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.

Web

Privacy-focused DuckDuckGo added to Chrome as a default search option

DuckDuckGo is now listed as a default search option on Google’s popular Chrome browser. The privacy-focused search engine was added this week as part of the browser's latest update.
Computing

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…
Computing

Enjoy Windows on a Chromebook with these great tips and tricks

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only software.
Computing

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will take your skills to a new level

Windows 10 has many new features, and they come flanked with useful new keyboard shortcuts. Check out some of the new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience and save more time!
Computing

Old Nvidia graphics cards to get ray tracing support in upcoming driver

Nvidia's RTX ray tracing technology will no longer be limited to RTX graphics cards. An upcoming driver update will add support for low-end ray tracing to GTX 10-series and 16-series graphics cards.
Computing

Apple iMac gets more powerful with new Intel CPUs, Radeon Pro graphics

Apple on Tuesday, March 19 refreshed its iMac lineup with new models featuring slightly more powerful Intel processors and new AMD graphics cards. The new 27-inch 5K model comes with options for Intel's six-core or eight-core ninth-gen…
Cars

Nvidia’s new simulator brings virtual learning to autonomous vehicle developers

Nvidia introduced a simulator for testing autonomous vehicle technologies. Drive Constellation is a cloud-based platform technology vendors can use to validate systems efficiently, safely, and much faster than with vehicles on real roads.
Photography

Paper designs digitize in real time using an Illustrator-connected paper tablet

Love graphic design, but prefer the feel of real paper? The new Moleskine Paper Tablet - Creative Cloud Connected syncs with Adobe Illustrator in real time, turning paper sketches into digital drawings.
Computing

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.
Computing

Firefox 66 is here and it will soon block irritating autoplay videos

Do web advertisements have you frustrated? Mozilla is here to help. The latest version of the browser will soon block autoplaying videos by default and will also help make web page scrolling smoother.
Computing

USB4 will be the fastest and most uniform USB standard yet

USB4 is on the horizon and alongside a massive boost in speed it's also unifying with the Thunderbolt 3 standard to help finally create a singular wired connection protocol that all devices can enjoy.
Computing

The U.S. government plans to drop $500M on a ridiculously powerful supercomputer

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced plans to build a $500 million exascale supercomputer by 2021. The project, known as the Aurora supercomputer, is expected to boost research efforts in fields such as public health.
Buying Guides

Apple has powered up its iMac lineup, but which one should you opt for?

With new processors and graphics cards for both the 4K and 5K models, the iMac feels like a good option for creatives again. But which should you buy? Here's our guide to choosing the right Apple all-in-one for your needs.
Product Review

4K and 144Hz? Yup, the Acer Predator XB3 will max out your gaming PC

The Predator XB3 isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you have a system that can push over 100 frames per second in 4K screen resolution, this monster of a monitor might be the perfect match for your overpowered gaming rig.