Taking screenshots may seem a bit mundane regarding technical skills, but it’s an important daily skill though. Screenshots are useful at work, and may be necessary for your records, or even required by technical support to explain an error you encounter. Or, you might just want to capture an interesting moment happening on your screen.
But if you’re going to take a screenshot on a Windows PC, it’s worth noting that there is more than one way to create it. These options can include using the Print Screen key, sending screenshots to OneDrive, capturing one via the game bar, and more. Our premium method uses Paint, but you can edit screenshots using almost any tool or third party.
Step 1: Capture the image
On the external keyboards, you’ll find a dedicated PrtScn key in the upper-right corner. The Win key is usually located at the bottom left between the Ctrl and Alt keys. It is equipped with the Windows logo, so it is not difficult to miss.
On laptops, the Print Screen command may be combined with another function on one key, as described above. In this case, the function key (Fn) must be pressed in addition to the print screen key.
Here are the details for the six screen capture commands:
>Print Screen (PrtScn) – to capture the entire screen. If you have more than one display screen, this function captures everything displayed across all connected displays as a single image. By default, this method does not save your image as a file, but only sends the captured image to the clipboard.
>Alt + Print Screen – Capture one window. Make sure to highlight the target window first, such as a document or browser, before pressing these two keys (or three on a laptop). By default, this method does not save your image as a file, but only sends the captured image to the clipboard.
>Win + Print Screen – Capture the entire screen. The difference here is that Windows saves the image as a file. By default, it is sent to C: Users Pictures> Screenshots on your computer.
>Win + Shift + S – Take a screenshot with the included Snip & Sketch tool. The screen is dimmed and offers four options on a small toolbar: rectangle, freeform, window, and full screen. This tool does not save snapshots as an image but only sends it to the clipboard. We’ll expand on that later in the guide.
>Win + G – Opens the game bar. Click the screenshot button and this tool will save an image to C: Users Videos> Capture by default. To use this tool, be sure to turn on the game bar screen capture feature in Settings> Games> Game bar.
>Win + Alt + Print Screen – to capture the entire screen. This command saves an image to C: Users Videos> Capture by default. To use this tool, be sure to turn on the game bar screen capture feature in Settings> Games> Game bar.
In some cases, the screen flickers or blurs to indicate that Windows has held a screenshot. If not, open File Explorer and head to the default locations to see if Windows saved your image.
If you use OneDrive, you can save screenshots to the cloud so that they can be accessed from every device. Doesn’t save screenshots by default. Instead, you must right-click the cloud icon in standby mode next to the system clock and click Settings in the pop-up menu. After that, click the Backup tab in the resulting popup and check the box below screenshots.
In this case, you can press the first three screen print commands to automatically save the image in OneDrive. You will not see the screen flash or blur – you will receive a notification instead. Make sure to sync your screenshots folder if you want to access images on your computer.
Finally, if you have Dropbox, screenshots may automatically upload the screenshots folder to the cloud storage, which may be perfect for your “viewing”.
Step 2: Open Paint
If you use the locally saved screenshot method as a file, you can locate and view the image using the Pictures app. If everything looks great, you can move it, attach it to an email, upload it to the cloud, etc. However, if you need to crop a photo – especially the one captured on computers with more than one screen – you have three original tools at your disposal: Paint, 3D Paint, and Photo.
Compared to Paint and Paint 3D, Microsoft’s new photo app is somewhat limited. You can rotate and crop images, change the aspect ratio, apply filters, adjust color, remove red-eye, and more. You cannot draw or draw on your photos, nor can you create a picture from scratch and paste it from the clipboard.
In this guide, we use the oldest paint program because it is familiar and reliable. By default, you won’t find it listed in the Start menu. Instead, type Paint in the search field on the taskbar and click the resulting desktop application.
Painting may also be available when you right-click an image. When the pop-up menu appears, hover over the Open With menu option to see Paint on a secondary menu, as shown below.
Alternatively, you can locate the program – mspaint.exe – in the C: WindowsSystem32 directory. Right-click on the file and select Install Initially from the pop-up menu.
Step 3: Paste the screenshot (clipboard only)
You will need to do this if you use a screenshot method that sends capture to the clipboard.
With Paint open, click the Paste-style clipboard button in the upper-left corner. You can also press the keyboard Ctrl and V keys to paste the image onto the blank canvas, which expands accordingly.
By properly inserting your screenshot into Paint, you can crop, paint, create shapes, add text, and more. If you want to add stickers, 3D shapes, effects, and more, click the Edit Color button with the 3D Paint on the right side of the toolbar.
Step 4: Save the screenshot
This method applies to all screen capture methods.
When you’re done editing the image, click the main file option in the upper-left corner. Next, select Save As in the drop-down menu. This option expands with the selection of four file formats – PNG, JPEG, BMP, and GIF – along with the other formats option to save your image as TIFF or HEIC.
If you are not familiar with the image formats, see our guide, JPEG vs. PNG: When and why one format should be used above the other.
Whatever format you choose, a popup window appears. Enter a file name and select the desired file format from the drop-down menu. You can also specify a specific destination if you do not want to save the screenshot to the default location.
When you’re ready, click the gray Save button in the lower left corner.
And that’s all! you are done.