfortunately, doesn’t include a native feature that will allow you to take scrolling screenshots. To take a scrolling screenshot in Windows, you’ll therefore need to rely on third-party apps. Snagit is a powerful screenshot tool which you can use to take scrolling screenshots on your Windows device. The tool packs in a ton of features and can serve as an all-in-one tool for all your screenshot needs.
Not only does the app allow you to capture the entire desktop, a part of the desktop, and app windows, it also allows you to capture entire web pages with its scrolling screenshot feature. The app also packs an in-built editor which will allow you to edit the screenshot before you save it. On top of that, Snagit also allows you to take a screen recording of your desktop. In case you’re a power user and require a screenshot utility that meets your needs, then Snagit is the app to go for.
Download Snagit: (15 day free trial, Rs. 4,249.42)
How to Change the Default Screenshot Destination in Windows
Some of the aforementioned screenshot tools automatically save the captured screenshot in the Screenshot folder within the Pictures library. In case you don’t want to save the Screenshots you take in that folder, you can change the default screenshot destination by following these steps:
- Locate the Screenshots folder in the Pictures library on your system
- Right click on the Screenshots folder and select Properties from the drop down menu
- Switch to the Location tab and enter the new destination in the address bar within the tab
- Click on the Apply button on the bottom right corner of the window
Your Screenshots will now be stored in the new location that you entered in the address bar. If you wish to revert back any changes to the location, you can navigate to the same window and click on the Restore Defaults button.
How to Change the Default File Format for Screenshots in Windows
Screenshots captured in Windows are saved in the .png file format by default, but if you prefer working with any other file format there are a couple of ways you can save your screenshots in other file formats. While Windows doesn’t have a native feature which will allow you to change the default file format of your screenshots, you can manually choose a different file format every time you take a screenshot.
The feature will only work with the screenshot tools that require you to save the screenshots manually and won’t work with the ‘Windows + PrtScr’ command that takes and saves screenshots automatically. All you need to do is switch the file format by tapping on the drop down menu right below the file name bar in the ‘Save As’ dialog and select any of the other available file formats.
SEE ALSO: How to Take a Screenshot in macOS Mojave
How to Take a Screenshot on PC
Armed with this information, you’ll now be able to easily take screenshots on your PC. All the screenshot tools listed above work equally well and which method you should choose completely depends on personal preference and the type of screenshots you need to capture. I usually find myself using the ‘Windows + PrtScr’ shortcut for the most part because it’s fairly straightforward, but I also make use of the Snipping Tool when I need to take screenshots of just a small part of my screen. It’s worth noting that Microsoft has already revealed plans for improving its in-built screenshot tool for Windows and the new screenshot utility, called Snip and Sketch, is expected to start rolling out with an upcoming Windows 10 update.