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How to Use the Windows Print Screen Key with Your Mac in Boot Camp

Posted by Jim Tanous on January 26, 2015
macbook pro boot camp windows

When it comes to taking screenshots in Windows, the Print Screen key is crucial. Most Windows-based keyboards have a Print Screen key, so it’s usually not an issue. But what if you’re running Windows on a Mac via Boot Camp? Apple’s compact keyboards don’t have a Print Screen key so, absent third party software, how do you take screenshots when booted into Windows on your Mac?
Thankfully, Apple accounted for this issue by mapping the traditional Windows Print Screen key to a keyboard shortcut. With the default Apple keyboard found on the MacBooks or the Apple Wireless Keyboard, you can use the following shortcut combinations to capture Windows screenshots to the clipboard:

Capture the Entire Screen: Function + Shift + F11
Capture Only the Active Window: Function + Shift + Option + F11

Note that unlike OS X screenshots, these key combinations don’t place an image file somewhere on your computer. Instead, just as in Windows natively, the captured screen or window is copied to your Windows clipboard, where you can paste it into a new document via an image editing application like Microsoft Paint. Also note that there’s no audible or visual confirmation when you take a screenshot in Windows. You just need to press the desired shortcut combination, open an image editing application, and then use the paste function via your keyboard or the application’s menu in order to confirm that your screenshot was taken as intended.
If you’re using a third party keyboard with your Boot Camp Windows installation, things can get a little bit trickier. Some cross-platform keyboards have a Print Screen key already. Others use the F14 key as Print Screen. Still others technically have a “function” key but don’t label it as such, instead opting for descriptions such as “Alt” or using a special graphic.
The good news is that we have yet to encounter a keyboard that can’t get Apple’s Print Screen key mapping working on a Mac. It may take a little bit of experimentation, but you should be able to use the default key combinations as a guide with which to test various shortcuts until you discover the correct keys for your particular Mac Boot Camp setup.

4 thoughts on “How to Use the Windows Print Screen Key with Your Mac in Boot Camp”

John Ernest says:
Oh, what a life saver! Thank you!
Reply
D.Müller says:
Doesn’t work for me. Fn+Shift+F11 decreases volume
Reply
Solomen says:
I was happy with this guide! But I have found another method. Skitch is a great 3rd-party software to take a screenshot in Windows. I can easily use keyboard shortcut to take a screenshot.
Reply
nasdaq says:
Thank you! This is indeed a piece of useful information. But there are also another choice. Snipping Tool is a built-in application in Windows. I can take screenshot with just a few clicks.
Reply

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