How to take a screenshot on a PC

These quick tips will help you get the perfect screenshot on a PC

If you need tech support to help you out with a problem or just want to capture a great moment on your PC, you need to know how to take a screenshot.

There are a number of different ways to do so in Windows and which method you prefer will be entirely down to your preferences. We’ll walk you through the easiest way to start off — and then offer an alternative method at the end.

Step 1: Capture the image

Bring up whatever it is you want to capture on your screen and press the Print Screen (often shortened to “PrtScn”) key. It’s typically located in the upper-right corner of your keyboard and will take a screengrab of everything on all of your displays. Alternatively, press Alt + Print Screen to capture a screenshot of the active window. If you’re on a laptop, you may need to press Fn + Print Screen or the Windows key + Print Screen if your laptop has another feature assigned to that particular key.

In many computers, your screen will flicker or darken briefly to let you know that the screenshot has been taken. However, sometimes there’s no obvious sign that screenshot worked, so you’ll have to look in your storage to make sure it was taken. Note that if you aren’t using the Fn key, make sure that the key is not illuminated or turned on: On some laptops, a lit Fn key will prevent the screenshot process from working properly because Windows registers three keys instead of two (same with Caps lock, etc.).

Microsoft’s OneDrive will typically save the screen automatically in the OneDrive folder. You will now be able to find it there, in Pictures, under Screenshots (the Screenshots folder may appear if this your first one). You can go here to open the file and rename it if you wish. If you have Dropbox installed, the screenshot may also be automatically deposited in your Dropbox directory, under Screenshots (ideal for your “Showcase“).

Step 2: Open Paint

Check out your screenshot in the Screenshots folder. If you like it just the way it is, great! You can save it, move it, attach it to an email, and upload it wherever you need. However, for many screenshots you may also want to crop or alter it in some way. There are many programs that can do this, but the one closest at hand is the long-suffering Microsoft Paint.

As long as you’re running the latest version of Windows 10, type “Paint” into the Windows search bar and click the corresponding result.

Step 3: Paste the screenshot

Once Paint is open, click the Paste button in the upper-left corner of the program, or press Ctrl + V on the keyboard to paste your screenshot. You should see the image you captured appear in your edit windows in Paint.

From there, perform any edits you want, including cropping or selecting a certain part of it.

Step 4: Save the screenshot

paint-screenshot-windows

Click the main File option in the upper-left corner, followed by Save as.

Title the new file, choose a save location, and select your desired file format from the drop-down menu. For most purposes, JPG will do fine, but a variety of other formats are available to choose from such as PNG, BMP, GIF and others. Click the gray Save button in the bottom-right corner when finished.

And that’s it! You’re done.

Alternatives: The Snipping Tool

Windows Snipping Tool

The best alternative method is the Windows 10 Snipping Tool. The built-in screen capture utility in Windows works well enough, but it’s not the most robust or versatile when it comes to saving a snapshot of your screen. The Snipping Tool, however, is a utility that allows users to better define and capture portions of their desktop display as a screenshot, without the need for a keyboard.

To start, just type Snipping tool into the Windows 10 search bar and select it to open it up. From there, it’ll give you options such as drawing a Free-form Snip, a Windows Snip, or a Rectangular Snip. You can even set it to delay a certain amount of time if you’re trying to capture a precise moment in a video or animation. You can then take repeated snips in the same mode simply by pressing the Alt and N keys.

The snipping tool continues to gain new functionality as well. For example, it can now use image editing functions to create the Sketch and Snip application. Any time you take a screenshot it will automatically appear as a thumbnail — like MacOS Mojave does — so that you can then take it straight to the Snip and Sketch app for easy editing.

If you want even more options for choosing and customizing your screenshot (and don’t mind downloading a new app), we suggest giving LightShot a try. Lightshot may be a better option for more professional work, or screenshots that need significant editing.

Computing

Microsoft wants to put an ad for Office right on your keyboard

Microsoft could be adding a dedicated Office key to Windows keyboards in the future. Screenshots of a survey sent out regarding the key have surfaced and leave us wondering why Microsoft would want to add such a key?
Photography

Tapped out? Edit faster with 5 gesture shortcuts in Lightroom CC on mobile

Missing those keyboard shortcuts when photo editing on a smartphone or iPad? Lightroom has a handful of gesture-based controls that can help fill the gaps, if you know where to find them.
Photography

What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom CC has evolved into a capable photo editor, but is it enough to supplant Lightroom Classic? We took each program for a test drive to compare the two versions and see which is faster, more powerful, and better organized.
Home Theater

Watch Amazon Prime Video on your Chromecast — no Fire TV Stick needed

Amazon won't add Chromecast capability to its Instant Video app for Android any time soon, and it won't release an app for Android TV. But there's still a way to get that video on your TV by using your computer and a browser extension.
Computing

The best webcams you can buy are mostly made by Logitech

Webcams are a bundled feature in most laptops, but if yours doesn't have one or you're video conferencing on a desktop, you might need a standalone webcam. These are the best webcams you can buy.
Deals

Amazon deal cuts prices on the latest 11-inch Apple iPad Pro tablets

The Apple iPad Pro has been among our favorite tablets since its initial release in 2018. While Amazon and Samsung offer powerful products, no tablet can touch the iPad Pro's power and productivity. Score yours now on Amazon for just $699.
Computing

Forget Facebook: These are the 5 weirdest cryptocurrencies you can buy today

Though cryptocurrency may sound like a big and serious topic, a few of its implementations are actually fun. From Shiba Inus to feline coins and everything in between, we've rounded up the most eccentric digital coins.
Computing

Time for a desk upgrade! These great stands will elevate and protect your laptop

The best laptop stands keep your laptop cool and elevated to a position where it's most comfortable to work. Stands come in many different designs with a number of added features, so here are our favorites.
Computing

PCI Express 6.0 is coming in 2021, and it’s already overkill

The PCI Special Interests Group began laying out the specifications for its next, next-generation motherboard socket: PCI Express 6.0. It will double bandwidth again and offer some clever efficiency-boosting technologies.
Cars

Volkswagen says no thanks to outsiders as it develops its own operating system

Volkswagen is taking software development into its own hands instead of joining forces with tech companies. It's assembling a team of more than 5,000 engineers to design an operating system that will equip in all of its cars by 2025.
Computing

Dive into the best VR experiences available now on the Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift brought back virtual reality and put a modern twist on it. Grab your Touch Controllers, put on your VR headset, and jump into the fun with some of the best Oculus Rift games available now.
Gaming

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 29 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Computing

What is Libra? Here’s what you need to know about Facebook’s new cryptocurrency

Facebook released a white paper announcing its new cryptocurrency, Libra, which it intends as a way to enable more people around the world to process online payments. Here's how the new blockchain technology works.
Computing

From Air to Pro, here are the best MacBook deals for June 2019

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.