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

Taking screenshots is one of the handiest tricks you can have up your sleeve as a PC user. Whether you want to capture a funny error message, save something for your records, explain an issue to tech support, or create an illustration for a school project or work presentation, screenshots come in extremely handy.

In this complete guide, I’ll walk you through the various ways to take screenshots on Windows and Mac PCs using keyboard shortcuts, special software built into your operating system, and third party apps. I’ve updated all the information for 2024 so you’ll have the most up-to-date instructions. Let’s get started!

Keyboard Shortcut Methods

The fastest and easiest way to snap screenshots is by using keyboard shortcuts that are built right into Windows and MacOS. Here’s a quick overview of the main keyboard combinations:

Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Print Screen – Captures entire screen and saves to clipboard
  • Alt + Print Screen – Captures currently active window and saves to clipboard
  • Windows + Print Screen – Saves full screenshot as an image file in Pictures > Screenshots folder

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Command + Shift + 3 – Captures full screen and saves to desktop
  • Command + Shift + 4 then drag cursor** – Snip a selected area of screen and save to desktop
  • Command + Shift + 4 then spacebar – Capture an open window and save to desktop

As you can see, on both operating systems the Print Screen key is central to capturing screenshots. But Windows and Mac handle the saving/viewing a bit differently.

On Windows, shots get saved to your clipboard or a Screenshots folder automatically. On Macs, they get dumped on your desktop by default.

I’ll explain the specifics more below, including how to customize where screenshots get saved on each OS.

Software Based Screenshot Tools

Beyond keyboard shortcuts, Windows and MacOS also have built-in screenshot utilities that give you more options than just pressing a button.

1. Snipping Tool (Windows)

Snipping Tool has been built into Windows for years now and lets you capture, annotate, and save screenshots with a few more options than just Print Screen provides.

To use it:

  1. Type “snipping tool” into the Windows search bar and open the Snipping Tool app
  2. At the top, choose the snipping mode you want to use:
    • Free-form – Manually select any area
    • Rectangular – Drag cursor to define a rectangle area
    • Window – Select an open window
    • Full-screen
  3. Click New to take the screenshot after selecting your method
  4. Annotate with tools if desired
  5. Save screenshot or copy/paste it where needed

You can even set a keyboard shortcut to open Snipping Tool quickly.

So if you want to be able to select specific areas to capture or draw on your screenshots, Snipping Tool is very handy.

Snip & Sketch (Windows 10 & 11)

Microsoft introduced a simplified screenshot tool called Snip & Sketch starting in Windows 10. You can launch it even quicker than Snipping Tool using the Windows + Shift + S keyboard shortcut.

That will let you drag a rectangle or free form shape around whatever you want to capture. The screenshot then pops open in the Snip & Sketch app where you can draw, annotate, crop it further, and export/share.

Snip & Sketch doesn’t really offer anything you can’t already do with Snipping Tool. It just gives quicker access to common screenshot editing features.

So Snipping Tool or Snip & Sketch will cover most typical screenshot tasks if you don’t want to rely solely on Print Screen.

2. Grab (Mac)

On Macs, you get a utility called Grab which works similarly to Snipping Tool. A few ways to access Grab:

  • Finder > Applications > Utilities > Grab
  • Launchpad > Other > Grab
  • Spotlight search

Once launched, simply click the Capture option for what you want to snap – either full screen, a window, a rectangle portion, or allow free-form selection.

After you take the screenshot, Grab will open allowing you to annotate, edit, save, and share the file right in the app.

Between your keyboard shortcuts and Grab, you’re pretty much covered for all basic screenshot scenarios on a Mac without needing any third party apps.

Third Party Screen Capture Software

If the built-in Windows and Mac tools don’t meet your needs, plenty of third party screenshot apps provide additional functionality like:

  • Automated and scheduled captures
  • Advanced annotation and editing
  • Animated GIF capture
  • Video recording
  • Cloud syncing & captures
  • Hosted screenshot sharing platforms

Here are some of the most popular third party screenshot tools in 2024:

1. Lightshot (Win/Mac)

Lightshot provides capture flexibility letting you snap screenshots, annotated images, scrolling web page captures, and animated GIFs. It’s also completely free.

