Grabbing a Screen Shot

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 27, 2020)

There are several specialized utilities on the market that you can use to capture what you see on your screen. You may not need such a utility, however, as Windows allows you to easily capture a screen.

Here are the steps to capture your screen; they are different from the procedure in earlier versions of Windows:

  1. Set up your screen so that it reflects what you want to capture. (For instance, start whatever applications or open whatever windows you want visible.)
  2. Hold down the Win key (that's the one on your keyboard with the Windows logo on it) and press the PrtScn key. (On some keyboards it may be labeled "Print Screen.") Windows grabs the screen shot and stores it on your hard drive.
  3. Press Win+E. Windows displays an Explorer window.
  4. Using the tree at the left side of the window, open Libraries | Pictures | Pictures.
  5. Click on the Screenshots folder. (This folder is created automatically, if necessary, after you perform step 2.) (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Screenshots folder.

The Screenshots folder contains all the screen shots you've captured, in chronological order. The files are saved in PNG format and the filenames are always "Screenshot" followed by an incremented number within parentheses. Thus, the files will be Screenshot (1), Screenshot (2), Screenshot (3), etc.

If you don't want the screen capture saved to a disk file immediately, you can use the PrtScn key without the Win key. Doing so copies the capture to the Clipboard, where you can paste it into a different program. For instance, you could paste it into a graphics program, modify the image in some way, and then save it to a disk file from within the program.

 This tip (11884) applies to Windows 8 and 10.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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