How to Easily Take a Screenshot on Windows 7, 8, and 10 [2024 Guide]

Quick Answers:

Taking a screenshot on Windows is easy – just press the “Print Screen” (PrtScn) key to capture the entire screen, or use the Snipping Tool app to select and screenshot a portion of your screen. To take a screenshot with Snipping Tool, open the app, choose the area you want to capture, then save or copy the snip once captured. With these built-in Windows options, taking customized screenshots to save or share is quick and convenient.


Taking screenshots is a useful way to capture what’s displayed on your computer screen, whether it’s an error message, a webpage you want to save, or something you want to share. Windows has built-in tools that make it easy to take screenshots without having to install any additional software.

The steps for taking screenshots are similar across Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10, with a few minor differences. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll provide an overview of the various screenshot methods and walk you through instructions for each major version of Windows.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Quick Screenshots

The fastest way to take a screenshot is by using keyboard shortcuts. This allows you to capture full screens, active windows or custom selections without having to use your mouse.

1. Windows Key + Print Screen

Pressing the Windows logo key together with the Print Screen (PrtScn) key will immediately take a screenshot of your entire display and save it to the Pictures > Screenshots folder.

A notification will briefly appear confirming the screenshot was taken. This is the quickest way to grab a full screen capture.

2. Alt + Print Screen

To take a screenshot of just the currently active window instead of the full screen, hold the Alt key and press Print Screen.

This saves an image of the window in focus without capturing any background or other windows. The screenshot gets saved to your Pictures folder.

Snipping Tool for Custom Screenshots

When you want to capture a specific portion of your screen, the Snipping Tool is very useful for taking customized screenshots.

1. Opening the Sniping Tool

To open the Snipping Tool app in Windows:

Windows 7: Go to Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories > Snipping Tool

Windows 8: From the Start screen, type “Snipping Tool” and click on it.

Windows 10: Start typing “snip” on the taskbar search box and select Snipping Tool.

Alternatively, you can press Windows + Shift + S which will allow taking snips without opening the app! We’ll cover this further in a later section.

2. Using Snip Tools Modes

Once you’ve opened the Snipping Tool, you’ll see a small toolbar at the top with different modes:

  • Free-form Snip – Manually click and drag to select any part of the screen.
  • Rectangular Snip – Click and drag to draw a rectangle around the area to capture.
  • Window Snip – Select an open window to snip after a short delay.
  • Full-screen Snip – Takes a snapshot of the entire screen instantly.

After snipping a part of the screen, you can edit the image and then save it to your preferred location.

Screen Sketch for Quick Annotations

Screen Sketch is a screenshot tool introduced in Windows 10 that allows you to not just snip images but also draw and annotate on them.

To start Screen Sketch, press Windows + Shift + S on your keyboard.

This will bring up a small toolbar at the top that has different screenshot modes similar to Snipping Tool:

  • Rectangular Snip
  • Freeform Snip
  • Window Snip
  • Fullscreen Snip

However, after snipping the screen area, Screen Sketch enters an editing mode where you can annotate using a pen, highlighter or eraser.

When done, click the Save icon to save your snipped image with drawings to the Pictures > Screenshots folder or click Copy to copy it to the clipboard.

Customizing Screen Sketch Tools

To change Screen Sketch settings like background blur, pen stroke, etc go to:

Windows Settings > Accessibility > Screen Sketch

Here you can set custom hotkeys, annotation colors and enable options like opening Screen Sketch in fullscreen mode on launch.

How to Take a Screenshot on Windows 7

Use the Print Screen Key

The fastest way to take a screenshot on Windows 7 is with the Print Screen key:

  1. Press the Print Screen key on your keyboard. It’s usually near the upper right corner next to F12 and Scroll Lock.
  2. When you press Print Screen, it will seem like nothing happened, but it captured an image of your entire screen and copied it to your clipboard.
  3. Open an image editing program like Paint and paste (Ctrl + V) to view the screenshot, then you can save it.
  • This captures your full desktop. If you only want to capture one window, see the Snipping Tool method next.

Use Snipping Tool

The Snipping Tool that comes with Windows 7 enables you select just a portion of your screen to capture:

  1. Open the Start Menu and type “snipping tool,” then press Enter when it appears in the search results.
  2. In Snipping Tool, click New to begin creating a new snip. Your screen will fade, allowing you to click and drag to select the area you want to capture.
  3. After snapping the area, it will appear in Snipping Tool. You can then save it as an image or copy it to your clipboard.
  4. To take another snip, click New again in Snipping Tool.

