Welcome to our guide on how to print screen on Windows. Taking screenshots is an incredibly useful tool, whether you’re trying to show someone a problem you’re having with your computer, keep a record of something important, or capture an image for later use. However, if you’ve never done it before, it can be a bit confusing to know where to start. That’s where we come in! In the following article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about how to print screen on Windows. Let’s get started!
Why Take a Screenshot?
Before we dive into the specifics of how to print screen on Windows, let’s talk a bit about why you might want to take a screenshot in the first place. There are plenty of reasons, but some common ones include:
- Sharing information with others: If you’re trying to help someone with a technical problem, taking a screenshot of the issue can be incredibly helpful. It allows you to show them exactly what you’re seeing, making it easier for them to diagnose and fix the issue.
- Keeping a record: Maybe you’re working on a project, and you want to keep a record of all the steps you’re taking. Or maybe you’re doing some online shopping, and you want to keep a record of the items you’re considering. Whatever the case, taking screenshots can be a great way to keep a visual record of what you’re doing.
- Creating content: If you’re a blogger or content creator, you might need to take screenshots to include in your posts. This allows you to illustrate your points more effectively and provide visual examples for your readers.
What Is Print Screen?
Now that we’ve covered why you might want to take a screenshot, let’s talk about what “print screen” actually means. “Print screen” is a shorthand term that refers to a specific key on your keyboard, usually labeled “PrtScn” or “Print Scr”. When you press this key, your computer takes a snapshot of what’s currently on your screen and saves it to your clipboard. You can then paste this image into another program (like Paint, Word, or even an email) and manipulate it as needed.
How to Print Screen on Windows
So, now that you know what print screen is and why you might want to use it, let’s talk about how to actually do it. There are a few different methods you can use, depending on what you’re trying to capture and how you prefer to work. In the following sections, we’ll cover each method in detail.
Method 1: Print Screen Key
Step 1: Locate the Print Screen Key
First things first: you need to locate the print screen key on your keyboard. On most keyboards, it’s labeled “PrtScn”, “Print Scr”, “PrtSc”, or some variation thereof. On some laptops, you may need to hold down an additional key (like “Fn”) to access the print screen function. Consult your laptop’s manual if you’re not sure.
Step 2: Press the Print Screen Key
Once you’ve located the print screen key, press it. You won’t see anything happen, but the image of your screen will be saved to your clipboard.
Step 3: Paste the Image
Next, open up the program where you want to use the screenshot (like Word, Paint, or an email). Click in the spot where you want the image to appear, then press “Ctrl+V” (or right-click and select “Paste”). The screenshot should appear in the program.
Method 2: Windows Key + Print Screen Key
Step 1: Determine If Your Computer Supports This Method
Some computers (usually newer ones) come with a feature called “Windows Ink” that allows you to take screenshots more easily. If your computer has this feature, you can use a keyboard shortcut to take a screenshot without having to paste it into another program. To determine whether your computer supports this method, press the Windows key + Print Screen key at the same time. If your screen dims briefly, then you know the screenshot has been taken and saved to your Pictures folder.
Step 2: Access Your Screenshots
Once you’ve taken a screenshot using this method, you can find it in your Pictures folder. Open up the folder and look for a subfolder called “Screenshots”. Your screenshot should be saved there.
Method 3: Alt + Print Screen Key
Step 1: Determine What You Want to Capture
Unlike the previous two methods, this method allows you to capture a screenshot of only the currently active window (rather than your entire screen). Before you press any keys, make sure the window you want to capture is the active one on your screen.
Step 2: Press the Alt + Print Screen Keys
Next, press the Alt + Print Screen keys at the same time. This will capture an image of the active window and save it to your clipboard.
Step 3: Paste the Image
As with Method 1, you’ll need to paste the image into another program to use it. Open up the program where you want to use the screenshot, then press “Ctrl+V” (or right-click and select “Paste”). The screenshot should appear in the program.
Method 4: Snipping Tool
Step 1: Open the Snipping Tool
If you don’t like any of the previous methods, you can use the Snipping Tool to take screenshots. To open the Snipping Tool, type “snipping tool” into the search bar in your Start menu, then select the program from the results.
Step 2: Choose Your Snip
Once you’ve opened the Snipping Tool, you’ll see a small window with several options. To take a screenshot, click the “New” button. You’ll be presented with several snipping options:
- Free-form snip: draw a free-form shape around the area you want to capture
- Rectangular snip: draw a rectangle around the area you want to capture
- Window snip: select a window to capture (similar to Method 3)
- Full-screen snip: capture your entire screen
Choose the option that best suits your needs.
Step 3: Edit and Save Your Snip
Once you’ve taken your snip, you can edit it (using tools like a pen or highlighter), save it, or copy it to your clipboard. The Snipping Tool is a great option if you need more control over what you’re capturing, or if you want to annotate your screenshots before sharing them.
