Windows 10 Tip: Take a Screenshot

Posted on September 5, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0 Comments

Windows 10 Tip: Take a Screenshot

While Windows has long supported the ability to take screenshots—capturing all or part of the screen graphically so you can use the resulting image elsewhere—Windows 10 really expands on your options. Indeed, there are almost too many ways to take screenshots in Windows 10.

Given this, the method you use at any given time should be driven by your needs, and by which method with which you feel the most comfortable.

Note: these are not the only ways in which to take screenshots in Windows 10. They’re just the best or most obvious ways, and regardless of your device type you should find one or more methods here that can work for you.

Capture the entire screen

Type PRTSCN (“print screen”). This will save the screen image—sans mouse pointer—to the clipboard. To paste this image elsewhere (such as in Paint, Word, or other applications), type CTRL + V.

Type WINKEY + PRTSCN. This will save the screen image—sans mouse pointer—to the clipboard and will create a screenshot file in your Screenshots folder (in Pictures) in PNG format.

Press START + VOLUME DOWN buttons. On Surface and other Windows devices with hardware START and volume buttons, this will save the screen image—sans mouse pointer—to the clipboard and will create a screenshot file in your Screenshots folder (in Pictures) in PNG format.

Snipping Tool. With the Snipping Tool utility, select New and then Full-screen Snip to save the screen image—sans mouse pointer—to the clipboard and be prompted to save the resulting capture to a file.

Capture the active window

Type ALT + PRTSCN. This will save the screen image—sans mouse pointer—to the clipboard. To paste this image elsewhere (such as in Paint, Word, or other applications), type CTRL + V.

Snipping Tool. With the Snipping Tool utility, select New and then Window Snip. Then, using the mouse, hover over the window you wish to save to select, and then click it. This will save the screen image—sans mouse pointer—to the clipboard and be prompted to save the resulting capture to a file. (Note that the window you’re capturing needs to be at the forefront; Snipping Tool cannot capture the image of a window that is partially or fully hidden.)

Other screenshot notes

Snipping Tool is a bit complex, but it’s also pretty versatile. In addition to full-screen and window captures, it can also be used to arbitrary rectangles or freeform shapes. And it has an optional delay timer that can be used to make sure everything is set up correctly.

Office Snip, recently released by Microsoft, is free and provides some features that will be of particular interest to Office Mix users, including the ability to annotate screen captures with ink or audio narration.

Third-party screenshot utilities often offer more options if you need to take a lot of screenshots. I use a (paid) third-party utility called TechSmith SnagIt, for example, because it’s sort of a standard for tech book writers, and it lets you capture the mouse cursor too. But at $50, that may be too expensive for many. ShareX is free—but accepts donations—and does let you capture the mouse cursor too.