Snipping Tool has a few other options as well:

  • Free-form Snip lets you draw any shape with your mouse to define the snip area.
  • Window Snip will snap just a single window you select.
  • Full-screen Snip captures the entire screen like Print Screen.

How to Take a Screenshot on Windows 8

Use the Print Screen Key

Just as with Windows 7, pressing the Print Screen button on your Windows 8 keyboard will capture your full desktop:

  1. Make sure you’ve navigated to the screen you want to capture on your Windows 8 device.
  2. Press the Print Screen key. It’s typically in the upper right section of your keyboard next to F12 and Scroll Lock.
  3. This screenshot will be saved to memory and copied to your clipboard.
  4. If you want to view or save the image, open Paint or another imaging program and select Paste to paste the screenshot.

This is the fastest way to grab your full desktop with one key press. But what if you only want part of your screen? Keep reading!

Use Win + Print Screen

Here’s another really useful keyboard shortcut in Windows 8:

  1. Navigate to the screen you want to capture.
  2. Press Windows logo key + Print Screen key. So press the Windows key (it has the Windows logo between Ctrl and Alt) and while holding it down, tap your Print Screen key once.
  3. This will save just your active window as an image file titled Screenshot to your Pictures > Screenshots folder.

It’s that fast! Now whenever you only need your currently active window and want it saved as an image automatically, use Win + Print Screen.

Use Snipping Tool

Like Windows 7, Windows 8 also includes the Snipping Tool for capturing non-rectangular portions of your screen. Here’s how:

  1. Open Snipping Tool by searching for it in the Windows 8 Search charm.
  2. Click New in Snipping Tool. Your screen will fade and allow you to click and drag to select any part of the screen.
  3. Your selected snip will then display in the Snipping Tool where you can edit, save, or copy it.
  4. Click New again anytime to capture another non-rectangular snip area.

The other modes like Free-form, Window, and Full-screen snips work the same as described above in the Windows 7 section.

How to Take Screenshot on Windows 10

Windows 10 provides more builtin tools for effective screenshots than any previous version, including an improved Snipping Tool and the useful Game Bar.

Use Print Screen

The Print Screen key method still works in Windows 10:

  1. Go to the desktop or window you want to capture on your Windows 10 PC.
  2. Press the Print Screen key, usually next to F12 and Scroll Lock in the upper right section of your keyboard.
  3. This screenshots your full screen and copies it to your clipboard.
  4. Open an app like Paint, select the Paste command, and your screen grab will appear so you can view and save the image file.

Use Game Bar

Windows 10’s integrated Game Bar works with games, but can also grab screenshots from anywhere on the desktop. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Launch the Windows Game Bar by pressing Windows logo key + G on your keyboard.
  2. The Game Bar will appear on the right side by default. Click the camera icon to activate screenshot mode.
  3. Your screen will dim momentarily while the screenshot is taken. The screenshot will be saved automatically to Videos > Captures in File Explorer for easy access.
  4. Press Win + G again or click the Game Bar icon to hide it when you’re finished capturing screenshots.

Game Bar also enables video recordings and works with lots of games and apps these days. It’s really useful for quick media captures.

Use Snipping Tool

The improved Snipping Tool in Windows 10 works better than ever:

  1. Open Snipping Tool from the Start Menu.
  2. Select the type of snip you want along the top—Freeform, Rectangular, Window, or Fullscreen.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to click and drag to take your customized screenshot.
  4. You can then edit, save, and share the snip from within Snipping Tool.

The updated design makes it simpler than ever to capture just what you need. The handy window and rectangular snip options snap resized shots effortlessly.

How Do You Screenshot on a Computer

Taking a screenshot on a computer is easy with some handy built-in tools:

On Windows:

  1. To capture your entire screen, press the Print Screen (PrtScn) key. This will copy the screenshot to your clipboard.
  2. To save the screenshot, open an image editing app like Paint and paste the image (Ctrl+V) and save it.
  3. To capture just part of your screen, use the Snipping Tool app. You can access it by searching from the Windows start menu.
  4. Snipping Tool allows you to click and drag to select any part of the screen to screenshot.

On Mac:

  1. To take a full screenshot, press Shift+Command+3. This will save the screenshot as an image file on your desktop.
  2. To capture just a portion of the screen, press Shift+Command+4. Your cursor will change to a crosshair and you can click and drag to take a custom screenshot.
  3. You can also press Shift+Command+5 to open screenshot options for recording video of your screen and more.

