How to take a screenshot on a PC

3 easy ways to get that perfect screenshot

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

how to take a screenshot on pc keyboard

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

how to take a screenshot on pc 2

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

how to take a screenshot on pc cropping paint

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

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

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. If it’s been enabled in the Settings menu, hitting Print Screen might even bring it up to give you easy access.

If not, just type Snip into the Windows 10 search bar 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.

It’s a tool that’s constantly evolving though, and with the Windows 10 October 2018 update, it partnered up with image editing functions to create the Sketch and Snip application. Now, 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.

Computing

These are the worst passwords of 2018. Is yours on this list?

Do you use a bad password that makes your online accounts easy to break into? SplashData has compiled a list of the top 100 worst passwords for 2018 and there are quite a few listings that were carryovers from prior lists.
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.
Computing

Is your PC slow? Here's how to restore Windows 10 to factory settings

Computers rarely work as well after they accumulate files and misconfigure settings. Thankfully, with this guide, you'll be able to restore your PC to its original state by learning how to factory reset Windows.
Gaming

How you can share your best gaming moments with friends on the PS4

Check out Digital Trends' quick guide to everything you need to know to save your outstanding PlayStation 4 gameplay moments, share them online, and transfer them to your computer.
Computing

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.
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.
Computing

Microsoft could split up search and Cortana in the next Windows 10 release

In the latest Insider preview build, Microsoft is exploring ways to split up Cortana and search on Windows 10. If Microsoft moves ahead with this change, we could see separate search and Cortana options in the Spring 2019 Update.
Computing

Windows Update not working after October 2018 patch? Here’s how to fix it

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.
Computing

Mining cryptocurrency for Razer Silver isn’t worth your computing power

Gaming peripheral maker Razer launched a cryptocurrency mining scheme called SoftMiner. You use its software to mine and in return, you get Razer Silver which you can use to buy Razer gear.
Computing

Microsoft’s latest patent paves the way for Andromeda dual-screen mobile device

The latest patent discovery from Microsoft showcases a new hinge design for quickly opening a dual-screen mobile device with a single hand. Could this be additional proof surrounding the rumors of the company's Project Andromeda device?
Computing

Heal your wrist aches and pains with one of these top ergonomic mice

If you have a growing ache in your wrist, it might be worth considering changing up your mouse for something ergonomic. But which is the best ergonomic mouse for you? One of these could be the ticket to the right purchase for you.
Computing

Nvidia’s Jetson AGX Xavier module is designed to give robots better brains

Nvidia's pricey Jetson AGX Xavier might help drive the next generation of smart robots. Nvidia hopes that developers will use its new Xavier module to power AI-driven machines like delivery drones and robots used in manufacturing.
Computing

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will update your OG Windows skills

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

Leaked AMD Ryzen 3000 mobile benchmarks look fit for thin, low-power laptops

AMD is poised to give Intel a run for its money in the ultra-low-power processor space for laptops. Leaked benchmarks for the Ryzen 3000 APU series show the AMD processor besting Intel's Core i7 Y series in multicore performance.