With customizable keyboard shortcuts, Lightshot sits quietly in your menu bar/system tray until you activate it to snap anything on your screen. The annotated screenshots and various capture types make it extremely versatile.

And it can instantly upload screenshots to Lightshot’s own image hosting platform to generate shareable links or embed screenshots.

2. PicPick (Windows)

Don’t let PicPick’s dated interface turn you off. It’s packed with professional grade screenshot capture tools rivaling paid software.

Beyond standard screenshot snapping and annotating features, PicPick includes:

  • Ruler, protractor and color picker tools
  • Pixel color info
  • Screen recording
  • Image editor
  • Upload screenshots to cloud services
  • TWAIN support for scanner captures
  • Distraction-free capture mode
  • Customizable shortcuts

It used to cost $29.99 for a licensed copy but now PicPick is 100% free including all premium features. If you want a powerful screenshot utility on Windows without paying a penny, PicPick is hard to beat.

3. CleanShot (Mac)

For those wanting a streamlined screenshot experience on a Mac, CleanShot X provides the essential capture tools in a clean, minimalist interface.

It sits up in your menu bar and always remains on top for quick access to snap full screens, selected areas, windows and scrolling pages. Plus it comes built in with basic annotation features.

For more advanced editing, CleanShot has integration with popular Mac image processors like Photoshop, GIMP and Skitch allowing you to send screenshots straight to them. This helps keep CleanShot itself quick and lightweight while still giving access to pro editing tools.

The developers offer a free trial letting you access all the premium tools without restrictions. And a permanent license is only $29 for a one-time fee.

For easy captures combined with pro editing power in one slick package, CleanShot is a compelling option.

Web Based Screen Capture Options

Beyond software running locally on your PC, you can also leverage web apps for online screenshot capturing and sharing.

Tools like:

  • Lightshot
  • Apowersoft Unlimited
  • Snagit Online Editor

Provide screenshot creation, editing and sharing completely through your web browser. That means you can capture screens from your PC then edit everything online.

The main advantage with web capture platforms is that you can access your screenshot library from anywhere unlike files saved locally to your computer’s hard drive.

1. Apowersoft Unlimited

With Apowersoft Unlimited you get a full suite of creative tools beyond just screenshots including video capture, editing and creation plus document conversion and signing features.

It works as a web app for online access as well as Windows/Mac software with offline functionality. All your media syncs automatically between web and local apps.

So Apowersoft Unlimited serves as an end-to-end media toolkit covering way more ground than just screenshots. But it nails that capability allowing element selection capture, auto-scroll long page shooting, annotation and unlimited cloud storage.

And unlike tools tied to just one PC, you get multi-device access from desktop to mobile so you can snap and find screenshots from anywhere.

2. Snagit Online Editor

For quicker sharing and collaboration, Snagit’s online screenshot editor connects directly to messaging and productivity platforms like Slack, Gmail, Word and OneDrive.

So from any web browser, you can:

  1. Take screenshots
  2. Import existing images
  3. Annotate and edit
  4. Share directly to chatting apps and cloud services

Having screenshots embedded right in your communications streamlines explaining issues, gathering feedback and documenting processes.

And Snagit Online Editor provides 5GB of free storage for your library with paid plans that include up to 2TB cloud backup.

Where Screenshots Get Saved By Default

After covering the various capture methods available, a common question is – where do my screenshots get saved by default?

