Snapping screenshots in Windows 10 can be helpful indeed. Screenshots are useful for quickly showing someone what’s on your desktop, or grabbing a quick moment from a video that you need to share. Taking screenshots with Windows 10’s built-in controls is easy, but the methods to do so aren’t exactly obvious.
Here are three built-in Windows screenshot keyboard shortcuts, most of which will also work in earlier versions of Windows. We’ll also suggest a few third-party applications for those who need a more powerful screenshot utility.
The old screenshot standard still exists in Windows 10. Press the PrtScn button and your entire screen (or screens, in a multi-monitor set-up) is copied to the clipboard. From there you can paste it into Paint, GIMP, IrfanView, Photoshop, or any other photo program that allows you to paste in an image.
Add the Windows key
An upgraded version of PrtScn available since Windows 8 is Windows key + PrtScn. Tap those two keys simultaneously and your screen (or screens) will “blink” for a second, as if a camera shutter was opening and closing. Open File Explorer, navigate to Pictures > Screenshots, and your screenshot will be there waiting for you.
Just the current window please
If all you need is a screenshot of the current program you’re using—such as Chrome, Word, Excel, or PowerPoint—tap Alt + PrtScn. That will copy an image of the window currently in focus to the system clipboard. Just like using the PrtScn shortcut, you can then paste the image into the photo editing or other image-friendly program (like the Gmail web app).
If you need to go deeper than the tools Windows 10 offers, third-party programs and extensions can scratch your itch. The easiest alternative is the clipping tool that comes with OneNote 2016 for the desktop. All you have to do is open OneNote and the clipping tool will appear in the system tray, under the upward-facing arrow to the far right of the Windows 10 taskbar.
Look for the OneNote icon with a pair of scissors on top of it. Right-click the clipping tool and select Take screen clipping from the context menu. Your screen will freeze and turn a transparent gray color, while the mouse pointer turns into a precision cursor (a big plus sign).
To take your screen clipping, click and drag in a rectangular or square shape over the area that you want, and then release the mouse button. After a few seconds a pop-up window appears with options to save the clipping directly to a OneNote notebook or copy the image to the clipboard for use in a different program.
If you need a screenshot tool with free-form captures, effects, annotations, and other nifty features, there are a number of third-party solutions you could try such as Greenshot, Monosnap, or PicPick. For browser-based solutions try Awesome Screenshot or Nimbus.
If the only extra feature you need is annotations don’t forget about Microsoft Edge’s built-in screenshot feature (pictured at the top of this post) that saves full or cropped website screenshots with annotations to OneNote.