I need to take screenshots frequently during each day as a software reviewer for PCMag. Screenshots are the only effective way to demonstrate to readers how an application truly appears when it is being used.
I review Windows software primarily, so I am familiar with the different methods for screen capturing on that platform. Every computer user periodically has to capture a screenshot, even if it’s just to show a coworker what they’re seeing on the screen.
The amount of time it has taken to perfect this basic ability is astounding. Since the first PCs in the 1980s, Windows has supported screen printing (albeit the text-based option was different from raster screenshots today).
With the addition of the Snip & Sketch tool in Windows 10, there were new ways to take screenshots. The Snipping Tool in Windows 11 makes taking screenshots much more intelligent.
Here, Windows 10 screenshots are the subject. I’ll go over numerous methods for taking screenshots of a Windows 10 computer screen below so you can choose the one that works best for you.
1. Use Shift-Windows Key-S and Snip & Sketch
This has replaced Snagit as my go-to screenshot technique after years of using it (see below): You can choose the complete screen, a rectangle selection, a freehand selection, or a specific application window by pressing the keyboard shortcut Shift-Windows Key-S. The Screen Snip button located in the Action Center can also be used to launch Snip & Sketch.
After executing this keyboard shortcut, a brief notification with the words “Snip Saved to Clipboard” appears in the lower right corner of the thumbnail panel. To access the Snip & Sketch window, tap here. With this, you can mark up the image with a pen, pencil, highlighter, ruler, and other tools.
The image can then be shared via the regular Windows Share menu or saved to a folder of your choice. This enables you to transmit it to any app that accepts the file type, including Instagram, Messenger, Mail, and others. You can send it to a nearby PC that has Nearby Sharing activated as well.
Text overlay and fundamental shapes, such as the always-useful arrow, are two features I wish Snip & Sketch had. You can select Utilize the PrtSc Button to Open Screen Snipping under Ease of Access > Keyboard in the Windows Settings app if you only want to use this tool. It should be noted that Windows must be restarted.
2. Use the Print Screen Key with Clipboard
This is the time-tested technique for taking screenshots in Windows 10. It’s particularly helpful for photographing programs whose appearance changes when you press a certain keyboard combination.
Frequently, as soon as you touch the shift key, a menu will collapse. When you press the Print Screen or PrtSc key, the entire screen is copied to the Clipboard; however, when you press Alt and Print Screen, only the active window rectangle is copied.
To open and save your image in a program that deals with images, such as Paint, Paint 3D, or even Photoshop, you do need to follow further steps (unless you take advantage of the next tip). In one of those apps, you can simply paste using Ctrl-V when you’re in a new document. After that, you can modify the image to your heart’s content and save it to the folder of your choosing.
3. Use Print Screen Key with One Drive
Given that it debuted in 2015, this is one of the coolest things to ever appear on Windows screenshots. You can save the active window or the full screen with Print Screen or Alt-Print Screen, as you can with the standard Print Screen key.
You can avoid needing to launch an image app, paste it from the clipboard, and then save the file by going to OneDrive’s Settings panel and selecting Automatically Save Screenshots/Capture to OneDrive from the Backup tab. Immediately after pressing the Print Screen button, an image file will be saved.
Your shot was saved, and Windows’ Action Center (the slide-out panel on the right side of the screen) tells you of this. Clicking the notification will take you directly to the folder where it was saved.
If you frequently utilize this technique, you’ll probably need additional cloud storage than the first 5GB. You can receive 1TB and all the well-known productivity programs with an Office 365 service (beginning at $6.99 per month).
4. Use the Windows Key-Print Screen Shortcut
Although it was first used with Windows 8, this technique is still effective with Windows 10. Compared to some of the other techniques in this story, it is easier.
You may activate this feature on tablets like the Surface Pro by simultaneously pushing the Volume Down and Power buttons. When you press the Windows Key-Print Screen key combination, the screen briefly dims to signal that it was successful. A PNG picture file is then immediately saved to your Pictures > Screenshots folder.
Interestingly, Alt-Windows Key-Print Screen uses the Windows Game Bar functionality (see next slide) to save only the active window, saving your screenshot to your Videos/Captures folder. If you want to instantly save something without having to deal with the Clipboard or OneDrive online storage, both of these ways work well.
5. Use the Windows Game Bar
The Game bar, which contains a webcam-like symbol, is accessible by pressing the Windows Key + G. To access the Capture section, which features a camera symbol, tap this.
By clicking that, your screenshot will be saved to the Videos/Captures folder within your main user folder.
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