The location varies depending on your specific tools and OS:

  • Windows Print Screen – Clipboard then saved in Pictures > Screenshots folder when using the Win + Print Screen shortcut
  • Mac Print Screen – Desktop
  • Snipping Tool – Asks you to select save location each time
  • Snip & Sketch – Saves to Clipboard then pops open for further editing/sharing
  • Grab (Mac) – Desktop
  • Lightshot – Uploads screenshots to Lightshot site while also saving local Files
  • PicPick – Customizable save folder
  • CleanShot – Desktop then can open externally for further editing
  • Apowersoft Unlimited – Cloud library with local sync

If you don’t like the default save destinations, most tools allow you to customize the output location in settings.

And screenshots taken on gaming consoles, tablets and smartphones work differently again usually giving options to share over social media instantly.

So that covers the main local and cloud-based screenshot tools for efficiently snapping anything on your PC screen. Read on for even more ways to capture and customize your shots.

Bonus Power User Tips & Tools

While the methods above will meet most basic screenshot needs, power users can take things further with extensions for browser capturing, automation tools to take shots on a schedule, ways to stitch together long scrolling pages, and more.

Here are some bonus tips for next level snapping:

1. Capture Long Web Pages as a Single Scrolling Screenshot

While most tools allow snaping visible portions of web pages, some sites have content that extends way below the fold.

Rather than taking multiple tall screenshots, you can automatically capture entire web pages that scroll on forever as a single tall image.

Here’s how:

  • Windows – PicPick has a dedicated scrolling capture feature
  • Mac – Use Grab’s Timed Screen option to set a scroll delay before the full page grab
  • Chrome – Extensions like ScrollCapture, GoFullPage and Full Page Screenshot can auto-stitch together long pages
  • Firefox – Use Fireshot or Nimbus to snap extra long web pages
  • Safari – Enable the Develop menu and use Hide Scrollbars feature to capture the full length

So if you need to save or share the entirety of a long article, guide, conversation or thread as one image, those options will do the trick.

2. Automate Screenshots with Cron Jobs (Mac & Linux)

If you’re on a Mac or Linux system, you can automate running screenshots on a set schedule rather than manually snapping them each time.

This uses Cron Jobs that run scripts and commands in the background at your preferred intervals.

Here’s an example Cron command to take full screenshots every 30 minutes and save them with an automated filename including timestamps: */30 * * * * screencapture -x /full/path/screenshot-$(date +\%F-\%H\%M).png

There are also apps to help simplify the process like EasyCron (Mac) and GNOME Schedule (Linux GUIs) or Freedesktop Task Scheduler (Linux CLI).

So whenever you want recurring consistent screenshots, Cron Jobs are the way to go for hands-free automation.

3. Browser Extensions for Simplified Web Screen Capturing

While the built-in tools work great for most desktop and software snapping, sometimes you need to capture web content like full browser windows or screen areas when browsing.

Rather than memorize the OS specific shortcuts which differ between Chrome, Firefox, Safari and others, browser extensions give you quick screenshot icons right on your toolbar.

Handy web screenshot add-ons include:

  • Fireshot (Cross-browser)
  • Nimbus (Chrome & Firefox)
  • Lightshot (Cross-browser)

These allow fast snapping of visible areas or entire web pages even capturing long vertical scrolling websites as a single tall screenshot image.

Plus they make it easy to annotate then export web shots without needing to open a separate graphics app.

Customizing Your Screenshot Experience

Beyond just using the default tools, you can tailor things to your preferences including keyboard shortcuts, storage locations and editing behavior.

Here are some customizations you may want configure:

1. Change Keyboard Shortcuts

Don’t like the default Print Screen key or Cmd + Shift + 3 key combos? You can reassign them to other keys.

For example, to make taking rectangular snapshots even quicker on Mac, you could change it to:

  • Cmd + 2 – Rectangular area screenshots

And on Windows, you could swap the main full screenshot shortcut to:

  • Alt + 2 – Take full screenshots

Check your OS and screenshot app settings to remap keys that are easier for your workflow.

