Easiest Way To Take a Screenshot on a Windows PC

The only guide you need for taking screenshots on Windows

how to take a screenshot on windows

There are times when you just need to quickly show something to someone that is on your computer screen and while you can always take pictures of your screen with your smartphone or camera, the right way to do it is to take a picture of your computer screen, referred to as ‘Screenshot’. Almost all modern operating systems such as Windows 10, Linux, Android and Apple iOS have built-in screenshot functionality. But today we will focus only on Windows and all its version and learn how to take a screenshot on Windows.

How to take a screenshot on Windows Computer

Starting with Windows 10, there is a built-in ‘Screenshots’ folder in the Pictures folder where all your screenshots are automatically saved. For other versions of Windows such as Windows 7 and Windows XP you need few other steps. Below you can see the guide for taking screenshots on each version of windows.

How to take a screenshot on Windows 10

When it comes to Windows 10, you have two options for taking screenshots without installing any 3rd-party program. These methods also work in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. You can either use the built-in screenshot functionality which saves your screenshot to a special ‘Screenshots’ folder inside the Pictures folder or use the built-in ‘Snipping tool’. Let’s see how to easily capture screenshots with these methods.

Taking Screenshot on Windows 10 Using Print Screen

  1. First of all, display whatever you want to take a screenshot of on your screen
  2. Now hold down Windows Key (one with the Windows Logo on it) while pressing down the Print Screen Key (Usually labeled as PrtSc, PrtScr or PrtScn but may differ depending on your device). You will notice a screen dim for a split second, which indicates that the screenshot is taken.
  3. DONE!

Where are the screenshots saved on Windows 10

All your screenshots are saved in the ‘Screenshots’ folder which is located inside the ‘Pictures’ folder. You can access ‘Pictures’ from the file explorer.

Taking Screenshot on Windows 10 Using the Snipping Tool

Snipping tool is a small utility available in Windows 10, 7 and Vista which can be used to take screenshots. It has tons of benefits over using the simple Print Screen method. For example, you can capture full or just part of your computer screen, add notes, highlight text on the screenshot, use the pen tool to draw over the screenshot or email the screenshot. Following are the four modes in the snipping tool.

Free-form snipDraw a free-form shape around any part of the screen and capture it
Rectangular snipDrag the cursor around an object to form a rectangle and capture only that part
Window snipAllows you to select a window, such as a browser window or dialog box, that you want to capture
Full-screen snipCaptures the entire screen.
  1. To open the Snipping tool search for it by typing ‘Snipping tool’ in the search box on the taskbar, and then select Snipping Tool from the list of results. You can also open the search box with ‘Windows Key+S’ shortcut.
  2. Now choose any of the four modes of snip. By default, the ‘New’ snip option uses the free-form snip mode.
  3. After using any of the four snip modes your screenshot will appear in a separate window, where you will have the option to email it, highlight text and draw on the screenshot.
  4. To save the screenshot, click on the ‘floppy drive’ icon on the toolbar inside the separate window. You can save the screenshot as GIF, PNG or JPEG.

Bonus Tip: You can also take screenshots by simply tapping the ‘Print Screen’ key to capture the fullscreen or hold down ‘Alt key’ while pressing Print Screen key to only capture the current active window. To access the screenshot that you just captured, open either ‘Paint’ app or Adobe Photoshop and then paste it in the app. Now you will be able to see and save your screenshot.

How to take a screenshot on Windows 8/8.1

Screenshot functionality is almost exactly the same in Windows 10 and Windows 8/8.1. Both operating systems have a dedicated ‘Screenshots’ folder where all screenshots are saved when you take screenshots with the Windows Key+Print Screen method. Windows 8/8.1 also have the ‘Snipping tool’ as Windows 10.

The only difference is in accessing the ‘Snipping Tool’. In Windows 10, you can simply search for ‘Snipping tool’ from the search box on taskbar while on Windows 8/8.1, the search option is located inside the ‘charms bar’ that you can open when you move your cursor to the bottom or upper right corner of the screen. You can also use the shortcut Windows key+S. Apart from this, you can use the same guide for taking screenshots as Windows 10 which is explained in detail above.

How to take a screenshot on Windows 7 and Windows Vista

On Windows 7 and Windows Vista, you have two options to take screenshot. You can either use the built-in snipping tool which is similar to Windows 10 or by using the Print Screen key. Snipping tool method is explained in detail above but to use the Print Screen method follow the steps below.

  1. Either press Print Screen Key to capture fullscreen or hold down Alt Key while pressing down the Print Screen Key to only capture the active window.
  2. After taking the screenshot, open either built-in Paint app, Adobe Photoshop or any other image editing program.
  3. Now find the paste option (Usually under ‘Edit’) and paste it. You will now be able to see your screenshot and also save it.

How to take a screenshot on Windows XP

Windows XP doesn’t have a built-in ‘Snipping tool’ like the one available on Windows 10, 7 and Vista. You can, however, use 3rd-party snipping tools. But to take screenshots without using any 3rd-party program, you can use the good ol’ Print Screen method that is mentioned right above this.

Also Read: Easiest Way To Take a Screenshot on Android and iPhone


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