On Chromebooks:

  1. Press Ctrl+Overview to take a full screenshot that will save to your Downloads folder.
  2. To capture just a part of the screen, press Ctrl+Shift+Overview instead. Select the area you want to screenshot.

These keyboard shortcuts make capturing screenshots super quick and easy on any computer!

How to Screenshot on HP Laptop

Taking screenshots on an HP laptop or computer is very easy. Here are the steps:

Taking a Full Screenshot

  1. Make sure you have opened up the window or program you want to capture in the screenshot.
  2. Press the “Windows logo key + PrtScn” key combination. The Windows key is between Ctrl and Alt on the left side of your keyboard. PrtScn means Print Screen.
  3. This will instantly take a screenshot of your entire display and save it to the Pictures > Screenshots folder.

Taking a Partial Screenshot

  1. Open the Snipping Tool app on your HP device. You can find it by typing “snip” in the Windows search bar and selecting Snipping Tool.
  2. In Snipping Tool, click Mode and select any of the options:
  • Free-form Snip: Manually draw around the area to screenshot
  • Rectangular Snip: Drag cursor to select a rectangular area
  • Window Snip: Select an open window to screenshot
  • Full-screen Snip: Capture entire screen
  1. Click New when ready and drag cursor to select screen area. The screenshot will then open in the Snipping Tool for saving or editing.

That’s it! You can now easily take both full screen and customized partial screenshots on your HP laptop, desktop or tablet. The Snipping Tool works great for capturing non-rectangular areas exactly how you want.

How to Screenshot on Dell Laptop

Taking screenshots on a Dell computer is very simple. Here are the steps:

Taking a Full Screenshot

  1. Navigate to the screen you want to capture on your Dell desktop or laptop. Make sure any menus, windows etc. you want to include are visible.
  2. Press the “Fn + PrtSc” key combination. Fn stands for the Function key, usually on the bottom left of Dell keyboards. PrtSc is short for Print Screen.
  3. This will immediately take a screenshot of your entire display and save it to your Pictures > Screenshots folder.

Taking a Partial Screenshot

  1. Open the Snipping Tool app on your Dell device. Search for it in the Windows search bar and open Snipping Tool.
  2. Within Snipping Tool, click on Mode and choose one of the options:
  • Free-form Snip – Manually select area to capture
  • Rectangular Snip – Click and drag to select a rectangular region
  • Window Snip – Snap screenshot of an open window
  • Full-screen Snip – Take pic of full display
  1. Once selected, click New and drag cursor across the screen area you want to capture.
  2. The screenshot will then open inside Snipping Tool where you can edit, save or share it.

That’s it! With the Print Screen key or Snipping Tool, you can easily take both full screen and customized partial screenshots on your Dell PC.

How to Screenshot on Lenovo Laptop

Taking screenshots on a Lenovo laptop is very easy. Here are the main methods:

Take a Full Screenshot

  1. Navigate to the screen you want to capture on your Lenovo laptop. Make sure any open windows or menus you want are visible.
  2. Press the “Fn + Print Screen” key combination. The Fn key is usually on the bottom left of Lenovo keyboards. Print Screen can be abbreviated as PrtScn or PrtScr.
  3. This will take a screenshot of your entire display and save it as an image file in your Pictures > Screenshots folder.

Take a Partial Screenshot

  1. Open the Snipping Tool app on your Lenovo laptop. You can search for it in the Windows search bar.
  2. In Snipping Tool, click on Mode near the top and select one of the options:
  • Free-form Snip – Manually draw around area
  • Rectangular Snip – Drag cursor to select a rectangular area
  • Window Snip – Choose a currently open window
  • Full-screen Snip – Capture entire display
  1. Once selected, click New and use your mouse/trackpad to draw the area you want to screenshot.
  2. The screenshot will then open in the Snipping Tool where you can edit, save and share the image.

And that’s it! With the Print Screen button or Snipping Tool, you can easily capture full screen or customized screenshots on your Lenovo laptop.

How to Take a Screenshot on Samsung Laptop

Taking screenshots on a Samsung laptop is very simple. Here are the main methods:

Take a Full Screenshot

  1. Navigate to the screen you want to capture on your Samsung laptop. Make sure any open windows or menus you want are visible.
  2. Press the “Fn + Print Screen” keys. The Fn key is usually on the bottom left of the keyboard. Print Screen may also be labeled as PrtSc or PrtScr.
  3. This will immediately take a screenshot of your entire display and save it as an image file in your Pictures > Screenshots folder.

