How to take a screenshot on a Chromebook

Lost without 'Print Screen'? Here's how to take a screenshot on a Chromebook

You might be familiar with how to take a screenshot in Windows or on MacOS, but if you’re new to Chromebooks, you might be a little unsure about how to do it. The process isn’t drastically different, but it’s far from the same. While even the best Chromebooks don’t include a “Print screen” key, learning how to take a screenshot on a Chromebook is actually fairly simple — whether you need to grab the entire screen or just a portion.

Quick tips

  • Hold down Ctrl + Switch window key to capture a full screenshot.
  • Hold down Ctrl + Shift + Switch window key to capture a partial screenshot.

Capturing a full screenshot

To take a screenshot of everything you see on your Chromebook’s screen at once, hold down the Ctrl key and press the Switch window key. The latter button is typically located in the top row, in between the Full-screen and Brightness down buttons, and looks like a rectangle followed by two lines.

Open Chrome Downloads Folder

Once you press both keys, you will see a notification in the bottom corner of the screen alerting you that your screenshot has been saved. Screenshot image files save directly to the Chromebook’s Downloads folder, so you can take and access screenshots even when offline, and are labeled with the date and time they were recorded. Click the notification to open the Downloads folder and select the image file.

Note: Screenshots are saved locally and won’t be available on Google Drive unless you manually move the file. For more tips on how to use Google Drive, check out our guide.

If you happen to have a Chromebook with a 360-degree hinge like a Pixelbook, there’s one more method you can use for capturing a full screenshot. As long as you’re running Chrome OS 64.0.3282.134 or later, you can just press the power button and volume down buttons at the same time just like you would on a smartphone. This is great when you’re in tablet mode, where using the keyboard is far from convenient.

Capturing a partial screenshot

Chrome OS can also specify a portion of your screen to take and save a snapshot of. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys at once, then press the Switch window button.

Step 2: Chrome’s cursor will be temporarily replaced with a crosshair. Click and drag a square across the portion of the screen you want to save, then release the trackpad or mouse button.

The partial screenshot will be saved in the Downloads folder, the same as a full screenshot.

Other tips and tricks

Copying screenshots

Screenshot Taken Chrome OS

Chrome OS doesn’t save screenshots as copied images like Windows does when the Print screen button is pressed.

If you’d like 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.

Editing screenshots

The screenshots captured by Chrome OS are ready to share, but if you want to do a little more with them, you should familiarize yourself with Chrome’s built-in image editor. Here’s how to access it.

Step 1: Open the Downloads folder and double-click your screenshot to open it in the image viewer.

Step 2: Click the pen icon in the bottom-right corner of the window to enter edit mode. Tools for cropping, rotation, and brightness adjustments will appear at the bottom of the window.

Step 3: When you’re done, click the pen icon again to finalize your edits. The built-in editor doesn’t allow you to save copies, so you may want to copy the image manually before working on it.

Using external keyboards

If you’re using a Chrome-powered desktop (also known as a Chromebox) or if you’ve plugged an external keyboard (these are some of our favorites) into your Chromebook, the keyboard probably uses a standard function key row instead of Chrome’s dedicated button row.

The good news is that the function keys do the same job — F1 goes back, F2 goes forward, etc. The F5 button works as the Switch window button on standard keyboards, so the screenshot command becomes Ctrl + F5.

Other screenshot tools

Clipular

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 whatever section of your screen that you want. 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.

FireShot: Save an entire page as an image without multiple screenshots. You can save in multiple formats and send them directly to OneNote or email.

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 take video whenever you want. The app supports annotations and easy blurring as well.

SuperChrome: If you primarily take screenshots of webpages, you’ll want to take a look at SuperChrome, which adds tools to your browsing experience that allow you to screenshot an entire website, no matter how awkwardly shaped it may be. there’s also one-click sharing, editing options, and conversion to PDFs among other formats.

Computing

Go hands-free in Windows 10 with speech-to-text support

Looking for the dictation, speech-to-text, and voice control options in Windows 10? Here's how to set up Speech Recognition in Windows 10 and use it to go hands-free in a variety of different tasks and applications within Windows.
Deals

Here are the best Chromebook deals available in March 2019

Whether you want a compact laptop to enjoy some entertainment on the go, or you need a no-nonsense machine for school or work, we've smoked out the best cheap Chromebook deals -- from full-sized laptops to 2-in-1 convertibles -- that won't…
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Mobile

Rooting your Android device is risky. Do it right with our handy guide

Wondering whether to root your Android smartphone or stick with stock Android? Perhaps you’ve decided to do it and you just need to know how? Here, you'll find an explanation and a quick guide on how to root Android devices.
Deals

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for March 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Computing

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.
Deals

Looking for a Chromebook? The Google PixelBook just got a $200 price cut

Once relatively obscure, Chromebooks have come into their own in a big way in recent years. One of our favorites is the super-sleek Google Pixelbook, and it's on sale right now from Amazon for $200 off, letting you score this premium laptop…
Computing

Get the most out of your high-resolution display by tweaking its DPI scaling

Windows 10 has gotten much better than earlier versions at supporting today's high-resolution displays. If you want to get the best out of your monitor, then check out our guide on how to adjust high-DPI scaling in Windows 10.
Mobile

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

We're glad to see that USB-C is quickly becoming the norm. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone. We've got USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A.
Computing

Nvidia’s GTX 1650 graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over the 1050 Ti

Rumors suggest Nvidia might soon launch the GTX 1650, and a leaked benchmark listing from Final Fantasy XV suggests that the new graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over last generation's GTX 1050 Ti. 
Computing

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Computing

Get the new Dell XPS 13 for $750 with this limited-time deal

Dell is currently running a limited time deal lasting through Thursday, March 28, where you can bring home a version of this year's new XPS 13 for around $750 with the use of a special coupon code. 
Mobile

This is the easiest way to save your iPhone data to your computer

Living in fear of losing your contacts, photos, messages, and notes on your iPhone? Fear no more -- in this guide, we'll break down exactly how to back up your iPhone to your computer using Apple's iTunes or to the cloud with iCloud.
Mobile

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.