How to screenshot on Windows

We explain five different ways to screenshot on your Windows PC.

How to screenshot on Windows

Screenshots are a fast and effective way to visually document what’s on your screen. You can use a screenshot to memorialize an interesting event in a game, like slaying the final dragon while armed with only a shovel (true story) or save information, like the serial number for your online pizza delivery. Nowadays, there are several ways to capture the content of your screen in an image.

The Print Screen key

Let’s start with the classic method of taking a screenshot. You can usually find the Print Screen key on the top-right-hand corner of your keyboard, often abbreviated as PrtSc or PrtScn. Hit the key to take a screenshot of your entire screen.

You must paste the screenshot into a program to see it. For example, after pressing the Print Screen key, open Microsoft Paint, Microsoft Word, or Adobe Photoshop and press Ctrl+V to paste the screen capture. You can now save the file on your computer.

Sending screenshots directly to your contacts is also a straightforward task. You can use Ctrl+V to paste the screenshot in an email or Facebook chat window. However, it's best to review the screenshot beforehand to protect your privacy.

The Print Screen key + Alt

PrtSc+Alt is useful if you don’t want to spend time cropping an image. To take a screenshot of just your active window, hit Print Screen and Alt together. Again, you’ll have to paste the image into an app to see it.

The Print Screen key + Windows key

PrtSc+Windows is an excellent option if you wish to take multiple screenshots quickly without spending time saving each one manually. When you hit the Print Screen key and the Windows key together, you grab a screenshot of your entire screen and save it to your Screenshots folder. You can find this folder in your Pictures folder.

Snipping Tool  

Windows users can use the Snipping Tool for more precision than the Print Screen key. Simply press Windows+Shift+S, and you'll see your screen darken and notice a small toolbar at the top. You can use the toolbar for a rectangular, freeform, Window, or Fullscreen snip.

Windows Game Bar

The Game Bar app is a great way to take screenshots inside or outside a program. Press Windows+G to start the app. You'll notice your screen darken and several widgets on your screen. With the screenshot button on the top-left-side of your screen, you can also grab, save, and review screenshots. In addition, you can share them directly on Twitter with a click.

Where do screenshots go on PC?

It depends on how you took them. When using only the Print Screen key, you must manually save the screenshot. When you hit PrtSc+Windows, the screenshot goes into the Pictures folder. To manually change the default location, right-click on the current folder. Click Properties and then head to the Location tab. Here, you can enter a new location for your screenshot.  

How do you take a screenshot on Windows without snipping tool?

  • Print Screen key
  • Print Screen key and Alt key
  • Print Screen key and Windows key
  • Game bar app
  • Screenshot capturing app

As mentioned above, you can use the Snipping Tool or Game Bar app to take screenshots if you don’t want to use the Print Screen key. Additionally, you can download third-party apps to take screenshots too. Ensure that these third-party apps are compatible with your operating system and software before downloading them.

How to screenshot PC games on Windows

The best way to take screenshots or record videos in games in Windows is to use the Game Bar. For more options, you can try an app like ShareX. Of course, many PC games have built-in screenshot options. You’ll have to check the game’s settings for the baked-in screenshot key. Here are a few more screenshotting options for gamers:

  • Steam: The F12 key will take screenshots. You can later view them in your library.
  • Nvidia GeForce Experience: With GeForce Experience active, you can hit Alt+Z for various recording options.
  • Radeon Software: People with AMD graphics cards and Radeon software can take screenshots by hitting Ctrl+Shift+I.

Safety tips

As you can see, taking screenshots is quite easy. With just a click of a button, someone can copy an image you shared on the Internet or document sensitive information from a chat window. Additionally, some spyware apps like keyloggers can take screenshots without your consent or knowledge. Follow these tips to boost your security from screenshotting tools.

  • Add watermarks to protect your valuable visual arts work.
  • Think twice before sharing sensitive information or media. Remember, screenshotting software can even help bad actors take screenshots on Snapchat without the sender knowing.
  • Check out how to securely send your personal information instead of using screenshots for sharing confidential data.
  • Learn how to detect keyloggers on your system.
  • Use antivirus software that employs heuristic analysis to sniff out privacy-invading malware like a screen scraper.
  • Regularly check for Windows updates to protect your operating system from vulnerabilities that spyware can exploit.

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