XDA Basics: How to take a Screenshot on Windows, using inbuilt tools and external apps
If you need to capture some information that’s on your computer screen and store it for later use, taking a screenshot is one of the best options. Whether it’s your favorite meme on Twitter or physics notes from your online class, taking a screenshot can be handy a lot of times. If you’re new to Windows or are planning to buy a Windows laptop or PC, or maybe treating yourself to a gaming laptop, we’ll tell you some of the easiest ways in which you can take a screenshot on Windows, and these methods will be applicable to Windows 11 as well. If you use a Mac instead of a Windows PC, here’s how you can take screenshots on macOS.
Different ways of taking Screenshots on Windows
There are multiple ways in which you can take screenshots on Windows. Some of these tools are built-in and can be used right out of the box, while some may require installing third-party software. We’ll go through these methods and tell you various use-cases where you can use these different ways of taking a screenshot.
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Taking a Screenshot on Windows using Print Screen
This is the simplest and most efficient way of taking screenshots on Windows, since it doesn’t involve any third-party app and is a built-in function on Windows. All you need is the press of a key and your screen will be captured. To take screenshots using Print Screen, follow these steps :
- Locate the Print Screen key on your keyboard with the text PrtScn — or something else along those lines — embedded on it. It’s usually found in the top-right corner of your keyboard close to the function keys.
- On the screen that you want to capture a screenshot of, press the PrtScn key. Some keyboards may have a dedicated button for this while others may need you to press the Function key in order to access PrtScn. If so, just press and hold the fn key on your keyboard and then press the PrtScn key.
- Your screen is now captured and copied to the clipboard. You can paste the screenshot on any window you like by pressing Ctrl+V. You can paste the screenshot on the Paint application, for example, and make further edits and save the file.
Alternatively, if you want to capture a screenshot and store it on your computer or laptop, instead of copying it to the clipboard to paste somewhere else, there is a slight variation to this shortcut :
- Instead of pressing just the PrtScn key, press the Windows key and the PrtScn key together.
- Your screenshot will be stored in This PC/Pictures/Screenshots.
Taking a Screenshot on Windows using the Xbox Game Bar
If you’re a gamer, we’re sure that you’re aware of a tool called the Xbox Game Bar that comes pre-installed on Windows. It’s a nifty tool that can be used to track CPU and GPU usage, system temperatures, to record your gameplay while you’re playing, and you guessed it right, to take screenshots too. This is how you can take screenshots using the Xbox Game Bar :
- Launch the Xbox Game Bar by pressing the Windows + G keys on your keyboard.
- You will now see a menu that will appear as an overlay on your screen.
- Under Game Capturing, you will see an icon represented by a camera. Click on it and Windows will capture a screenshot for you.
Note that the Xbox Game Bar does not allow you to take screenshots in certain areas of your computer like the desktop. It is mainly useful when using third-party applications or for its actual intended use which is while gaming.
Taking a Screenshot on Windows using Snip and Sketch
If the methods we discussed so far are too basic for your liking, Windows also includes an in-built tool called Snip and Sketch that lets you capture customized screenshots and even add annotations on top. This feature was initially called the snipping tool but has now been replaced by Snip and Sketch. Here’s how you can use Snip and Sketch to take custom screenshots :
- Open the Start menu on Windows and in the search bar at the bottom, enter Snip and Sketch. Open the first result that you see.
- Once the app is opened, select the New button on the top-left corner to capture a screenshot. You can also find actions here that capture the screen after three seconds or ten seconds.
- Once you click on New, you’ll see a toolbar at the top of your screen showing options like Rectangular Snip, Freeform Snip, Window Snip, and Fullscreen Snip.
- Select the relevant option based on what you want to take a screenshot of and you can then select the portion of the screen you want to capture.
- Once you select the part of the screen you want to capture, you will be taken back to the Snip and Sketch window where you will now be able to draw over or add text to your screenshot before saving it.
- If you’re in a hurry, you can use the keyboard shortcut Windows + Shift + S to start Snip and Sketch from any screen and directly capture a screenshot.
Taking a Screenshot on Windows using PicPick
PicPick is a third-party application that offers a large variety of screenshot-taking options along with some other tools as well that can be useful to you. You get options like taking screenshots of scrolling windows, screenshots of particular colors on the screen, or even measuring the dimensions of objects in your screenshot using an on-screen ruler. Here’s how you can use PicPick and capture better screenshots :
- Download PicPick on your Windows computer. It is free of charge for personal use.
- Install the app after downloading it and open PicPick. The UI is quite simple so choose whichever option you want.
- Once you capture the screenshot using your preferred option, you can edit it as per your liking.
- You can also share the screenshot after editing directly from the app itself without having to save it.
These are some of the best and simplest ways in which you can take a screenshot on Windows. Of course, taking a screenshot on an Android smartphone is much easier, but with these tools, you’ll soon be able to take screenshots on your computer and even edit them without any difficulty. While some of these methods are convenient and just require the press of a button, others provide more options to edit and share the screenshots.