screenshot using keyboard

How to Take a Screenshot in Windows

Many users have taken a screenshot once or twice, and some users have even downloaded a third-party app to take and edit screenshots. However, Windows 10 has a variety of screenshot tools that are easy to use. This tutorial will teach you many of the methods for taking screenshots in Windows 10.

Screenshots Using a Basic Keyboard

Most of the shortcut methods under this heading are going to explain how to take screenshots using a basic keyboard. If you have a tablet keyboard or if you are working on a device without a keyboard, you can skip down to the tablet and smartphone methods near the end of this article.

A regular keyboard will have function keys (F1-F12). These keys may or may not share their function with keyboard shortcuts such as muting the speakers or adjusting brightness. If you need to press the [Fn] key to access the keyboard functions, such as [Prt Sc], then you will need to press the [Fn] key in addition to the other keys listed in the methods below. For example, the first method uses the [Prt Sc] key alone, but you may have to press the [Fn] key and the [Prt Sc] key at the same time instead of using the [Prt Sc] key alone, depending on your keyboard and how you have it configured.

Finally, the Print Screen key sometimes has different labels depending on your keyboard manufacturer. Some examples are [PrtSc], [prt scn], [print scrn], [PrintScr], etc.  For consistency, this article will use [Prt Sc].

Use the [Prt Sc] Key Alone

This method takes a screenshot and allows you to paste it into an image editor such as Paint or Paint 3D where you can edit it.

Step #1

Press the [Prt Sc] key.

prt sc key

Step #2

Open the Start menu and type in “Paint 3D” (or the name of the image editing app you wish to use. Then click on it to open that program.

paint 3d

Step #3

Press the [V] key and the [Ctrl] key at the same time to paste your screenshot into the app. Now you can edit your screenshot. Just make sure that you save before closing the program. You can also directly paste the screenshot into documents without editing it since it is stored temporarily on the clipboard.

To Directly Save the Screenshot Without Editing It

This method takes a screenshot and automatically saves it.

Step #1

Press the [Prt Sc] key and the [Windows] key at the same time.

prt sc key windows key

Step #2

The screen will dim for a second to verify the screenshot was taken if you have certain visual effects turned on. You can find the saved PNG image by typing “File Explorer” into the Start menu and opening that option.

file explorer into start menu

Step #3

Then, click on “Pictures.” Windows will have created a “Screenshot” subfolder under “Pictures” and stored the image there.

screenshot folder under pictures

Take a Screenshot of the Active Window

Sometimes you might not want to take a screenshot of your entire computer screen. If you only want to take a screenshot of the active window, use this method.

Step #1

Click on the Window you want to use for the screenshot.

Step #2

Press the [Prt Sc] key and the [Alt] key at the same time.

prt sc key alt key

Step #3

This method copies the image to the clipboard, so you will need to use another program such as Paint 3D or MS Word to view, edit, and save the screenshot. Once you open the program, press the [Ctrl] key and the [V] key to paste the screenshot into the program.

paint 3d

Take a Screenshot of a Section of Your Screen

In some cases, you might want to use a screenshot that only uses one section of your screen. This is a better method to use than taking the screenshot and editing it if you are trying to prevent secure information from showing in your screenshot. This method used to be a part of Microsoft OneNote, but it was integrated into Windows10 with the Creator’s Update. If you have a version of Windows 10 that has not been updated, you will not be able to use this method.

Step #1

Press the [Shift] key, the [S] key, and the [Windows] key all at the same time.

Step #2

After a second or so, the screen will look foggy, and your cursor will change. Click and drag the cursor to select the portion of your screen you want in the screenshot.

drag cursor

Step #3

Like previous methods, this method copies the image to the clipboard. You can use your favorite image viewing/editing app to access and save it. Once you open the app, press the [Ctrl] key and the [V] key together to paste the screenshot into the program.

paint 3d

Take a Screenshot and Quickly Provide Microsoft With Feedback on It

To do this method, you have to be signed in to your Microsoft account. This allows you to quickly provide Microsoft with feedback about suggestions or problems with Windows 10.

Step #1

Press the [F] key and the [Windows] key at the same time.

Step #2

The screen will dim for a second to verify the screenshot was taken if you have certain visual effects turned on. Then, the Feedback hub will open. Follow the onscreen instructions to submit your screenshot.

feedback hub opens

Use the Windows Snipping Tool

The Windows Snipping Tool allows you to take screenshots that are full-screen, rectangular, active windows, and free-form. It gives you more options than the simple shortcut methods already explained without requiring you to download a third-party app.

Step #1

To open the tool, you first need to type “Snipping tool” into the Windows 10 Start menu.

snipping tool

Step #2

When the snipping tool opens, you can either take a “New” screenshot, or you can adjust the Mode. There is also an options menu that allows you to choose several options including if you want to save the snipped screenshots before you exit the app. You can also delay screenshots by up to 5 seconds. Simply click “New” to take a screenshot once you have adjusted the settings.

snipping tools mode options

Step #3

After you take the screenshot, the snipping tool editor will open with the screenshot inside it. The snipping tool itself has limited options for editing the screenshot, but it also has a button to open the screenshot in Paint 3D.

screenshot from paint 3d

Step #4

When you are finished with the tool, be sure to click on “File” and “Save as” to save it. If you have the option chosen, you may be asked if you want to save it on exit as well.

save as file

Take a Screenshot Using Windows 10 Game Bar

Game Bar is a special app for taking screenshots and recording videos while you are gaming. If you want to take a screenshot of your gameplay, use this method. To edit some of the options in this method, you need to get into the Xbox app and find the Game DVR feature. Opening this will give you access to the Game Bar settings.

Step #1

Press the [G] key and the [Windows] key at the same time. Click “Yes” this is a game if the option appears.

open game bar

Step #2

Click on the camera icon to take a screenshot using the Game Bar. The screenshot is automatically saved as a PNG file.

camera icon in game bar

Step #3

To open the screenshot file, click on “Videos.” Both videos and screenshots created using the Game Bar app will be in the “Capture” subfolder.

captures folder under videos folder

Methods for Taking Screenshots on Tablets or Smartphones Without the Print Screen Key

In some cases, you might want to take a screenshot on a device that doesn’t have a [Prt Sc] key. These are methods you can use with these devices. The snipping tool should also be available on these devices and can be accessed by following the method above.

Take a Screenshot on a Tablet Keyboard Without a [Prt Sc] Key

Smaller tablet keyboards don’t always have a [Prt Sc] key, so this method will work on these.

Step #1

To take a screenshot of the full screen, press the [Fn] key and the [Spacebar] at the same time. If you only want a screenshot of the active window, press the [Fn] key, [Alt] key, and [Spacebar] all at the same time.

Step #2

As with some of the [Prt Sc] key methods, this method copies the image to the clipboard. Open the app where you want to use the screenshot, and press the [Ctrl] key and the [V] key together to paste the screenshot into the program.

Take a Screenshot Using a Windows 10 Smartphone

Step #1

Press the [Volume up] key and the [Power] key at the same time.

Step #2

You should hear the camera shutter noise. On a Smartphone, screenshots are usually stored in “Albums” inside the “Screenshots” folder.