2. Configure Save Locations

Rather than clutter up your desktop, have screenshots automatically save to a preferred folder like:

  • Documents > Screenshots
  • OneDrive > Screenshots folder for cloud access
  • Dropbox > Shots folder to sync screenshots

Individual apps like PicPick and CleanShot X allow configuring custom save folders while OS settings allow adjusting system-wide screenshot destinations.

3. Disable Screenshot Sounds

The camera shutter sound when snapping screenshots gets annoying fast.

Turn notification sounds off using:

Windows 10 & 11

  • Go to Settings > System > Notifications > Turn off Screen snip sound


  • System Preferences > Sound > Toggle Play user interface sound effects

4. Auto-Copy Screenshots to Clipboard

Having every screenshot auto-saved to the clipboard makes pasting into documents and chats super quick.

Enable this in Windows 10 & 11 with:

  • Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard > Toggle Copy screen image to clipboard

Now each Print Screen capture gets copied instantly so you can directly Ctrl + V paste rather than first opening image files.

How to Take Screenshot on Windows 10 and 11

Here are the main ways to take screenshots on Windows 10 and Windows 11:

Print Screen Key

The easiest way is to use the Print Screen key to take a screenshot.

  • Press Print Screen to take a screenshot of your entire screen and copy it to your clipboard
  • Press ALT + Print Screen to take a screenshot of just your currently active window and copy it to your clipboard

You can then paste the screenshot into a document, email, paint program etc.

Snip & Sketch

The Snip & Sketch app is built into Windows 10 and 11. You can access it quickly by pressing Windows + Shift + S.

This will allow you to click and drag to select an area of your screen to capture. The screenshot will open in the Snip & Sketch app where you can annotate, save and share it.

Snipping Tool

Snipping Tool is another screenshot app built into Windows. Search to open it and you’ll get options to capture full screens, rectangular areas, windows and free-form snapshots.

It also allows basic image annotation before saving shots.


In Windows Settings you can enable some screenshot shortcuts:

  • Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard > Toggle “Print Screen shortcut” to use Print Screen to save screenshots to Pictures > Screenshots
  • Toggle “Copy screen image to clipboard” so all Print Screen snaps are automatically copied for pasting

Use Print Screen, Snip & Sketch, Snipping Tool or enable Settings options to easily take screenshots on Windows 10 and 11.

How to Take Screenshot in Windows 7 and 8

Here are the main ways to take screenshots on Windows 7 and Windows 8:

Print Screen Key

Similar to Windows 10 and 11, the Print Screen key is the easiest way to take screenshots in Windows 7 and 8.

  • Press Print Screen to capture your full screen to the clipboard
  • Press Alt + Print Screen to copy just your active window

You can then paste the screenshot into a document or image editing program.

Snipping Tool

Snipping Tool is built-in app in Windows 7 and 8 for more advanced screenshots. You can search to open it.

It provides options to take:

  • Freeform snips – Manually select any area
  • Rectangular Snips – Drag to select a rectanglar area
  • Window Snips – Capture screenshots of open windows
  • Fullscreen Snips

The captured screenshots will open in Snipping Tool where you can annotate, save, and share them.

Enable Settings

In Windows 7, enable the following for extra capabilities:

  • Control Panel > Ease of Access > Make it easier to focus on tasks > Check “When I press the Print Screen key, save the screenshot to a file” – This will save Print Screen snips to your Pictures folder

In Windows 8:

  • Search for “Use the Print Screen key” and enable “Print Screen grabs the active window” – Now Alt + Print Screen will capture active windows automatically

Rely on the Print Screen key and Snipping Tool primarily for screenshots. Then enable Ease of Access settings for saving directly to files or active window grabbing.

How to Take Screenshot on Laptop

Taking screenshots on a laptop works the same as on a desktop computer. Here are the main methods:

1. Windows Laptops

Print Screen

  • Press the Print Screen key to copy a full screenshot to your clipboard
  • Or use Alt + Print Screen to capture just the currently active window

You can then paste the screenshot into a document.

