How to Take a Screen Shot on Windows: A Beginner’s Guide

Screen capturing or taking screenshots is an essential skill nowadays, especially for those who work in the digital space or for anyone who uses a computer. Whether you want to save an image of a funny meme, capture an important email, or extract data from a website, taking a screenshot is often the easiest way to go.

If you’re a Windows user and you’re wondering how to take a screen shot, don’t worry! In this article, we’ll guide you through the process step by step. From using the Print Screen function to taking screenshots of active windows, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s get started!

Steps to Take a Screenshot on Windows

Step 1: Open the screen you want to capture

Before taking a screenshot, you must have the screen you want to capture open and clicked on.

Step 2: Use the Print Screen button

The Print Screen button is usually located on the upper-right side of your keyboard. Simply press this button to capture the entire screen.

Step 3: Use the Windows key + Print Screen

If you want to save the screenshot automatically, use the Windows key + Print Screen combo. The screenshot will be saved in your Pictures folder under Screenshots.

Step 4: Capture an active window with Alt + Print Screen

If you only want to capture an active window, use the Alt + Print Screen combo. This will save the screenshot of the active window only.

Step 5: Use the Snipping Tool

If you want to take a customized screenshot, use the Snipping Tool. This tool allows you to select the area you want to capture, annotate it, and save it as an image.

Step 6: Use the Snip & Sketch tool

If you have Windows 10, you can use the Snip & Sketch tool to combine the features of the Snipping Tool and the Print Screen button. This tool allows you to take a screenshot of a specific area or the entire screen and edit it before saving.

Step 7: Use the Game Bar

If you’re a gamer and want to capture your gameplay, use the Game Bar. Simply press the Windows key + G, and the Game Bar will appear. From there, you can take a screenshot or record your screen.

Step 8: Use the Xbox app

If you have the Xbox app installed, you can use it to capture screenshots and gameplay videos. Open the Xbox app, click on the Game DVR icon, then choose either Screenshot or Record.

Step 9: Use a third-party tool

If you’re not satisfied with Windows’ built-in tools, you can use third-party software like Greenshot or Lightshot. These tools offer more advanced features like image editing and cloud storage.

Step 10: Understand the PrtScn and ScrLk buttons

These buttons are often found on older keyboards but still work in Windows. The PrtScn button captures the entire screen, while the ScrLk button captures the active window.

Step 11: Edit your screenshot

Windows offers basic editing tools like cropping, highlighting, and drawing. Simply open the screenshot in Paint or Photos and begin editing.

Step 12: Save your screenshot

Once you’re satisfied with your screenshot, save it to your preferred location. Windows allows you to save screenshots as JPG, PNG, or BMP files.

Tips and Tricks

1. Use keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can save you time and make the capturing process more efficient. Try using the Windows key + Print Screen combo for automatic saving.

2. Invest in third-party software

Third-party software like Snagit or FastStone Capture offer more advanced features like video recording and image editing.

3. Use the ruler tool

If you need to capture an image with specific dimensions, use the ruler tool in the Snipping Tool or Snip & Sketch.

4. Use the delay timer

Windows’ built-in tools offer a delay timer option. This feature allows you to set a timer before the screen is captured, allowing you to prepare the screen properly.

5. Learn the hotkeys

Each tool has its own set of hotkeys. Learn these hotkeys to capture screens more quickly.

6. Keep your desktop clean

Make sure to keep your desktop clean and clutter-free before taking a screenshot. This will avoid any unwanted distractions.

7. Turn off notifications

Before taking a screenshot, turn off any notifications or pop-ups that may appear. You can do this by using the Focus Assist option.

8. Backup your screenshots

Make sure to backup your screenshots regularly to avoid losing them in case of system crashes or malfunctions.

9. Use cloud storage

Consider using cloud storage like Dropbox or Google Drive to store your screenshots. This will allow you to access them from any device.

10. Don’t forget about copyright

Make sure to respect copyright laws when taking screenshots. Don’t use someone else’s work without their permission.

In conclusion, taking screenshots is a simple but essential skill for Windows users. With these tips and tricks, you can become a screenshot pro in no time. Whether you’re capturing a funny moment, an important email, or just a beautiful image, taking screenshots is a breeze with Windows.

Advantages and disadvantages of taking a screen shot in Windows


1. Easy to use: Taking a screenshot in Windows is a simple and quick process that can be done with just a few clicks.

2. Can be used for troubleshooting: Screenshots can be useful for technical support or troubleshooting purposes, allowing you to easily show a problem or error message to someone else.

3. Can be used for documentation: Screenshots can be used to create step-by-step instructions or documentation for a process or application.

4. Can be shared easily: Screenshots can be easily shared with others, whether it’s through email, chat, or social media.

5. Can be used for creative purposes: Screenshots can also be used as part of content creation, such as showcasing a product, demonstrating an app or game, or highlighting a particular feature.