Take a Partial Screenshot

  1. Open the Snipping Tool app on your Samsung laptop. You can search for it in the Windows search bar.
  2. In Snipping Tool, click on Mode near the top and select one of the options:
  • Free-form Snip – Manually draw around area
  • Rectangular Snip – Drag cursor to select a rectangular area
  • Window Snip – Choose a currently open window
  • Full-screen Snip – Capture entire display
  1. Once selected, click New and use your mouse to draw the area you want to capture.
  2. The screenshot will then open in the Snipping Tool where you can edit, save and share the image.

And that’s it! With the Fn + Print Screen shortcut or the Snipping Tool, you can easily take full screen or customized screenshots on your Samsung laptop.

How to Use Snipping Tool

Here are simple steps to use the Snipping Tool to take screenshots on your Windows computer:

  1. Open Snipping Tool
  • On Windows 10 and 8, search for “Snipping Tool” in the search bar and click to open the app.
  • On Windows 7, go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > Snipping Tool
  1. Click on the Mode drop-down menu near the top and select the type of screenshot you want:
  • Free-form Snip – Manually draw around an area with your mouse
  • Rectangular Snip – Drag to select a rectangular area
  • Window Snip – Select an open window to capture
  • Full-screen Snip – Takes a pic of the entire screen
  1. Click New to take a new snip. Your screen will dim slightly.
  2. Depending on the Mode selected, use your mouse/trackpad to select the part of the screen you want to capture.
  3. The screenshot will appear in the Snipping Tool window. Here you can edit, save, or copy the img.
  4. To take more screenshots, just click New again and repeat the steps above.

Handy Tips:

  • Use keyboard shortcuts like CTRL+C to copy snips quickly
  • Click the pen icon to draw or annotate on screenshots
  • Try delaying a few seconds when using Window Snip mode
  • Adjust Snip size and transparency under Snipping Tool Options

And that’s it! Snipping Tool makes capturing customizable screenshots on Windows a breeze.

How to Finding Screenshots on Your PC

No matter which app or shortcut you use to capture screenshots on Windows, they generally get saved to the same location.

Here is where to find screenshots:

Windows 7

Libraries > Pictures > Screenshots

Windows 8

Pictures library > Screenshots folder

Windows 10

Pictures > Screenshots

You’ll see each screenshot saved as an image file numbered incrementally to avoid overwriting previous shots.

Customizing Where to Save Screenshots

If you prefer to save screenshots somewhere else instead of Pictures, you can change the location in Settings:

Windows 7:

  1. Go to Computer > Properties > Advanced System Settings
  2. Click the Settings button under Performance
  3. Go to Adjust for best performance tab
  4. Delete ScreenCaptureFolder value if present
  5. Go to Save screenshots to location text field and type custom location path

Windows 8 & 10:

  1. Open Settings and go to Ease of Access
  2. Click More options under Print Screen shortcut
  3. Adjust Make screenshots easy to capture setting
  4. Change Save screenshots to location or turn off optimization

Now screenshots will get saved to the custom folder path specified instead of Pictures.

Additional Screen Capture Methods

Apart from the built-in tools in Windows, there are some other ways to capture and save screenshots:

1. Use the Game Bar

Windows 10 has a Game Bar that works with games for capturing video, screenshots and more. The Game Bar can be invoked by pressing Windows + G on your keyboard.

To take a screenshot, open the Game Bar interface during gameplay and click on the camera icon. This will save a screenshot of the game screen to the Videos\Captures folder.

2. Install Third-party Apps

There are many free and paid third-party apps that can enhance screenshot capabilities:

  • Lightshot – Take customizable screenshots and edits them after snipping
  • PicPick – Feature-packed app for advanced image captures and edits
  • Greenshot – Open source with options to send snips to printer, email, Word and more

And many more. Some apps may better suit specialized screenshot needs so do explore them.

Screen Recording Guide

In addition to images, you can also record video of your Windows desktop screen. Here is a quick guide:

1. Game Bar

As seen earlier, Windows 10’s Game Bar (Windows + G) includes options to record gameplay footage and full screen/app video. Useful for quick captures.

2. Xbox Game Bar

An improved and more advanced variant called Xbox Game Bar replaces the regular Game Bar in latest Windows builds. Still invoked using Windows + G.

Has options not just for gameplay recording but also capturing desktop/app footage and microphone/system audio.

