Learn How to Screenshot on Windows: A Comprehensive Guide

Screenshots are an essential tool for capturing and sharing information displayed on your computer screen. If you’re wondering how to screenshot on Windows, this guide will provide you with a clear and concise introduction to the topic, outlining different methods and tools to capture, edit, and save screenshots on your Windows device.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, this guide offers valuable insights into the benefits and purposes of taking screenshots, comparing and contrasting the various methods available for capturing and editing screenshots on Windows.

Taking a Screenshot on Windows

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Taking a screenshot is an essential skill in the digital world. It enables you to capture, share, and save a copy of your screen for various purposes. With the Windows operating system, you can choose from several methods to capture your screen.

1. Print Screen Key, How to screenshot on windows

One of the most straightforward methods to take a screenshot on Windows is using the Print Screen key (PrtScn). This key, usually located at the top-right corner of your keyboard, allows you to capture the entire screen. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Press the PrtScn key. The entire screen will be copied to the clipboard.
  2. Open an image editing application like Microsoft Paint, Photoshop, or GIMP.
  3. Press Ctrl + V to paste the copied screen or choose Edit > Paste from the top menu.
  4. Save the image in your preferred image format such as .png, .jpg, or .bmp.

2. Snipping Tool

The Snipping Tool, introduced in Windows Vista, offers more flexibility than the Print Screen key for screen capturing. The Snipping Tool allows you to select a specific portion of the screen and offers additional features such as adding annotations. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Press the Windows key and search for ‘Snipping Tool’ or launch it using the Start menu.
  2. Select ‘New’ to initiate a new screenshot.
  3. Click and drag your mouse to select the desired portion of your screen.
  4. Save your screenshot by clicking ‘Save Snip’ from the toolbar or pressing Ctrl + S.


The Print Screen key is the quickest way to capture and save a screenshot, but it requires additional steps for editing. The Snipping Tool, on the other hand, is more flexible and versatile, offering various screenshot modes like rectangular, free-form, window, and full-screen snips.

However, this method requires more clicks to complete the process.Choose the method that fits your needs and preferences. Familiarize yourself with both techniques to effectively communicate, share, or save visual information in your daily digital interactions.

Editing and Saving a Screenshot

How to screenshot on windows

After taking a screenshot on your Windows device, you might need to edit or annotate it before saving or sharing. This section will guide you through editing and saving a screenshot using Windows tools and third-party options.

Editing a Screenshot with Windows Tools

Windows has built-in tools like the Snipping Tool and Paint that can be used for editing and annotating screenshots. Here’s how to use each tool:

  • Snipping Tool:Open the Snipping Tool, capture a snip, and then click the Editbutton in the mark-up window that appears. Use the highlighter, pen, and eraser tools to edit your snip. Save the edited screenshot by clicking File> Save As.
  • Paint:Open Paint, click File> Opento open your screenshot, and then use the Toolstab for editing options like pens, brushes, and the eraser. Save the edited screenshot by clicking File> Save As.

Third-Party Tools for Editing Screenshots

  • Snagit:A popular option for screenshot editing, Snagit offers advanced annotation features, including automatic image editing and sharing options. It is a paid tool, with a free trial available.

    Visit the official TechSmith Snagit website for more information and to download the trial.

  • Lightshot:A lightweight and user-friendly browser plugin or desktop app for screenshots and annotations. It is completely free for personal and commercial use.

    Download Lightshot from their official website .

File Formats for Saving Screenshots

When saving your edited screenshots, consider the following file formats:

  • PNG:Suitable for images with transparent backgrounds or complex shapes, PNGs maintain image quality and support transparency.
  • JPG:Ideal for photographs or complex images, JPGs are smaller files than other formats, but may have lower quality.
  • BMP:Used for uncompressed images, BMPs maintain high quality but result in larger file sizes. In most cases, it is best to avoid this format unless needed for a specific reason.

Saving a Screenshot using the Snipping Tool

After editing your screenshot in the Snipping Tool, follow these steps to save your edited screenshot:

  1. Click the Save Asbutton in the Snipping Tool window.
  2. Choose a location to save your edited screenshot.
  3. Enter a file name for the screenshot in the File Namefield.
  4. Select your desired file format (PNG or JPG) from the Save as Typedropdown menu.
  5. Click the Savebutton to save your edited screenshot to the desired location.

Concluding Remarks: How To Screenshot On Windows

How to screenshot on windows

With this comprehensive guide, you should now have a solid understanding of the different methods and tools for taking screenshots on Windows. By mastering these techniques, you can communicate more effectively and efficiently share important information with others.

Questions Often Asked

What is the difference between the Print Screen key method and the Snipping Tool method for taking screenshots on Windows?

While both methods capture a screenshot of your Windows device, the Print Screen key method captures the entire screen, while the Snipping Tool allows you to capture a specific area or window. Another difference is that the Print Screen key method automatically saves the image to the clipboard, while the Snipping Tool provides additional options for editing and saving the screenshot.

Can I edit screenshots on Windows without using third-party tools?

Yes, Windows offers several built-in tools for editing screenshots, such as the Snipping Tool and the Paint app. These tools provide basic editing options like cropping, resizing, and adding text or shapes.

What file formats are available for saving screenshots on Windows?

The most common file formats for saving screenshots on Windows are PNG and JPEG. PNG files support transparency and higher quality, but are typically larger in size, while JPEG files are smaller and lower in quality but can be useful for quick sharing.