Snipping Tool

  • Search to open Snipping Tool
  • Select the type of snip you want – rectangular, window, full screen etc.
  • The screenshot will open for editing and saving

Win + Shift + S

  • Use this shortcut to launch Snip & Sketch
  • Click and drag to select the desired area to screenshot
  • It will open for annotations and sharing


  • Enable “Copy screen image to clipboard” so Print Screen copies automatically
  • Or enable saving screenshots straight to your Pictures folder

2. Mac Laptops

Cmd + Shift + 3

  • Takes a screenshot of the full screen

Cmd + Shift + 4 then drag

  • Select an area to capture

Cmd + Shift + 4 then spacebar

  • Click on a window to capture

The screenshots save to your desktop by default.

You can also use the Grab app for more advanced capture and editing options.

So taking screenshots on laptops works the same as on desktops, just using your built-in keyboard shortcuts and screenshot tools. The process is very simple on both Windows and Mac laptops.

How to Take Screenshot on Laptop HP

Taking screenshots on an HP laptop works the same as with any other Windows laptop. Here are the main ways to capture screenshots on HP laptops:

Use the Print Screen key

  • Press Print Screen to copy a full screenshot to the clipboard
  • Press Alt + Print Screen to copy the active window

You can then paste the screenshot into an image editor or document.

Use Snipping Tool

  • Open Snipping Tool (search to find it)
  • Select the type of snip you want to take
  • Edit and save the screenshot in the app

Use Snip & Sketch

  • Open it quickly with Windows key + Shift + S
  • Click and drag to select the area to capture
  • Edit, draw on and share the screenshot

Look in HP Settings

  • HP computers may have their own screenshot settings
  • Check HP Command Center or Support Assistant apps

Use Third Party Apps

  • Apps like PicPick, Greenshot, Lightshot etc provide more options

The keyboard shortcuts work the best and fastest. But leverage Snipping Tool, Snip & Sketch, or third party tools for more flexibility in capturing, editing and sharing screenshots on your HP laptop.

How to Screenshot on Dell Laptop

Taking screenshots on a Dell laptop works very similarly to other Windows laptops. Here are the main ways to take screenshots on Dell laptops:

Print Screen Key

  • Press the Print Screen button to take a screenshot of your full screen and copy it to your clipboard
  • Press Alt + Print Screen to capture just your currently active window

You can then paste the screenshot into a document or editing program.

Snipping Tool

  • Search to open Snipping Tool on your Dell
  • Select the type of snip to take – freeform, rectangular, window, or full screen
  • Edit and save your screenshots within the app

Windows + Shift + S

  • Use this shortcut to launch the Snip & Sketch utility
  • Click and drag your mouse to take a screenshot of any area
  • Draw and annotate before exporting

Dell Screenshot Tool

  • Some Dell laptops have a pre-installed “Dell Screenshot Tool” app
  • Check your start menu or apps list for a Dell specific tool

You can also use third party screenshot apps if you want additional editing features, cloud syncing or more capture options.

But the built-in Windows tools work great for most basic screenshot needs on your Dell laptop. The Print Screen button and Snipping Tool are generally all you need.

Where Are Screenshots Saved Windows 10

Here are the main locations where screenshots are saved by default in Windows 10:

Pictures > Screenshots Folder

  • When you press Windows key + Print Screen, screenshots save to your Pictures library in a Screenshots folder. This is the default save spot.


  • If you just press the Print Screen key, it will copy the screenshot to your clipboard to paste vs saving a file.

Your Desktop

  • Many third party screenshot apps like Snagit, Greenshot, or PicPick will save files directly to your desktop.

Within App

  • Tools like Snip & Sketch and Snipping Tool keep screenshots within the app for annotating and sharing rather than saving image files right away.

OneDrive or Other Cloud Folder

  • Some apps can be configured to auto-save screenshots to a synced cloud folder like OneDrive for online access.

