How to Take a Screenshot on Windows 10 and 11 PCs

It’s a common thing to want to take a screenshot on a PC.

If you need to capture screenshots of something on your computer screen, Windows 11, 10, 8 and 7 offers a variety of methods for doing just that.

This article covers all of the various ways and methods you can screenshot on windows computers and show you step by step how to take a screenshot on Windows 10 and Windows 11 easily.

Creative image of ways to screenshot on PC as cover image for how to take a screenshot on windows 10 and 11 computer

Every single method of screenshotting your screen I cover in this guide was tested on various computers running the Windows 10 and 11 operating systems.

I also made sure to use different keyboards ranging from desktop PCs with external keyboards to laptops (small and big inches) including HP, Dell, Lenovo and Acer.

Quick Overview and summary

There are different ways to take screenshots on windows PC.

To take a screenshot right now, you can press the Windows key + Print Screen button on your keyboard. This will capture your screen and automatically save the image in the screenshot folder on your windows PC.

How do you screenshot windows 10?

Use the Windows key + Print Screen

  • The easiest way to take a screenshot on Windows 10 and automatically save the file is to press the “Alt + Print screen” button. This will automatically take screenshots of your entire screen and save it to the screenshots folder.

How do you screenshot windows 11?

Press the Print Screen button at the top right corner of your keyboard to capture screenshots.

The fastest way to take a screenshot of your entire screen on Windows 11 is to use the Print Screen key.

To capture your screen on windows 11 and automatically save the file, Press the Windows key + Print screen button.

(On some keyboards the print screen button is labeled “PrtScrn” or “PrtScr). The image will be saved in your Screenshots folder as a PNG file.

Here’s how to screenshot on windows laptops

To screenshot on laptop (especially for portable laptops from HP, Dell and Lenovo that doesn’t have a dedicated PrtScn key) Press “Alt + fn + Prnt sc” key and your screenshot will automatically save to the screenshot folder on your PC.

If you’re browsing the web and want to take screenshot of a particular webpage, you can capture your screen on PC using third party tools/extensions such as Nimbuzz from popular browsers such as Google chrome or Microsoft edge.

With a page capture browser extension, you can also quickly edit the screenshot image and add drawings, markings or texts to it before you save it to your PC.

In this article we explore all of the different ways of how you can take a screenshot on Windows 10, take screenshots on laptop, learn how to print screen and take screenshots on windows 11, whether you want to take a screenshot of the entire screen, a particular window, or capture a part of the screen.

6 Easy Ways to take Screenshots in Windows 10 and Windows 11 Computer

Use the Print screen shortcut button to take screenshots

The most common way to take a screenshot on Windows is to use the Print Screen (PrtScn) key. For the sake of novice users who haven’t familiarized themselves with their keyboards yet, the “Prt Scn” or “Prt Scrn” key is usually located at the top right row of the keyboard, regardless of the type of keyboard you are currently using.

Location of the PrtScn highlighted. The Print Screen key is on the top row of keys
The Print Screen key located right on the top row of keys

To take a screenshot of the entire screen on your PC, simply press the “PrtScn” or Print Scrn button on the upper-right side of your keyboard. Hitting the Print screen on a Windows computer will take a screenshot of your entire screen.

In most windows versions including windows 10, the screenshot will be copied to your clipboard.

To save the file, simply paste the screenshot (Ctrl and v) into any program that allows you to insert images directly, like Microsoft Word, Paint or some other image editing program to view, edit or save the image.

For portable and newer laptop models from Lenovo, HP and Dell, to capture your screen, simply press the “fn” key + “Prt Scn” button. This will automatically save your screenshot image to the screenshot folder on your laptop.

Image showing the location of function key and Print screen key on a laptop keyboard for how to screenshot on laptop
Press Fn + PrtScn button to take screenshot on your laptop

Where to find and access your saved screenshot?

Open your file manager > Go to Pictures > Screenshots

This is where all of your saved images will typically be saved on your laptop.

Press Alt + Print Screen to capture your screen

To quickly take a screenshot of the active window, use the keyboard shortcut Alt + PrtScn. Press Alt + PrtScrn key to capture only the active window you’re working in. In most cases this will automatically save the image on your screenshot folder.

Press the Alt and Print screen key to take screenshots. Image of a computer keyboard with print screen button and Alt key highlighted
An image of a modern computer keyboard with print screen button and Alt key highlighted showing how to screenshot on windows

If you use a portable laptop (13-14 inches) from Lenovo, Dell, Asus and HP, to capture only the active window you’re working in, press Alt + fn + PrtScrn key. This will automatically save the image for you.

To access saved screenshot images, open your file explorer > Click on Pictures > Screenshots. This is where all of your screen captured images will be stored.

What to do if your image doesn’t save automatically.

If you use the Alt + Print screen method for screenshotting your screen and the image doesn’t save automatically, it means it snapped your currently active window and copied the screenshot to the clipboard instead. You’ll need to paste it into another program or open the shot in an image editor to save it.

Press the Windows key + PrtScn Screen button to take a screenshot of your entire screen right now

To capture your entire screen and automatically save the screenshot, press the Windows key + PrtScn button to take a screenshot of the entire screen on your computer. Your screen will go dim to indicate that you’ve just taken a screenshot, and the screenshot of your entire screen will be saved to the screenshot folder on your PC/laptop.

To see or access your saved screenshots open your Windows file explorer > Go to Pictures > Screenshots folder.

If you currently use a newer laptop from HP, Dell and the first option doesn’t seem to work for you, do this instead:

On a laptop, Press the Windows kyt + fn + PrntScn to take a screenshot of the entire screen of your laptop and automatically save it. This method works for portable laptops from HP, Dell, Acer and Lenovo, whose keyboad are not the full standard keyboard type.

