by Barry Dysert
(last updated April 22, 2019)
Windows makes it easy to create an image of what's on the screen. PC keyboards have a "Print Screen" key, which used to actually print the screen image to an attached printer. This key may have some abbreviated variation of "Print Screen," such as "PrtScn." (It may take some creative reading to figure out which key is the correct one on your keyboard.)
Nowadays, the "Print Screen" key doesn't actually print anything. Instead it captures the screen image and places it on the Clipboard. If, instead of capturing the entire screen, you want to only capture the active window, just hold down the Alt key when you press "Print Screen." If you really want to print whatever you've captured, paste the Clipboard contents into an image-capable application (like Microsoft Word or a dedicated graphics program) and print from there.
If you are using Windows 8 or Windows 10, you should be aware that Microsoft has enhanced and modified the ability to capture a screen. You can find more information about it in this WindowsTip.
Another way to capture a screen shot is to use the Snipping Tool. One of the Snipping Tool's options is to do a full-screen snip. The Snipping Tool also has a window snip option that allows you to capture a window or dialog box.
This tip (12560) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.
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