You can also customize the save location depending on the capture tool:

Snipping Tool

  • In Snipping Tool settings, change the location screenshots save to

Settings App

  • Go to Settings > System > Screenshots and toggle “Save screenshots in Pictures” off to send shots to Clipboard only

The default is Pictures > Screenshots but many send shots right to your desktop. Adjust app or Windows settings if you want to configure a custom screenshots folder.

Where Do I Find My Screenshots

Figuring out where your screenshots are saving can sometimes be confusing. But here are the most common default locations to check for your screenshot files:

On Windows:

  • Pictures > Screenshots Folder – If you are using the Print Screen key and have enabled the Settings to save screenshots here automatically. This is a common default location.
  • Your Desktop – If you are using other screenshot tools like Snipping Tool, Snip & Sketch, or various third party apps. Many will save screenshots to your Desktop by default.
  • Clipboard – If you took a screenshot using just the Print Screen key without configuring Settings. This copies the screenshot which you’ll need to manually paste into an image editor or document.
  • Custom App Folders – Some screenshot utilities like PicPick allow specifying a custom save location, so check within the app’s settings.

On Macs:

  • Desktop – This is the default location for all keyboard screenshot shortcuts like Cmd + Shift + 3. Screenshots taken with Grab may also go here unless a custom location was set.
  • Custom App Folders – As with Windows, some third party Mac screenshot tools allow setting a custom folder to save your captures to.
  • Clipboard – On Macs, no screenshots are automatically saved anywhere. So pressing keyboard shortcuts will just copy shots to your clipboard to then paste manually.

So those are the most common spots your screenshots end up. But if they somehow go missing, try using your system search bar to search for common image formats like “png screenshots” or “jpg screenshots” which could uncover the files somewhere unexpected.

Wrapping Up

I think that covers everything you’ll ever need for effectively capturing screenshots on Windows and Mac!

With this complete guide, you have multiple methods via keyboard shortcuts, pro apps and browser extensions for fast, flexible screenshots.

You can now easily:

  • Snap full screens, windows, selections
  • Capture hard-to-fit long web pages
  • Schedule automated recurring shots
  • Annotate and edit images
  • Customize shortcuts and save locations
  • And instantly share screenshots anywhere

So start snapping and documenting screens like a pro! Just don’t forget to use your newfound powers for good rather than evil!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I take a screenshot on my PC?

The easiest way is to use the Print Screen key to take a screenshot. On Windows, press the Print Screen key to capture the entire screen. On Macs, press Command + Shift + 3. You can also use screenshot tools like Snipping Tool, Grab, PicPick, etc. for more options.

Where do screenshots save by default on Windows 10?

On Windows 10, screenshots taken with the Print Screen key save to your Pictures > Screenshots folder. Screenshots taken with other tools may save to the desktop, clipboard, or the app itself for further editing.

How do I screenshot just one window?

To capture only the active window you have open, press Alt + Print Screen on Windows or Command + Shift + 4 + Spacebar on a Mac. This will screenshot just the currently focused window.

How do I capture a scrolling screenshot?

On Windows, use either Snagit or PicPick which have dedicated scrolling capture modes. On Macs, enable the Develop menu in Safari then use the Hide Scrollbars feature to screenshot long pages. Browser extensions like Fireshot also allow scrolling screenshots.

Can I take screenshots on my laptop?

Yes, taking screenshots on a laptop works the same as on a desktop. Simply use your laptop’s built-in Print Screen key or screenshot utilities. Windows laptops can use Snipping Tool while MacBooks have Grab for capturing screenshots.

Where do screenshots save on a Mac computer?

By default, keyboard screenshot shortcuts on Macs save files directly to your desktop. Screenshots taken with other apps may save to custom folders set within that app’s preferences.

How do I annotate my screenshots?

On Windows, use Snipping Tool or Snip & Sketch to draw, highlight, and annotate screenshots. On Macs, you can annotate using the Grab app, preview options, or a separate image editor like Preview or Photoshop. Web based tools also allow annotations.

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