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7 ways to take screenshots in Windows 10

Capture all -- or just part -- of your screen with a few keystrokes.


Sarah Tew

Screenshots are handy -- whether you're trying to write a how-to article or show your friend something on your screen -- but taking screenshots in Windows 10 ($100 at is not as simple as it could be.

Don't get me wrong, you have plenty of options. There's the Snipping Tool, various keyboard and physical button shortcuts, and tons of third-party tools. It's just not as intuitive as I'd like (I'm a big fan of Apple's screenshot process in OS X). But if you're looking for screenshot info, look no further -- here are seven different ways to take a screenshot on your Windows 10 device.

Snipping Tool

Windows' built-in screenshot tool, the Snipping Tool, has been around since Windows Vista. You can find this tool in Start > All Programs > Windows Accessories > Snipping Tool.


Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

To use the Snipping tool, open it and click New to begin the screenshot process. The default snip type is a rectangular snip -- you'll use your mouse to crop a rectangular part of your screen for capture. You can also take free-form, window, and full-screen snips with the Snipping Tool.

The Snipping Tool does not automatically save your screenshots -- you will need to manually save them in the tool before you exit. It does automatically copy your captures to the clipboard.

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Print Screen

To capture your entire screen, tap the PrtScn button. Your screenshot will not be saved, but it will be copied to the clipboard -- you'll need to open an image editing tool (such as Microsoft Paint), paste the screenshot in the editor and save the file from there.

Windows Key + Print Screen

To capture your entire screen and automatically save the screenshot, tap the Windows Key + PrtScn. Your screen will briefly go dim to indicate that you've just taken a screenshot, and the screenshot will be automatically saved in the Pictures > Screenshots folder.

Windows Key + H

If you'd like to capture your entire screen for sharing purposes, you can use the Windows Key + H keyboard shortcut. This will capture your entire screen and open the Windows Share toolbar so you can immediately share it with your friends via email, Facebook, Twitter, OneNote, etc.

Alt + Print Screen

To take a quick screenshot of the active window, use the keyboard shortcut Alt + PrtScn. This will snap your currently active window and copy the screenshot to the clipboard. You will need to open the shot in an image editor to save it.

Windows Logo + Volume Down

If you're rocking a Windows Surface device, you can use the physical (well, sort of physical) buttons to take a screenshot of your entire screen -- similar to how you would take a screenshot on any other smartphone or tablet. To do this, hold down the Windows Logo touch button at the bottom of your Surface screen and hit the physical volume-down button on the side of the tablet. The screen will dim briefly and the screenshot will be automatically saved to the Pictures > Screenshots folder.

Snip Editor

Snip Editor, or Microsoft Snip, is a Microsoft Garage project that works a little better than the Snipping Tool (in my opinion). Snip Editor lets you quickly take screenshots of the entire screen, an active window, or a manually-cropped rectangle -- and you can set up the PrtScn button as a shortcut to Snip Editor's screenshot tool.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

The app also features different ways to annotate screenshots, including a free-hand pen option (perfect for Windows Ink enthusiasts) and voice recording. Like the Snipping Tool, Snip Editor lets you delay screenshots by up to 5 seconds, so you can grab images of disappearing menus and tooltips.