Use Snipping Tool to capture screenshots (Snip & Sketch)

Windows 10’s and the new windows 11 Snip & Sketch is the best way to screenshot on Windows if you’re looking to mark, customize, annotate, or share your screen captures.

With the snipping tool, you can take a snapshot to copy words or images from either your entire PC screen or just a part of your screen. Capturing your screen with the snip & sketch tool in windows 10 and 11 also lets you make changes, add notes or markings to the image before you save it.

Here is how to use snipping tool to capture screenshots

Press or hold down Windows key + Shift + S key.

The entire screen will change to gray and a mini menu will immediately appear at the top of your screen with different snip options to either take a rectangular, free-form, window, or full-screen snip.

Select the kind of snip you want, and then select the area of the screen capture that you want to capture.

You can capture any of the following types of snips:

Rectangular SnipDrag the cursor around an object to form a rectangle for screenshot.
Freeform SnipDraw a free-form shape with your cursor around an object.
Window SnipSelect a specific window on your screen to capture.
Full-screen SnipCaptures the entire screen.
How to using the Snip and Sketch tool to capture screenshots on windows 10
Click the type of snip you want to capture. (From left to right) rectangular, free-form, window, or full-screen capture. Credit: William Antonelli/Insider

Choose the type of screenshot you want to take or use your mouse to draw a rectangle if you have a specific area on your screen that you just want to capture.

When you capture a snip, it’s automatically copied to the Snipping Tool window, and a preview notification appears at the bottom right corner of your computer.

Click on the preview notification to open the Snip & Sketch app on your computer. You can either make changes, draw arrows or edit the screenshot with the available drawing tools, save, and share.

A few things to note:

With the window snip option, it doesn’t automatically capture the active window unless specified or using your mouse to freely draw around a specific thing you want to capture on the active window.

If you want to capture the full window, you can switch tabs with Alt + Tab and then click the specific window you want to capture.

If you want to upload these screenshots to your website as an explainer image or to spice up your latest blog post, you should make sure to optimize the images for the web. By default, the PNG format files saved by Windows screenshotting software are unnecessarily large.

Use the Game bar to take a screenshot or record your screen

The game bar is an embedded feature within most Windows apps and games to take screenshots and record video.

You can use the Game bar to snap a screenshot or record your screen whether you’re in the middle of playing a game or not.

The game bar in Windows 10 allows you to record gameplay footage, record videos, and take screenshots altogether.

  • To take a screenshot or record your screen using the game bar on windows, Press Windows key + G. This will immediately open the Game Bar menu.
  • Click the camera icon to capture a full-screen screenshot of active window only.
  • To record your screen, click the camera icon, then click “start recording”. There’s an option to include audio by clicking the microphone icon.

Expert Advice: Before you run the game bar shortcut command, make sure your active window is the exact window/screen you want to capture.

Professional Tip: If the Game Bar doesn’t open after you press the Windows Key + G, then you’ll need to enable Game bar manually from the settings page.

To enable the Game Bar, you can simply do a search on your computer for “Game bar settings” or by typing game bar.

Click on the Game bar system shortcuts, this should open the settings page, in the menu, toggle on “Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game Bar.”

Screenshots and video clips captured by the Game Bar are saved in PNG format to the Videos > Captures folder. You can also find and access it through the Game Bar, by clicking “Show all captures” underneath the screenshot and recording buttons.

Use third-party screenshot apps for Windows

If you’re not satisfied with any of the built-in Microsoft Windows methods to capture your screen, there are third-party screenshot tools you can use to get more screen capturing functions.

Third party integrations are an integral feature for screenshot tools in Windows. They add further functionality to your screen capture such as capturing scrolling screens as well as easy sharing between various work and productivity apps across your teams.

Some third-party screenshot apps you can use to take screenshots on your computer or laptop include Lightshot, Greenshot, Snagit and Screencast-O-Matic which is a screen casting software to capture and record your screen.

  • Lightshot is a free screenshot tool designed for quick capture and social sharing. Upon downloading and installing the Lightshot app on Windows 10, it replaces the Print Screen function and offers more editing capabilities.
  • Greenshot is another free tool that allows you to edit and customize screenshots as you like. You also have the option to capture a complete scrolling web page.
  • Snagit is a screenshot tool that allows you to take full-page screenshots, create animated GIFs, and more.

Here is how to take screenshot using LightShot (or other windows screenshot software)

Lightshot is a simple and easy-to-use screenshotting software. To use third-party software like LightShot to capture your screen, you first need to have the software program or app installed.

You can do this through the official Microsoft store or alternatively visit the Lightshot download page on the official website, and download the Windows version for your computer.

Once installed, it will automatically override the regular PrtScn key command on your PC. SO, every time you press the PrtScn key, button or command, the LightShot interface will open.

You can select an area of the screen you want to capture and add simple text, rectangles, or arrows as you like. You can also edit the thickness of the lines and elements as you like.

To save the image file(s), you can either press the save icon or use the Windows standard Ctrl + S shortcut to save.

Screenshots captured with Lightshot are usually located in the /Documents/Lightshot/ folder by default. However, you can change that folder and easily save files in other locations.

Craig Macaulay
Craig Macaulay

Craig Macaulay is an experienced prof. in business and human resource management. His area of expertise and interest includes business strategy, planning, Fintech and corporate social responsibility. Over the last decade, Craig has mentored several students, tried lots of software and served as a business technology analyst, operation, and marketing consultant for numerous businesses. In his words "I like to help small business owners grow their business and make money online, it doesn't hurt if we all just grow, you know".