6. Allows for customization: Windows offers various options for customizing your screenshots, such as selecting a specific window or area to capture, or including annotations and highlights.

7. Saves time and effort: Taking a screenshot can save you time and effort, as you can easily capture and share information without having to manually copy and paste.

8. Can be used in presentations: Screenshots can also be used in presentations to illustrate a point or provide visual aids.

9. Can be used for personal records: Screenshots can be used to keep a record of important information, such as online receipts or confirmation numbers.

10. Can be used as a reference: Screenshots can be used as a visual reference when trying to recreate a certain process or task.


1. Limited to visual information: Screenshots only capture visual information, so they may not be useful for capturing audio or other non-visual information.

2. Limited to what’s on the screen: Screenshots only capture what’s currently displayed on the screen, so they may not be useful for capturing information that requires scrolling or navigating.

3. May not capture certain features: Screenshots may not capture certain features, such as animated elements or pop-ups, depending on the tool or application being used.

4. May not be high quality: The quality of a screenshot may vary depending on the resolution and size of the screen, which can affect the clarity and level of detail in the image.

5. May not be editable: Screenshots may not be easily editable, so making changes or adjustments to the captured information may require additional tools or software.

6. May not be secure: Screenshots may capture sensitive information that shouldn’t be shared or stored, such as passwords or personal data.

7. May be limited by copyright laws: Screenshots may be subject to copyright laws and restrictions, especially when sharing or using them in commercial or public contexts.

8. May require additional steps: Depending on the device or tool being used, taking a screenshot may require additional steps or keystrokes, which can slow down the process.

9. May take up space: Storing screenshots can take up space on your device or cloud storage, especially if you take them frequently or in high volume.

10. May not be useful for everyone: While screenshots can be useful for some users and purposes, they may not be necessary or helpful for everyone, depending on their needs and preferences.


What is a screenshot?

A screenshot is an image taken of whatever is visible on your computer screen at a given time. It is basically a photo of your computer screen.

Why would I need to take a screenshot?

You might need to take a screenshot to capture an error message, save a copy of a webpage, or record a series of steps for troubleshooting purposes.

How do I take a screenshot on Windows?

There are a few ways to take a screenshot on Windows, but the easiest is to press the “Print Screen” key on your keyboard. This will capture an image of your entire desktop.

What if I only want to capture a specific window?

To capture a specific window, click on it to make it active and then press “Alt + Print Screen”. This will capture only the active window.

How do I capture a portion of my screen?

If you only want to capture a specific area of your screen, press “Windows + Shift + S” and then click and drag your mouse to highlight the area you want to capture. The screenshot will be copied to your clipboard and can be pasted into another application.

Where are my screenshots saved?

By default, screenshots taken on Windows are saved to the “Screenshots” folder in your “Pictures” directory.

Can I change where my screenshots are saved?

Yes, you can change the default location where screenshots are saved by going to the “Settings” app, selecting “System”, and then “Storage”. From there, you can select a new location for your screenshots.

Can I edit my screenshots?

Yes, you can edit your screenshots using any image editing software. Windows includes a built-in image editor called Paint, which can be used to crop, resize, and annotate your screenshots.

How do I open the Paint application?

You can open the Paint application by pressing the “Windows” key on your keyboard, typing “Paint” in the search bar, and then selecting the “Paint” app from the search results.

What if I want to capture a screenshot of a menu or tooltip?

To capture a screenshot of a menu or tooltip, press “Windows + Print Screen”. This will capture an image of the entire screen, including the menu or tooltip.

Can I take a screenshot of a video?

Yes, you can take a screenshot of a video by pausing the video at the desired moment and then taking a screenshot using one of the methods mentioned above.

Is there a way to take a screenshot without capturing the mouse pointer?

Yes, you can take a screenshot without capturing the mouse pointer by pressing “Windows + Shift + S” and then selecting the “Rectangular Snip” or “Freeform Snip” option, which allows you to specify exactly what you want to capture.

Can I take a screenshot using a third-party application?

Yes, there are many third-party screenshot applications available for Windows, such as Snagit and Greenshot, which offer additional features and customization options.


Taking a screenshot on Windows is a relatively simple process and can be done in a number of ways. Whether you prefer to use the Print Screen key, the Snipping Tool, or a third-party software, the end result is the same – a high-quality image of your screen that you can share with others or use for reference purposes. With so many options available, you can choose the method that suits your needs and preferences.

As you can see, taking a screenshot on Windows is a useful skill that can come in handy in many situations. Whether you are troubleshooting an issue, creating a tutorial, or simply want to capture a moment on your screen, a screenshot can be a valuable tool. By learning how to take a screenshot on Windows, you can improve your productivity, save time and effort, and enhance your overall computing experience.


Thank you for reading this guide on how to take a screenshot on Windows. We hope that you found it informative and helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. And don’t forget to share this article with your friends and colleagues who may find it useful. We wish you the best of luck in all your computing endeavors, and until next time, take care!