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How to Take a Screenshot on a Chromebook

Chromebooks have a great tool to capture screenshots and record your screen as a video clip. Here's how to use it.

Open Chromebook on a table
The Chrome OS screenshot tool has come a long way.
Josh Goldman/CNET

Taking a screenshot on your computer can be helpful for so many things. From quickly showing someone an issue you're troubleshooting to grabbing ideas for your next big project to helping out a friend or family member by showing them how to do something, the list is endless. However, taking a screenshot differs from device to device, operating system to operating system. And that includes Chromebooks and ChromeOS.  

Read more10 Chromebook Productivity Tricks

For years, the screenshot tool on Chromebooks was basic and could only be launched with a not-so-obvious keyboard shortcut. That changed last year when Google introduced a screenshot tool that lets you take both photos and video clips of what's on your Chromebook screen. Here are two ways to launch the Screen Capture tool, how to use it and where to find your captures once you take them.

Screenshot on a Chromebook with a keyboard shortcut

A Chromebook keyboard with the Shift and Ctrl keys highlighted
Josh Goldman/CNET

To launch the Screen Capture toolbar, you must press a three-key shortcut: Shift+Ctrl+Show Windows. The Show Windows key is up on the keyboard's top row with an icon that looks like a window with two windows stacked behind it. Just press those three and the toolbar will pop up at the bottom of the screen. 

Also, if you simply want to take a fast shot of your entire screen, as opposed to a specific region or window, you can simply press Ctrl+Show Windows.

These Chromebook keyboard shortcuts will work on any model. However, some Chromebooks have a Screen Capture key on the keyboard's top row. Look for a key with a camera icon on it, usually a rectangle with a circle in the center. When pressed it will automatically launch the tool -- no key combo necessary. 

Screenshot on a Chromebook from Quick Settings

Chromebook screen with Screen Capture option circled

A Screen Capture shortcut is right in the settings.

Josh Goldman/CNET

I have a hard time remembering shortcut keys, so I'm always looking for another option. Luckily, Google added a shortcut button to the Quick Settings panel for screenshots so I never have to think about what keys I need again. On Chrome's Shelf, click on the time to pop up the Quick Settings menu. Just click or tap on Screen Capture and the toolbar will launch. 

How to use the screenshot toolbar

Selecting part of the screen to capture

You can take photos of your screen or record a video clip.

Josh Goldman/CNET

The Screen Capture toolbar not only lets you take screenshots but can be used to capture screen recordings as well. The toggle for going from stills to video is on the far left of the toolbar. To the right of that toggle, you have options to take a full-screen screenshot, a partial screenshot with a specific area you define or a screenshot of a specific window. These work for photos and video. Also, clicking on the settings cog on the toolbar lets you turn on or off the mic while recording your screen, making adding narration to your captures easy. 

Also readWindows 10 and 11: Easily Take Screenshots on Your PC

Where screenshots are saved on a Chromebook 

When you take a screenshot or recording it's immediately accessible from the Clipboard, which stores the last five things you saved to it. To view what's available, simply press the Everything button (aka the Search key) plus V

Your Chromebook also has a holding spot on the Shelf called Tote. It's where you'll find your most recent screenshots. You can pin files to Tote, too, which means you can keep an important screenshot ready to open without searching for it. 

Screenshots that are no longer saved on the Clipboard can be found in your files. Just open the Files app on your Chromebook and you'll find your screenshots in the Images folder and screen recordings in the Videos folder. 

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