3. Windows Media Recorder

Recent Windows 11 builds has added a native Media Recorder app that lets record screen activities. Open it from the Start Menu to record video easily. Supports camera input also.

4. Third-party Recorders

Some popular and free third-party screen recorders for Windows include:

Paid products like Camtasia and TinyTake also provide advanced recording and editing options.

5. Recording Controls

The above apps provide on-screen controls for starting, stopping and customizing recordings. Follow their individual usage guide.

Most save recordings as MP4 files by default. You can set output folder path and quality as needed.

Troubleshooting Guide

Some common issues faced when trying to take screenshots in Windows and how to resolve them.

1. Print Screen key not working

If Print Screen button stops capturing screenshots, there might be a keyboard issue or it is mapped to another app.

Go to Control Panel > Ease of Access > Make the keyboard easier to use and disable alternative key mappings.

Also try using on-screen keyboard and check if Print Screen works there.

2. Black screenshots

Sometimes screenshots just show black images without any content captured. This can happen when computer’s graphics card or display drivers are buggy or outdated.

Check for graphics hardware issues and update GPU drivers to latest stable version from manufacturer website.

3. Can’t find screenshots

If unable to find or access screenshots after capturing, the output saving location may be incorrect or changed.

Go to Settings > Ease of Access > Print Screen shortcut and check if custom save folder path is incorrectly set. Reset to default Pictures\Screenshots location.

Also check permissions on Screenshots folder and restore if restricted accidentally.

4. Blurry resized screenshots

By default, Windows resizes very large screenshots down to a lower resolution so image details appear blurry.

Turn off Optimize screenshots for best performance setting under Ease of Access settings to get full size images.

More Tips for Taking Great Screenshots on Windows

Here are a few more helpful pointers for capturing images from your Windows desktop like a pro:

  • Open what you want to capture on your screen before taking the screenshot. Don’t forget to also show open menus, app sidebars, etc. that you want to include.
  • Change your screen resolution to the optimum size if taking full screenshots. For example increase it to maximum size so images aren’t tiny when capturing entire desktops.
  • Resize individual windows to best frame up what people will need to see. Remove extraneous desktop clutter if possible too.
  • Use keyboard shortcuts for fast screenshots without needing to change applications or select menu options. Shortcuts get the images captured into your clipboard instantly.
  • Whenever possible, save your screenshots as common shareable image formats like .JPG, .GIF, or .PNG instead of just dumping bitmap images from your clipboard.
  • Give your screenshot files descriptive names so you can easily find them later, like WebsiteHomepage.jpg instead of Screenshot327398.png.

I hope this guide has helped explain the various built-in methods for capturing professional-grade screenshots using your Windows computer!

Conclusion

Taking quick screenshots is an integral ability of any operating system today for both work and play. While one can get accustomed to legacy tools in Windows 7, the native Screen Sketch brings flexibility to Windows 10. Third party apps can also provide additional features if needed.

Following the methods above, you can easily snip images; draw sketches; capture application, game and desktop screens; embed camera footage; and then share instantly across the many apps and browsers available in the Windows ecosystem.

With cloud sync and mobile platforms tied tightly now as well, you can continue working seamlessly whenever and wherever. Do check our site periodically for more Windows guides and troubleshooting tips.

Also Read:

How to Take Screenshot on PC [Windows or Mac] in 2024

FAQs – How to Take a Screenshot on Windows

How do I take a screenshot of my entire desktop screen on Windows?

Press the Print Screen (PrtScn) key on your keyboard. This will capture the contents of your entire display and copy it to your computer’s clipboard.

How do I save a screenshot after taking it?

After you take a screenshot with Print Screen, open an image editing app like Paint, create a new file, and paste the screenshot (Ctrl + V). You can then save it as an image file like .JPG or .PNG.

How can I screenshot just a portion of my screen?

Open the Snipping Tool app in Windows and click New. Drag your mouse cursor to select the area you want to capture. The screenshot will open in Snipping Tool where you can save it as an image file.

Where are screenshots saved by default in Windows 10?

In Windows 10, screenshots taken with Print Screen or Snipping Tool are automatically saved to a Screenshots folder inside your Pictures folder. The location is C:\Users\YOUR_USERNAME\Pictures.

How do I capture a screenshot on Windows without using Print Screen?

Press the Windows logo key + Shift + S keyboard shortcut to use the Snip & Sketch app. Click New and drag your mouse to select an area – release to take the screenshot. It will open in the app for saving and sharing.