How to take screenshots in Windows 10

...or any supported version of Windows, really.

IDG

IDG

Snapping screenshots in Windows 10 can be helpful indeed. Screenshots are useful for quickly showing someone what's on your desktop, or grabbing a quick moment from a video that you need to share. Taking screenshots with Windows 10's built-in controls is easy, but the methods to do so aren't exactly obvious.

Here are three built-in Windows screenshot keyboard shortcuts, most of which will also work in earlier versions of Windows. We'll also suggest a few third-party applications for those who need a more powerful screenshot utility.

Print Screen

The old screenshot standard still exists in Windows 10. Press the PrtScn button and your entire screen (or screens, in a multi-monitor set-up) is copied to the clipboard. From there you can paste it into Paint, GIMP, IrfanView, Photoshop, or any other photo program that allows you to paste in an image.

Add the Windows key

An upgraded version of PrtScn available since Windows 8 is Windows key + PrtScn. Tap those two keys simultaneously and your screen (or screens) will "blink" for a second, as if a camera shutter was opening and closing. Open File Explorer, navigate to Pictures > Screenshots, and your screenshot will be there waiting for you.

Just the current window please

If all you need is a screenshot of the current program you're using—such as Chrome, Word, Excel, or PowerPoint—tap Alt + PrtScn. That will copy an image of the window currently in focus to the system clipboard. Just like using the PrtScn shortcut, you can then paste the image into the photo editing or other image-friendly program (like the Gmail web app).

Super screenshots

If you need to go deeper than the tools Windows 10 offers, third-party programs and extensions can scratch your itch. The easiest alternative is the clipping tool that comes with OneNote 2016 for the desktop. All you have to do is open OneNote and the clipping tool will appear in the system tray, under the upward-facing arrow to the far right of the Windows 10 taskbar.

Look for the OneNote icon with a pair of scissors on top of it. Right-click the clipping tool and select Take screen clipping from the context menu. Your screen will freeze and turn a transparent gray color, while the mouse pointer turns into a precision cursor (a big plus sign).

To take your screen clipping, click and drag in a rectangular or square shape over the area that you want, and then release the mouse button. After a few seconds a pop-up window appears with options to save the clipping directly to a OneNote notebook or copy the image to the clipboard for use in a different program.

If you need a screenshot tool with free-form captures, effects, annotations, and other nifty features, there are a number of third-party solutions you could try such as Greenshot, Monosnap, or PicPick. For browser-based solutions try Awesome Screenshot or Nimbus.

If the only extra feature you need is annotations don't forget about Microsoft Edge's built-in screenshot feature (pictured at the top of this post) that saves full or cropped website screenshots with annotations to OneNote.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Windows 10

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?