As a PCMag software reviewer, I need to take screenshots frequently. There’s no better way to show readers how an application looks in action than using screenshots. I generally evaluate Windows software, so I’m familiar with the many ways to capture displays on that platform. Almost every computer user needs to snap a screenshot now and then, if only to discuss what they’re seeing on the screen with a coworker.
It’s amazing how long it’s taken to perfect such a simple ability. Since the first PCs in the 1980s, Windows has featured screen-printing capabilities (though their text-based option differs from today’s raster screenshots). Windows 10 brought additional ways to take screenshots, such as the Snip & Sketch utility, and screenshots in Windows 11 are even smarter with its version of the Snipping Tool.
We’re talking about screenshots in Windows 10. I’ll walk you through the many methods for capturing the Windows 10 PC screen below so you can make an informed decision about which approach is best for you.
Print a Screenshot (prt Sun)
You can snap a screenshot by pressing the Print Screen key on your keyboard. Depending on the keyboard shortcut you press, you can save the screenshot as a PNG picture file or copy it to your clipboard to paste into any application.
The prtscn key is normally located on the top row of your keyboard, between the F12 and Scroll Lock keys. It might be called “PrtScn,” “PrntScrn,” or “Print Scr” instead. On full-size keyboards, look above the Insert key.
On laptop keyboards, the Print Screen key may be coupled with another key, but it will be in that approximate area of the keyboard. While utilising the shortcuts provided, you may need to press the “Function” or “Fn” key on your laptop.
Copy a Screenshot to Your Clipboard
Simply press the Print Screen key (or Fn+Print Screen on some laptops) to transfer an image of your screen to the clipboard.
Windows will copy an image of your screen to the clipboard. You may paste it into practically any application that handles images, such as an image editor, word processor, or spreadsheet. Simply pick Edit > Paste or press Ctrl+V to paste as you normally would.
Copy a Screenshot of A Single Window to Your Clipboard
To take a snapshot of a specific window rather than your full screen, hit Alt+Print Screen. (On some laptops, you may need to press Alt+Fn+Print Screen instead.)
Windows will save an image of the current window to your clipboard, so make sure to choose the window you wish to capture first. To focus the window, either click inside it or press Alt+Tab.
Take Screenshots with Snip & Sketch
Windows 10 includes a Snip & Sketch tool that enables more advanced snapshot possibilities. You can use it to take a snapshot of a specific region of your screen, capture a screenshot with a delay, or annotate your screenshots.
Near the top of the screen, you’ll notice a bar with numerous buttons. Select the desired function. From left to right, here’s what the buttons do:
Rectangular Snip: You will be able to draw a rectangle with your pointer over your screen. Windows will save a screenshot of the region inside the rectangle.
Freeform Snip: You can use your cursor to draw any shape on your screen (or a stylus or finger on a touch screen). Windows will save a screenshot of the area you draw around.
- Window Snippet: The cursor will act as a crosshair. You can put it over a window and click to take a screenshot of only that window.
- Fullscreen Snip: This button captures a screenshot of the full screen.
- Close Snipping: Close the overlay without taking a screenshot. (Alternatively, press Esc on your keyboard.)
- When you use the keyboard shortcut to open Snip & Sketch, it will remember your most recently used option.
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Annotate or Crop a Screenshot
When you capture a screenshot, you will receive a message stating that the screenshot has been copied to your clipboard. You can paste it into any other application that accepts picture files. (To paste, go to Edit > Paste or press Ctrl+V.)
If the notice disappears before you can click it, the notification will appear in Windows 10’s Action Center. Click the notice to see additional possibilities. This will launch the Snip & Sketch window, which includes options for writing on, highlighting, erasing, and cropping sections of the image.
There’s Also a “save” Button Here that Allows You to Save Your Screenshot as An Image File
(The interface will change depending on the size of the window. With a larger Snip & Sketch window, all of the options are on the top toolbar. Some of the options will be moved to a bottom toolbar if you resize the window.)