Want to take a screenshot in Windows 10 or 11? here’s how

that you download Windows 11 (to find how to download windows 11 for free) or paste with Windows 10 for a while longer, it’s easy to take a screenshot to capture part or all of your display. Maybe you want to save a receipt online, or maybe you want to capture a particularly notable gaming achievement to show off to your friends. Windows 10 and 11 offer the same built-in tools (Snip & Sketch and Snipping Tool), and several hotkeys will let you take a screenshot in an instant.

Here we’ll tell you how to use the built-in Windows snipping tools and other shortcuts to take screenshots in Windows 10 and Windows 11, so you can decide which one you prefer.

Plus, here’s more best Windows 10 tips and tricks, how to use all the new features in windows 11 and what you need to know about upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11.

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Cut and sketch

The Snip & Sketch tool is easier to access, share and annotate screenshots than the old Snipping tool. It can now capture a screenshot of a window on your desktop, a surprising omission when the app was first introduced that kept us on Team Snipping Tool until recently.

The easiest way to invoke Snip & Sketch is to use the hotkey Windows key + Shift + S. You can also find the Snip & Sketch tool listed in the alphabetical list of apps accessible from the Start button as well as in the notification panel where it is listed as Screenshot. Or you can just search for it if you don’t remember the hotkey. (If you frequently take screenshots, we recommend pinning the app to the taskbar.)

Example of a Snip and Sketch tool capturing a forest scene.

The built-in Snip & Sketch app finally won us over and is now our go-to method for taking screenshots in Windows 10 and 11. See you soon, Snipping Tool.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

The hotkey or notification button dims your screen and opens a small menu at the top of your screen that lets you choose the type of screenshot you want to take: rectangular, freeform, windowed, or fullscreen . Once you’ve taken your screenshot, it will be saved to your clipboard and will momentarily appear as a notification in the lower right corner of your screen. Click the notification to open the screenshot in the Snip & Sketch app to annotate, save, or share. (If you miss the notification, open the notification panel and you’ll see it sitting there.)

If you open Snip & Sketch from the Start menu or by searching for it, the Snip & Sketch window will open instead of the small panel at the top of the screen. From here you need to click on the New button at the top left to launch a screenshot and open the small panel. It’s an extra step to do it this way, but it also lets you delay a screenshot. Click the down arrow button next to the New button to delay a capture by 3 or 10 seconds.

biopsy tool

The Snipping Tool has been around since Windows Vista. Windows has been warning for a few years that the Snipping Tool is dying out, but it still works in Windows 11. The Snipping Tool has been removed from the list of apps in the Start menu, but is easily accessible through the Start Menu bar. of research.

Click it New button to start the screenshot process. The default capture type is a rectangular capture, but you can also take freeform, fullscreen, and windowed captures.

Snipping Tool does not automatically save your screenshots – you will need to save them manually in the tool before exiting – and it automatically copies your screenshots to the clipboard.

Snipping tool window on a Windows desktop

The Snipping Tool has been with Windows for a long time.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET


To capture your entire screen, tap the Screenshot (sometimes labeled PrtScn) key. Your screenshot will not be saved as a file, but it will be copied to the clipboard. You will need to open an image editing tool (such as Microsoft Paint), paste the screenshot into the editor, and save the file from there.

You can also set the PrtScn button to open the Snip & Sketch tool by going to Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard and switch to Use the PrtScn button to open the screenshot under Print Screen Shortcut.

The Print Screen Shortcut Settings options in Windows

You can adjust screen print settings in Windows.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Windows key + Print Screen

To capture your entire screen and automatically save the screenshot, press the Windows key + Print Screen key. Your screen will briefly dim to indicate that you have just taken a screenshot, and the screenshot will be saved to the Pictures > Screenshots case.

Alt + Print Screen

To take a quick screenshot of the active window, use the keyboard shortcut Alt+PrtScn. This will break your currently active window and copy the screenshot to the clipboard. You will need to open the photo in an image editor to save it.

No Print Screen key?

If your computer does not have the PrtScn key, no worries, Microsoft has another hotkey for you. You can press FN + Windows logo key + Space Bar to take a screenshot. It will then be saved in the Pictures > Screenshots case.

game bar

You can use the Game Bar to take a screenshot whether you’re playing a game or not. First, you will need to enable Game Bar from the settings page making sure you have enabled Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcasts using the Game Bar. Once activated, press the Windows key + G key to call up the game bar. From here you can click the screenshot button in the game bar or use the default hotkey Windows key + Alt + PrtScn to take a full-screen screenshot. To set your own Game Bar screenshot hotkey, to Settings > Games > Game Bar.

Windows Logo + Volume Down

If you swing a Microsoft Surface device, you can use the physical (well, sort of physical) buttons to take a screenshot of your entire screen – the same way you would take a screenshot on any other phone or tablet. To do this, press and hold the Windows logo touch button at the bottom of your Surface display and press the physical volume down button on the side of the tablet. The screen briefly dims and the screenshot is automatically saved to the Pictures > Screenshots case.

Want more information about Windows? Check all the big differences between Windows 10 and Windows 11 and all the features we wanted in Windows 11 but didn’t get.

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