How to take a screenshot on a computer in Windows

Not all users know how to take a screenshot on a computer or laptop in the Windows operating system. You may need a screen image in different situations: to insert into an article or instruction, to get help from technical support in case of problems, to send a screenshot to social networks, messages or messenger chats, etc.

Screenshot of a computer screen (screenshot, screenshot, screenshot, screen capture) – saving the contents of an entire or a separate area of ​​​​the screen as a graphic image. The resulting picture can be immediately used for your own purposes, or pre-edited using the software.

Most often, users take a screenshot of the Windows desktop, open program windows, online services or websites, and certain areas of the monitor screen. Gamers capture the screen while playing PC games to share the most exciting gaming moments. Screenshot may be needed for insertion into a document or for sending to an addressee by e-mail.

In this article, we will look at how to take a screenshot of the screen on a computer in several ways: using the tools of the Windows operating system, using services on the Internet or third-party software. First, we will analyze how to take a screenshot on Windows with standard tools.

How to take a screenshot on a Windows computer

In the Windows operating system, the user has several ways to take a screenshot: you can take a screenshot on the keyboard or use the built-in system program. Additionally, you can use the help of third-party programs or online services.

In the first case, we do not need additional installation of programs on the PC, the second method assumes that the user will use the screenshot application, which must first be installed on the computer.

Specialized software, as a rule, offers more ways to capture the screen, provides extensive functionality for editing the screenshot.

The process of creating a screenshot in the Windows operating system occurs in the following sequence:

  1. After pressing certain keys or buttons, if the application is used, the screen is captured: the entire visible part, window or area.
  2. Depending on the method used, the screenshot is immediately saved on the computer as a file, bypassing the editor window, or copied to the clipboard (computer memory).
  3. Then the screenshot is pasted from the clipboard into a graphics editor for editing. When using screenshot programs, the screenshot immediately opens in the editor window of this application.
  4. The image is saved on the computer as a file of one of the graphic formats or sent to the cloud storage.

In this article, we will look at several ways on how to take a screenshot of Windows using system tools, using services on the Internet or specialized programs.

How to take a screenshot using the keyboard

The easiest way to take a screenshot on a computer or laptop is to take a screenshot using the keyboard. You probably noticed on your device the “Print Screen” key, which is indicated on the keyboard in several abbreviated versions: “PrtSc”, “PrtScr”, “PrntScr”, “PrtScn”.

After pressing a key on the keyboard, the screenshot is saved to the clipboard on the computer. A screenshot can be opened in a graphics editor for processing before saving it in a graphical format, or immediately inserted into the desired file that supports the insertion of graphic objects.

Use two options to create a capture of the entire computer screen. The first method is performed using a graphical editor, and the second – without intermediate editing.

1 option:

  1. Press the “Print Screen” key.
  2. The screen capture is copied to the clipboard.
  3. Open a graphics editor such as Paint if you need to pre-process the image before saving it to your PC.

The Paint program is located in the Start menu, in the Windows Accessories folder.

  1. Press the “Ctrl” + “V” keys to paste the image into the editor.
  2. Edit the screenshot thumbnail and then save it in one of the supported graphic formats.

Option 2:

  1. Press the “Print Screen” key.
  2. Open the desired file where you want to insert this picture, for example, a Word document, or any other application that supports inserting images.
  3. Hold down the “Ctrl” + “V” keys to paste the screenshot into the open file.

To take a screenshot of the active window on the computer screen, you must press another key combination: “Alt” + “Print Screen”.

Some laptops use a simplified keyboard to save physical space. On similar laptop models, in addition to using the standard keys, you must additionally press the Fn function key.

In these cases, the keyboard shortcuts for taking screenshots are as follows:

  • “Fn” + “Print Screen” – capture the entire screen.
  • “Fn” + “Alt” + “Print Screen” – a snapshot of the active window on the PC screen.

Taking a screenshot using the On-Screen Keyboard in Windows 10

The Windows operating system has a built-in virtual on-screen keyboard that appears on the computer screen. The on-screen keyboard is used instead of a physical external device connected to the PC. Along with performing other operations, you can take screenshots on it, just like on a regular keyboard.

To open the on-screen keyboard, do the following:

  1. Enter the start menu.
  2. In the Accessibility folder, click the On-Screen Keyboard app icon.

How to take a screenshot on the keyboard in Windows 10

In addition to the standard option, you can take a screenshot on a Windows 10 computer using another method. In this case, the “Windows” key (it shows the logo of the operating system) on the keyboard will be used.

To take a screenshot of the entire screen, follow these steps:

  1. Press the “Win” + “Print Screen” keys.
  2. The screenshot is automatically saved to the “Screenshots” folder located in the “Pictures” system folder along the path:


In some cases, the user does not need to save the screenshot as a separate file on the computer. For example, we need to add a screenshot to the clipboard, and then paste it into a file, document, etc.

In this case, press the keys: “Win” + “Shift” + “Print Screen”. With this keyboard shortcut, the screenshot is not saved in the default folder, but is only in the clipboard.

Taking a screenshot with built-in Windows applications

The Windows operating system has a standard screenshot application called Snipping Tool, which allows you to capture the entire screen, window, rectangle, or arbitrary area, and then edit the thumbnail before saving it to your computer.

In Windows 10, in addition to Scissors, there is another system application – Screen Snip Sketch, with more functionality. There are detailed articles on the use of these programs on my site.

How to take a screenshot using third-party programs

In addition to the built-in tools of the Windows operating system, other ways are available to the user to create screenshots on a computer using third-party software. The principle of operation of such programs is the same: they replace the clipboard and open the image in the editor window for processing, in order to then save the finished image to disk or upload it to online storage.

There is quite a lot of such software available: FastStone Capture, SnagIt, HyperSnap, WinSnap, Joxi, LightShot, etc. In specialized applications for screenshots, as a rule, more advanced features compared to system tools, in particular, to capture the screen and photo editing.

Screenshots in Yandex Disk

The application installed on a computer from the Yandex Disk cloud storage includes a tool for creating screenshots: “Screenshots in Yandex.Disk”.

In Yandex.Disk Screenshot Editor, you can take a screenshot of an area, a window, or the entire screen. In the program window, you can open a file from a computer for editing in this application.

The screenshot opens in the editor window, which has various tools for changing the appearance of the created snapshot.

A similar application is included in the cloud client program.

Web Page Capture Services and Browser Extensions

There are online services for creating screenshots of website pages by URL. They work as follows:

  1. The user enters the web page of the service.
  2. Inserts a link to the site page in a special field.
  3. The service takes a screenshot of this site.
  4. The user downloads the finished image to his PC.

There are a large number of browser extensions that perform screen capture functions. Screenshot extensions can be installed in the browser from the Chrome, Opera, Microsoft Edge, Firefox stores. In the extension store, enter the word “screenshot” in the search field, as a result, you will get a huge selection of similar browser add-ons.

Article Conclusions

Many users need to take a screenshot of a Windows screen, part of the screen, or an open active window. In some cases, you need to immediately save the image to the PC, and in others, the saved screen thumbnail must be edited before saving. This article talks about how to take a screenshot in Windows in different ways: on a computer keyboard, using specialized programs, or using web services on the Internet.

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