Create screenshots in Windows - simply explained


Every now and then it happens that you need a quick screenshot of a page or a section of a page on your computer.

A screenshot or screen shot can be helpful as proof, memory aid for interesting posts, to remember a tutorial or to share an interesting or important content. But a screenshot can also be important when an error message or message box pops up and it is needed for technical support.


Ways to create a screenshot in Windows

On a Windows laptop or computer, there are several ways to take such a screenshot. These possibilities include:

  • keyboard shortcuts
  • the integrated snipping tool
  • external screenshot tools
  • browser add-ons

In addition, screenshots of the entire screen, the active window or smaller sections can be created. The screenshots can be saved either to the clipboard or to specified subfolders in .png format.


Screenshots with keyboard shortcuts

If you want to create a screenshot in Windows, you need several keys. These are usually pressed simultaneously.

Create screenshot of the entire screen

Press the keys:[Windows] and [Print] (on some computers the key may also be [Print], [PrintScreen] or [PrntScr]).

The pictures are automatically saved in a folder called Pictures/Screenshots. Here you can find all the screenshots that have already been made.

However, if you only want to save the screenshot to the clipboard in order to paste it immediately into another document, e-mail or program, you only need to press the [Print] key.

With the combination [Ctrl] + [V] the screenshot can be inserted

ATTENTION: If you have several windows open on the screen, the entire screen with all these open windows will always be photographed. This screenshot can be further edited and cropped in a graphics editing program such as Paint or Photoshop.


Create screenshot of the active window

If you only want to take a screenshot of the active window (the window you are currently using), use the following key combination:

[Windows] + [Alt] + [Print]

But attention: here the image is saved under the folder path Videos/Recordings!


If you only want to have the image in the clipboard, use the key combination:

[Alt] + [Print]

This screenshot can also be pasted into other applications as desired using the [Ctrl] + [V] keys.


Screenshot of a self-selected area

In this case, the screenshot can only be saved to the clipboard.

[Windows] + [Shift ↑] + [S]

Here, the area that is to be screenshotted can be marked. The screenshot is also inserted here with the key combination [Ctrl] + [V].


Using a snipping tool for a screenshot

A snipping tool is a tool for taking sceenshots in Windows operating systems. Usually, these snipping tools allow you to capture a rectangular area with the mouse, select and screenshot individual windows, capture an area with a stylus, and capture the entire contents of the screen. Most snipping tools provide basic image editing of the screenshot.


Snipping tool integrated in Windows

Windows has a built-in snipping tool for creating screenshots. This has been available for all Windows systems for PCs and laptops since the Windows Vista version. The integrated snipping tool can be set so that it can be called up with the [Print] key. However, this key can then no longer be used for a direct screen capture. The settings can be found in the Start menu "Settings" under "Ease of use" (in Windows 11 "Accessibility").


As soon as you have made the setting and activated the [Print] key, you can select at the top of the screen whether you want to mark a rectangle, a free form, the current window or the entire screen. The image that you have outlined with the mouse pointer then ends up in the clipboard. From here, it can be pasted as desired.


Free snipping tool plus for editing screenshots

Snipping Tool plus is a program for creating image screenshots. This is free and must be installed on the Windows computer or laptop. Snipping Tool plus works similarly to the Windows integrated screenshot program. In addition, however, there is the option of a screen magnifier for precise cutting or a magnifying glass to read small texts better.


External screenshot tools

If you regularly need to take screenshots of your screen work, external screenshot tools are very helpful. Especially if you want to save the screenshots to a specific location or folder. The list of these programs, some of which are available for a fee, is long. The best-known screenshot tools include, for example Greenshot, Leawo (videos can also be recorded here), Screenpresso or PicPick.


Browser Add-Ons

Another possibility to take screenshots are so-called browser add-ons - however, these only work within the browser. Add-ons are extensions in the browser such as Firefox, Chrome or Edge. These are simply loaded to the browser and thus extend the functionality of a browser. These screenshot tools include, for example Gemoo-Snap, Fireshot Pro, Nimbus Capture or also GoFullPage which can also be used to record content outside the active, displayed browser window.



In summary, there are several ways to create screenshots under Windows. The average user gets by with the tools offered by Windows. In most cases, additional software is not absolutely necessary.