Step-by-Step Guide to Taking Screenshots on Windows PC

Step-by-Step Guide to Taking Screenshots on Windows PC

Taking screenshots on a Windows PC is a fundamental skill that can enhance productivity, communication, and creativity.

Whether you need to capture an error message for tech support, save a memorable moment from a video, or document a tutorial, knowing how to take and manage screenshots efficiently is essential.

Here’s a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to help you master this useful task.

Method 1: Using the Print Screen (PrtScn) Key

The Print Screen key is the most straightforward way to capture your screen.


  1. Locate the Print Screen Key: It’s typically labeled as “PrtScn” or “Print Scr” and is found on the upper right side of your keyboard.
  2. Capture the Entire Screen: Press the PrtScn key. This captures the entire screen and copies it to the clipboard.
  3. Paste the Screenshot: Open an image editor like Paint or a document editor like Word. Press Ctrl + V to paste the screenshot.
  4. Save the Screenshot: In Paint, click on File > Save As, choose your desired file format (e.g., PNG, JPEG), name your file, and save it.

Method 2: Using the Windows + Print Screen Key

This method automatically saves your screenshot.


  1. Capture and Save: Press Windows Key + PrtScn. The screen will dim briefly, indicating a screenshot has been taken.
  2. Locate the Screenshot: Navigate to Pictures > Screenshots in File Explorer to find your saved screenshot.
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Method 3: Using the Snipping Tool

The Snipping Tool allows you to capture specific parts of your screen.


  1. Open the Snipping Tool: Type “Snipping Tool” into the Windows search bar and open the application.
  2. Choose Snip Type: Click on Mode (or the arrow next to New in older versions) and select the type of snip you want (Free-form, Rectangular, Window, or Full-screen).
  3. Capture the Screenshot: Click New and use your mouse to capture the desired area.
  4. Save the Screenshot: Click on the floppy disk icon or press Ctrl + S to save your snip.

Method 4: Using Snip & Sketch

Snip & Sketch offers more advanced features compared to the Snipping Tool.


  1. Open Snip & Sketch: Press Windows Key + Shift + S. The screen will dim, and a small menu will appear at the top.
  2. Select Snip Type: Choose from Rectangular, Free-form, Window, or Full-screen snip.
  3. Capture and Edit: After capturing, the screenshot is copied to the clipboard and a notification appears. Click on the notification to open Snip & Sketch and make any edits.
  4. Save the Screenshot: Click on the floppy disk icon or press Ctrl + S to save your snip.

Method 5: Using Game Bar

Game Bar is useful for capturing screenshots during gaming but works for any application.


  1. Open Game Bar: Press Windows Key + G. If prompted, confirm that the Game Bar is open.
  2. Take a Screenshot: Click on the camera icon or press Windows Key + Alt + PrtScn. The screenshot is saved automatically.
  3. Locate the Screenshot: Find your screenshots in Videos > Captures within File Explorer.
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Method 6: Using Third-Party Tools

There are many third-party applications that offer advanced screenshot capabilities, such as Snagit, Lightshot, and Greenshot.

Step-by-Step (Example with Lightshot):

  1. Install Lightshot: Download and install Lightshot from the official website.
  2. Launch Lightshot: Press PrtScn after installation. Lightshot will override the default PrtScn function.
  3. Capture and Edit: Select the area you want to capture. Use the editing tools provided by Lightshot to annotate if needed.
  4. Save or Share: Save the screenshot to your computer or upload it to the cloud directly from Lightshot.

Tips for Better Screenshots

  • Organize Your Screenshots: Create specific folders for different types of screenshots to keep your files organized.
  • Annotate When Necessary: Use built-in tools or third-party apps to add annotations, highlights, or arrows to make your screenshots more informative.
  • Learn Keyboard Shortcuts: Familiarize yourself with shortcuts to speed up the process. For instance, Alt + PrtScn captures the active window.
  • Use Cloud Storage: Save your screenshots to cloud storage services like OneDrive or Google Drive for easy access and sharing.


Mastering the art of taking screenshots on a Windows PC can significantly enhance your productivity and communication. Whether you’re capturing a full screen, a specific window, or a custom area, Windows offers a variety of tools to suit your needs.

By following this step-by-step guide, you’ll be well-equipped to capture and manage screenshots efficiently, making your workflow smoother and more effective.

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D. Jessica

D. Jessica is a mum to two sweet little boys. She hoards children's books and sunglasses, and is a sucker for anything bright and shiny.

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