Taking screenshots on a Chromebook may be slightly different than what you’re accustomed to on a Windows laptop or MacBook, but the process remains equally simple. Whether you want a full capture or just a portion of your screen, the keyboard commands are easy to use and remember.
Read on to find out how to take a screenshot on a Chromebook using keyboard shortcuts and a stylus. We also list additional tips and tools you can use to capture your Chromebook’s screen.
- Hold down the Ctrl + Switch window keys to capture a full screenshot.
- Hold down the Ctrl + Shift + Switch window keys to capture a partial screenshot.
Capture a full screenshot
To take a screenshot of everything on your screen, press the following keys simultaneously:
Ctrl + Switch window
The latter button is typically located in the top row between the Full-screen and Brightness down buttons, as shown above. It resembles a rectangle followed by two lines and replaces the typical F5 key.
Once you press both keys, a notification appears in the bottom right corner displaying a thumbnail of your screenshot. Clicking the thumbnail leads you to the Downloads folder — this is where all screenshots go by default, making them accessible offline. You can also access this folder by clicking the blue folder icon on the taskbar. Chrome OS labels all screenshots with the date and time they were captured.
Since Chrome OS saves screenshots locally on your device, they won’t be available on Google Drive unless you manually upload them to the cloud. To do, follow these steps:
Step 1: Select the screenshot you want to upload. For multiple uploads, click the “check” icon on each screenshot.
Step 2: Click the “share” button located in the top right corner.
Step 3: Select Save to Drive on the drop-down menu. Check out our guide on how to use Google Drive for more useful tips.
If you have a Chromebook with a 360-degree hinge like a Pixelbook, skip to the “Screenshots in Tablet Mode” section in this guide for an alternate touch-based method.
Capture a partial screenshot
Instead of a fullscreen shot, you can specify a portion of the screen you want to capture. Here’s how:
Step 1: Hold down the Ctrl + Shift keys simultaneously, then press the Switch window button.
Step 2: The screen dims and the cursor temporarily changes to a crosshair. Click and drag a square across the portion of the screen you want to capture, then release the touchpad or mouse button.
The partial screenshot saves to the Downloads folder, the same as a full screenshot.
Screenshots in tablet mode
Use the buttons
Many Chrome OS-based 2-in-1s and tablets may not have immediate access to a keyboard. Don’t worry: There’s an easy screenshot shorthand you can use in tablet mode. Press the following physical buttons simultaneously:
Power + Volume Down
Your screen registers the screenshot and takes an image of the entire screen.
Use a stylus – full capture
You can capture a screenshot of your entire screen using a stylus too. Here’s how:
Step 1: Tap Stylus.
Step 2: Use the stylus to tap the Capture Screen option. This grabs a screenshot of your entire screen.
Use a stylus – partial capture
Want to capture only a part of your screen? Follow these steps:
Step 1: Tap Stylus.
Step 2: Use the stylus to tap the Capture Region option.
Step 3: Use the stylus to touch and hold your starting point on the screen.
Step 4: Drag your stylus to the final point, creating a box.
Step 5: Release to capture your screenshot.
Other tips and tricks
Chrome OS doesn’t save screenshots as copied images like pressing the Print Screen button in Windows.
If you want to simply copy a screenshot (for insertion into an image editor, for example), watch the notification that appears above the system clock. Click the Copy to clipboard button, then press Ctrl + V when you want to paste it.
Alternatively, find the screenshot on your Chromebook, select it, and simply press Ctrl + C to copy it to the clipboard and Ctrl + V to paste, just like Windows.
Screenshots captured by Chrome OS are ready to share, but if you need to edit them first, familiarize yourself with the built-in image editor. Here’s how to access it:
Step 1: Click the blue folder icon on the taskbar to open the Downloads folder.
Step 2: Double-click your screenshot to open it in the image viewer.
Step 3: Click the pen icon located in the top right corner to enter Edit mode.
Tools for cropping, rotation, and brightness adjustments appear in a toolbar located above the taskbar, as shown below:
Step 4: When you’re done, click the pen icon again to finalize your edits, or click Exit located just above the system clock.
The built-in editor doesn’t allow you to save copies, so you may want to copy the image manually first to keep the original unedited capture.
Using external keyboards
If you’re using a Chrome OS-powered desktop (Chromebox) or an external keyboard plugged into your Chromebook, the keyboard probably uses a standard function key row instead of Chrome’s dedicated button row. Here are the Chrome OS commands that replace the typical function key commands:
- F1 – Previous page
- F2 – Next page
- F3 – Refresh
- F4 – Fullscreen
- F5 – Switch window
- F6 – Decrease brightness
- F7 – Increase brightness
- F8 – Mute
- F9 – Decrease volume
- F10 – Increase volume
For capturing a screenshot, type Ctrl + F5 on a standard keyboard. For a partial capture, press Ctrl + Shift first followed by F5.
Other screenshot tools
The built-in image tools for Chrome OS are a bit anemic, but luckily there are plenty of apps and extensions on Google’s Chrome Web Store to help add extra functionality. Here are some helpful picks:
Lightshot: Lightshot is a great beginner option that allows you to drag and drop a screenshot over any section of the screen. You can edit the screenshot in place, then download it or send it to the cloud. It’s easy to use and widely applicable for most purposes.
Awesome Screenshot: For those who want a broader, more powerful tool, Awesome Screenshot allows you to choose between screen capture and screencasting so you can also capture video whenever you want. The app supports annotations and easy blurring as well.
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