XDA Basics: How to take a screenshot on a Chromebook

XDA Basics: How to take a screenshot on a Chromebook

Taking a screenshot is often useful at work or just to show a friend something you find interesting on social media. If you use one of the top Chromebooks as your daily machine, you’ll undoubtedly need to take a quick screenshot at some point. The good news is that taking a screenshot on Chrome OS is just as simple as on your Mac or PC. Let’s take a quick look at how to take a screenshot and edit or annotate the result.

Taking a screenshot on a Chromebook

If you want to take a screenshot of your entire screen on a Chromebook, press Ctrl + the Show windows button (Ctrl + F5 on a Windows keyboard). The Show windows key, which looks like a rectangle with two lines on the right side, is on the top row of the keyboard (this is in the same position as F5 on a Windows machine).


It is worth noting that all screenshots taken on Chrome OS end up in the Downloads folder. This is a bit different than the storage defaults on a Mac or PC. You can quickly find the Downloads folder by navigating to the Files app in your launcher. It’s also quite easy to add additional folders for organization.

pop up box for screenshots on Chrome OS

To capture a partial screenshot, press Shift + Ctrl + Show windows (Shift + Ctrl + F5 on a Windows keyboard), then click and drag your cursor over the exact area you want to capture. A crosshair icon will appear; click and drag it until the part of the screen you want to copy is highlighted, and then release. Depending on the version of Chrome OS, you may see a quick pop-up window with the screenshot preview in the bottom right corner of your desktop. From the pop-up window, you can choose to copy the screenshot to the clipboard or begin annotating the image.

If you have a Chrome OS tablet or device running in tablet mode, you won’t have direct access to the keyboard. Taking a screenshot is still possible, just using a different method. Press the following physical buttons simultaneously: Power + Volume Down. With a stylus you can also select a part of the screen to capture in tablet mode.

Editing a screenshot

Google has a nice built-in annotation tool for editing screenshots in Chrome OS, which you can access in a few ways. First, you can tap the Edit option in the initial pop-up box. If you decide that you want to edit your image later, you can navigate to the Downloads folder and select the image.

native screenshot editing tool on Chrome OS

Syncing screenshots across devices is also easy. You can use Google Keep as an annotation tool to accomplish this. For those that need more robust and powerful editing, consider checking out Chrome Canvas.

Google Keep to edit screenshots.

Now you’re all set to start taking screenshots on your Chromebook or Chromebox. If you work with screenshots for work all the time like we do, you might also want to consider a docking station for your Chromebook. This allows you the additional flexibility of working from a larger monitor. Keep in mind that you can also use Android apps on Chrome OS, so you can screenshot your favorite social media posts too.

About author

Jeff Springer
Jeff Springer

Applied mathematician with a love for Android. I am interested in inverse problems for imaging and integration with camera software for mobile phones.

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