How to Take Screenshot on a Windows PC


Earlier we've written an article about how to screenshot on a Mac, today we'll talk about how to take screenshots on Windows. As we all know, there are different Windows systems including Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10. So how is taking a screenshot different among these systems? Let's find out the answer together.

Part 1. How to Take Screenshot on Windows

1. PrintScreen

Suitable for: All Windows systems

There's a built-in screenshot feature on all Windows systems that allows users to take quick screenshots using the "PrintScreen" key on your keyboard. The "PrintScreen" key may also appear as "PrtScn", "PrntScrn", "Print Scr" or others on different keyboards. Usually, it's located on the right side of the "F12" key. You can get a quick view of the Windows keyboard layouts to find your "PrintScreen" key.

When you press the "Print Screen" key, the Windows system will automatically capture the full screen you're viewing, although you may have no feeling of what happened. However, the captured screenshot will not be saved on your computer, you'll have to open Microsoft Paint or another dialog to and press "Paste", then the screenshot you just took will appear.

Windows Keyboard Desktop PrintScreen Key

To take a screenshot of a working window, just press the shortcut "Alt + PrtScn" and paste it to any dialog or document. To capture an entire and save the screenshot, please go for the "Windows icon key + PrtScn" combination, and you can view the screenshot on this location "C:\Users\Your User Name\Pictures\Screenshots".

Windows Screenshot shortcuts Summary:

  • Capture full screen: PrtScn or Ctrl + PrtScn
  • Capture a Window: Alt + PrtScn
  • Capture full screen and save: Windows key + PrtScn

2. Microsoft Edge

Suitable for: Windows 10/8/8.1/7

As a replacement for the Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge is a web browser that originally developed for Windows 10 and Xbox One. But now Edge is compatible with Windows 7/8/8.1, iOS, and Android systems also. There are a lot of build-in advanced features on Microsoft Edge including annotation tools, PDF viewer, reading view, web note, etc. Now let's see how to take a screenshot of a web page with the web note tool on Microsoft Edge.

Step 1. Open Microsoft Edge and head to the web page you want to capture.

Step 2. Click the "Make a Web Note" icon on the upper right corner of the browser.

Microsoft Edge Make A Web Note

Step 3. At the top left, click the "Clip" button. The button appears to be a dashed box with a scissor.

Microsoft Edge Web Note Clip

Step 4. Left-click on anywhere you would like the screenshot starts with, and drag a portion on the web page. As you scrolling down, the web page moves. And you can see the word "Copied" at the bottom of your selection when you let go of your mouse.

Microsoft Edge Web Note Copied

Step 5. Now you can paste the screenshot to Paint or click the "Save" button on the top right to save it to your local device. Also, you can choose the "Share" option to share with others via the internet.

Microsoft Edge Web Note Save

Using Microsoft Edge, it's very easy to take a screenshot of the selected portion of a web page. But it can't help you to capture a portion of a screen. How to? Just keep moving forward on this article.

Part 2. How to Take a Screenshot on Windows 7

Snipping Tool

Except for the "PrintScreen" shortcuts and Microsoft Edge, there's also another build-in capturing program on Windows 7 and later versions to help you take flexible screenshots of an entire or partial of the screen. The program is called the Snipping Tool.

Step 1. Open the Snipping Tool.

The most convenient way to open the Snipping Tool on Windows is to use the startup option. Click the "Start" button and type "spinning tool" on the search bar, and select it in the match result to open it.

Step 2. Choose a snipping mode.

Select "New" on the menu bar to pull down a snipping mode list. You can choose from Full-screen, Windows, Rectangular, and Free-form Snip. The "Free-form Snip" will draw a free-form shape around the object, while "Rectangular Snip" will draw a rectangular box on the object to form a rectangular selected area. Just choose a model according to your requirements.

Microsoft Snipping Tool Modes

Step 3. Take a screenshot.

When you select a snipping mode, you can start to take a screenshot. If you're in "Windows Snip" mode, select which open program you want to capture by highlighting your mouse over the window and left-clicking on it. Then you'll get a screenshot of that open window displayed on the Snipping Tool.

To capture a portion of the screen or any object on your computer, just choose "Rectangular" or "Free-form" mode and draw a selected part by left-clicking with your mouse. When you let go of the mouse, you'll see the selected portion has been captured.

Microsoft Snipping Tool Dragging Box

Step 4. Save the screenshot.

Click the "Save" button on top to save the screenshot to your computer. You can also choose "Copy" to make a copy to the clipboard or select "Email" to send it to others as an email attachment.


"Learn more about how to use the Snipping Tool on this beginner's guide."

Part 3. How to Take a Screenshot on Windows 10

Snip & Sketch

On Windows 10, the original "Snipping Tool" has been replaced with "Snip & Sketch", but the operating steps of taking a screenshot with these two programs are quite similar.

Step 1. Launch Snip & Sketch on your Windows 10 computer.

Step 2. Put the object you want to capture on the front. If you want to capture the desktop, just don't display any program window on it.

Step 3. Click the "New" button on the upper left corner. Now you can see the Snip & Sketch tool has been hidden and the front window has been highlighted with the snipping options floating on it.

Microsoft Snip & Sketch New Capture

Step 4. Choose a snipping mode from "Rectangular", "Free-form", "Windows", and "Full-screen" on the options above the highlighted screen. Then use your mouse to highlight a portion you want to capture if you're using the "Rectangular" or "Free-form" mode.

Microsoft Snip & Sketch Modes

Step 5. The captured screenshot will be opened on the tool. You can edit it with all the available drawing tools.

Step 6. Click the "Save" icon on top to save it anywhere you like on your Windows PC.

That's it. Just as simple as the Snipping Tool, right? If you're interested in the difference between these two Microsoft screenshot tools, go to this article Snipping Tool vs Snip & Sketch: How Do They Differ.


"Learn more about how to use Snip & Sketch to take a screenshot on Windows 10 with this Microsoft tutorial."

To summer up, the "PrintScreen" shortcuts are available on every Windows PC and laptop. So if you only need to capture the full screen or an open window, the build-in "PrintScreen" function is the easiest choice. Microsoft Edge can help you take a screenshot of web pages on Windows 7/8/8.1/10. To take a screenshot of a selective part of the screen, use the "Snipping Tool" on Windows 7 or the "Snip & Sketch" tool on Windows 10.

Have better suggestions? Please don't hesitate to leave a comment. Our readers are looking forward to getting more awesome ideas from you.

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