How to Take Screenshots in Windows 10

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Adding desktop or software screenshots to documents or site pages is a great way to show off applications or games. There are a few ways you can capture snapshots of the Windows 10 desktop or other software. Windows 10 has hotkeys, a screen capture utility and new Game Bar that you can now take screenshots with.

Windows 10 includes the basic PrtSc hotkey you can press to capture a snapshot. That will capture a full snapshot of the desktop, including the taskbar, as below. The image copies to a clipboard, so then you need to paste it into an image-editing application such as Paint. Press Ctrl + V to paste it into Paint.


As this captures everything on the desktop, it’s not the most flexible option. However, you can always crop the snapshot with almost any image-editing package. As such, PrtSc can still come in handy if you can’t capture the shot with the other hotkeys and tools. To crop in Paint, click Select > Rectangular selection and then drag the rectangle over an area of the image. Press Crop to erase everything outside of the selected area, and then save your image.

If you only need to capture one active (selected) window in a snapshot, Alt + PrtSc is a better hotkey. Open a software window, and press Alt + PrtSc to capture the shot. Then when you paste this snapshot with Ctrl + V, it will be more like the one below.

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Win + PrtSc is another handy keyboard shortcut for snapshots. Pressing that hotkey captures and saves the snapshot automatically so you don’t need to paste it into photo-editing application. It saves the image to a Screenshots subfolder in Pictures.

The Snipping Tool is a Windows 10 utility you can use to capture snapshots with. Enter Snipping Tool in the Cortana search box to find and open it as below.

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Press the small arrow beside the New button to open a menu with snipping options. There you can select Free-form Snip, Rectangular Snip, Window Snip and Full-screen Snip. Rectangular Snip is much the same as a standard cropping option, while Free-form Snip is a little more flexible as you can draw out an area to copy with the scissor cursor.

When you’ve selected an area to snip, the window below opens. That includes extra Pen and Highlighter options to annotate the image with, but no text option which would be a handy addition. Press Save Snip to save the screenshot.

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Windows 10 also has a new Game Bar that includes screenshot options for games. Run a game and press Win + G to open the Game Bar toolbar. Press the Screenshot button there to capture the game shot, which saves to Videos\Captures in your user folder. It will still capture just the game’s window even if it isn’t maximized.

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So those are the tools you have for taking desktop and software snapshots in Windows 10. There are also numerous third-party packages that have additional options you can capture screenshots with. 

Posted by Matthew on March 2, 2016

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