How to Print Screen on Windows: A Table
|What It Captures
|Where It Saves
|Method 1: Print Screen Key
|Clipboard (must be pasted into another program)
|Method 2: Windows Key + Print Screen Key
|Windows key + PrtScn
|Pictures > Screenshots
|Method 3: Alt + Print Screen Key
|Alt + PrtScn
|Clipboard (must be pasted into another program)
|Method 4: Snipping Tool
|N/A (open from Start menu)
|User’s choice (full screen, window, free-form, etc.)
|User’s choice (save to file or copy to clipboard)
FAQs About How to Print Screen on Windows
Q: What do I do if I accidentally take a screenshot?
A: If you take a screenshot by accident, don’t worry! Just go into the program where you pasted the image, and either delete it or overwrite it with something else.
Q: Can I take a screenshot of just part of my screen?
A: Yes! Methods 1 and 3 will always capture your entire screen, but Method 4 (the Snipping Tool) allows you to select a specific area to capture.
Q: Do I need special software to take screenshots?
A: No, Windows comes with everything you need to take screenshots built in. However, there are plenty of third-party screenshot programs available if you want more features or control.
Q: How do I take a screenshot of the lock screen?
A: Unfortunately, you can’t take a screenshot of the lock screen. This is a security feature designed to prevent unauthorized access to your computer.
Q: Can I take a screenshot of a video?
A: Yes, you can! Just make sure the video is playing on your screen, then use one of the methods outlined above to take a screenshot.
Q: How do I take a screenshot using a Mac?
A: Sorry, this article only covers how to print screen on Windows. However, if you’re a Mac user, you can easily find guides online that will walk you through the process.
A: Once you’ve taken a screenshot, you can save it to a file and then send that file to the other person (either via email, instant message, or another method). Alternatively, you can paste the image into an email or document and send that to the other person.
Q: Can I take a screenshot on a tablet or phone?
A: Yes! The exact method will depend on your device, but most tablets and phones have a combination of buttons you can press to take a screenshot. Consult your device’s manual or do a quick online search to find out how.
Q: Can I take a screenshot of a game?
A: Yes, you can! However, some games may have built-in anti-cheat measures that prevent you from taking screenshots. If this is the case, you’ll need to disable the anti-cheat measures before you can take a screenshot.
Q: How do I open the clipboard?
A: To access the clipboard (where your screenshot is saved), you’ll need to open another program (like Word, Paint, or an email) and press “Ctrl+V” (or right-click and select “Paste”). The image should appear in the program.
Q: How do I crop a screenshot?
A: Once you’ve pasted your screenshot into a program, you can use the cropping tool (usually represented by a square with a dashed line around it) to select the part of the image you want to keep. Then, simply delete the rest of the image.
Q: Can I take a screenshot of a webpage that extends beyond my screen?
A: Yes! There are several third-party programs (like Greenshot or Fireshot) that allow you to capture entire webpages (even the parts that extend beyond your screen). Alternatively, you can use Method 4 (the Snipping Tool) to take multiple screenshots of the webpage and then stitch them together in another program.
Q: How do I take a screenshot without the mouse pointer?
A: If you don’t want the mouse pointer to appear in your screenshot, try one of the following:
- Move the mouse pointer off the screen before taking the screenshot
- Use a program that allows you to hide the mouse pointer (like Greenshot)
Q: Can I take a screenshot in safe mode?
A: Yes, you can take screenshots in safe mode, but some programs (like the Snipping Tool) may not work as expected. If you’re having trouble taking screenshots in safe mode, try restarting your computer normally and trying again.
Q: How do I take a screenshot with a delay?
A: Some third-party programs (like Greenshot) allow you to set a delay before the screenshot is taken. This can be helpful if you need to get everything set up before the screenshot is captured. Alternatively, you can use Method 4 (the Snipping Tool) to set up the screenshot, then use the delay feature on your camera app to take the screenshot.
Q: How do I take a screenshot in Windows 10?
A: The methods outlined above should work in Windows 10, as well as in earlier versions of Windows. If you’re having trouble taking screenshots in Windows 10, try doing a quick online search or consulting your device’s manual for more specific instructions.
And there you have it – everything you need to know about how to print screen on Windows! Whether you’re a seasoned computer user or a complete newbie, we hope this article has been helpful in breaking down the different methods you can use to take screenshots. Remember, taking screenshots is an incredibly useful tool, whether you’re trying to diagnose a problem, keep a record of something important, or create content. So go forth and screenshot away!
While we’ve done our best to provide accurate and helpful information in this article, please keep in mind that every computer is different, and your specific setup may require different steps. Additionally, if you’re using a computer that’s not your own (like one at school or work), there may be restrictions in place that prevent you from taking screenshots. As always, use your best judgement and follow any rules or guidelines that apply to your situation.