Techniques for Taking Screenshots in Windows 10 and 11

2023-01-18 05:10:46 - Grace Browns Grace Browns has been a lifestyle, fashion, and beauty writer for over 5 years, and she currently serves as a senior editor at

Just in case your mobile ticketing app doesn't work at the airport or you need to return a purchase, it's smart to bring a paper copy of your documents. One simple way to make sure you have backup copies of crucial files is to take screenshots. In any case, whether you have Windows 10 or Windows 11 taking screenshots of your entire screen or a selected region of it is a breeze with a few common tools.  

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To help you decide which version of Windows you like best, we've included instructions for using the built-in tools and other shortcuts for taking screenshots in both Windows 10 and Windows 11.  

Cut and Paste

Snip & Sketch makes it simpler to take, edit, and share screenshots than the previous Snipping Tool. The ability to take screenshots of individual windows on the desktop was surprisingly absent when the app first came out, so we stayed on Team Snipping Tool until very recently.  

The Windows key plus Shift + S is the quickest way to launch Snip & Sketch. In addition to being accessible from the Start menu's alphabetical list of applications, the Snip & Sketch tool can be located in the Notifications area of your screen under the name "Screen snip." In case you don't want to memorize the shortcut, you can always use the search bar. (We suggest pinning the app to the taskbar if you frequently take screenshots.) )

Example of Snip and Sketch tool capturing a forest scene.

With Windows 11 and 10, we've switched to using the built-in Snip & Sketch app for screenshots. Thank you for everything, Snipping Tool

Photo by Matt Elliott/CNET

You can choose between taking a rectangular, freeform, windowed, or full-screen screenshot by using the keyboard shortcut or the notification button, both of which will cause the screen to dim and bring up a tiny menu at the top of the screen. Take a screenshot, and a brief alert will appear in the corner of your screen, to the right. This is where the screenshot will be copied to. If you want to annotate, save, or share the screenshot, all you have to do is click the notification and open the Snip & Sketch app. (If you don't see the alert, just open the notification drawer. )

The small panel at the top of the screen is no longer visible if you launch Snip & Sketch from the Start menu or a search for it. To begin a screen capture and reveal the accompanying window, click the New button in the top left. It's more work, but doing it this way allows you to postpone taking a screenshot. You can pause a cut for 3 or 10 seconds by clicking the arrow down next to the New button.

Cutter, Snip

Windows Vista is when we first saw the Snipping Tool. Although Windows has stated for a while that the Snipping Tool will be discontinued, it is still available in Windows 11. In spite of its removal from the Start menu, the Snipping Tool is still easily accessible via the search bar.  

To start taking screenshots, select the New option. Although rectangular snips are the norm, free-form, full-screen, and window snips are also possible.

While screenshots taken with Snipping Tool are automatically copied to the clipboard, they are not saved in the program until you choose to save them before quitting.

Snipping tool window against a Windows desktop

Microsoft's Snipping Tool has been a staple of Windows for quite some time.

This screenshot was taken by CNET's Matt Elliott.

Embed Image

Press the Print Screen (or PrtScn) key to take a screenshot of your entire screen. A copy of your screenshot will be made in the clipboard instead of a file being created. The screenshot must be pasted into an image editor (like Microsoft Paint) before it can be saved.  

Click Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard and then toggle Use PrtScn button to open screen snipping under Print Screen Shortcut to make the PrtScn button open the Snip & Sketch tool.  

The print screen shortcut settings options in Windows

Microsoft Windows allows users to customize print screen options.

Photograph by Matt Elliott/CNET

Print Screen on Windows Key

To take a screenshot of your entire screen, press the Print Screen key on your keyboard (located to the left of the Windows key). Once you've taken a screenshot, the screen will go dark for a second to let you know, and the image will be stored in the Pictures > Screenshots folder.

Toggle Print Screen Alternative

Use the shortcut key combination Alt + PrtScn to quickly capture a screenshot of the current window. This will take a screenshot and copy it to the clipboard, effectively freezing the active window. To save the image, open it in your preferred image editor.

Inability to Print Display

Microsoft provides an alternate keyboard shortcut in case your computer lacks the PrtScn key. To capture a screenshot, press the Fn + Windows logo key + Space Bar. To save the screenshot, go to your photo album > Screenshots.

Game bar

Whether you're currently in the middle of a game or not, you can use the Game bar to take a screenshot. To begin, go to the Game bar's settings page and make sure that Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcasts using Game bar is turned on. Activate the feature, then press the Windows key + G to bring up the Games menu. To take a screenshot of the entire screen, either press the Print Screen key on your keyboard or the Windows key plus the letter P (for Print Screen). The shortcut for taking a screenshot in the Game bar can be customized by going to Settings > Gaming > Game bar.

The Windows logo volume is down

Those who sport a The Microsoft Surface in which case you can use the actual (well, kind of actual) buttons to capture an image of the entire display, just as you would on any other mobile device. To do so, press and hold the physical volume-down button on your Surface's side while touching and holding the Windows Logo touch button at the bottom of the screen. The display will go dark for a second, and the image will be saved to the Pictures > Screenshots folder.

You want more Windows details, right? Check out In-depth analysis of Windows 11 by CNET  and  all the major changes made between Windows 10 and 11 It's also worth looking at in terms of what Microsoft 365 Basic provides

As we speak: Take a look: With Windows 11, there are seven different ways to capture a screenshot.

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