Whether you’re downloading(find out ) or stick to for a while it’s easy to take a screenshot to capture part or all of your screen. Maybe you want to keep an online receipt, or maybe you want to capture a particularly remarkable game achievement to show your friends. Windows 10 and 11 offer the same built-in tools (Snip & Sketch and Snipping Tool), and different keyboard shortcuts let you take a screenshot in an instant.
Here we’ll show you how to use built-in Windows screenshot tools as well as other shortcuts for taking screenshots in Windows 10 and Windows 11, so you can decide which one you like best.
Plus, here are more† and what you need to know about †
Cut and sketch
The Snip & Sketch tool is easier to access, share and annotate screenshots than the old Snipping Tool. It can now take a screenshot of a window on your desktop, a surprising omission when the app was first introduced and which kept us on Team Snipping Tool until recently.
The easiest way to invoke Snip & Sketch is with the hotkey Windows key + Shift + s† You can also find the Snip & Sketch tool in the alphabetical list of apps accessible from the Start button and in the notification panel where it is listed as screen clipping† Or you can just search for it if you don’t store the hotkey in memory. (If you regularly take screenshots, we recommend pinning the app to the taskbar.)
The hotkey or the notification button will dim your screen and open a small menu at the top of your screen that lets you choose what type of screenshot you want to take: rectangular, free-form, windowed, or full screen. After you take your screenshot, it will be saved to your clipboard and will temporarily 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 there.)
Opening Snip & Sketch from the Start menu or by searching for it opens the Snip & Sketch window instead of the small panel at the top of the screen. From here you have to click on the New button in the top left corner to start a screen recording and open the small panel. It’s an extra step to continue this way, but you can also postpone a screenshot with it. Click the down arrow next to the New button to delay the clipping for 3 or 10 seconds.
The Snipping Tool has been around since Windows Vista. Windows has been warning that the Snipping Tool is going away for a few years now, but it’s still running around in Windows 11. The Snipping Tool has been removed from the list of apps in the Start menu, but it’s easily accessible through the search bar.
Click on the New to start the screenshot process. The default snip type is a rectangular snip, but you can also create free-form, full-screen, and windowed snips.
Snipping Tool doesn’t automatically save your screenshots – you have to manually save them in the tool before exiting – and it automatically copies your shots to the clipboard.
To capture your entire screen, tap the Print Screen (sometimes labeled PrtScn) key. Your screenshot will not be saved as a file, but will be copied to the clipboard. You need to open an image editing tool (like Microsoft Paint), paste the screenshot into the editor and save the file from there.
You can also set the PrtScn button to open the Cut & Sketch tool by going to . to go Settings > Accessibility > Keyboard and turn on Use the PrtScn button to open the screen clipping under Print Screen Shortcut.
Windows Key + Print Screen
To capture your entire screen and save the screenshot automatically, tap 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 in the Images > Screenshots folder.
Alt + print screen
Use the hotkey to take a quick screenshot of the active window Alt + PrtScn† This will break down your currently active window and copy the screenshot to the clipboard. You must open the recording in an image editor to save it.
No Print Screen key?
If your computer does not have the PrtScn key, don’t worry, Microsoft has another keyboard shortcut for you. You can press fn † Windows logo key † Room Bar to take a screenshot. It is then stored in the Images > Screenshots folder.
You can use the game bar to take a screenshot whether you are in the middle of a game or not. First you need to enable the game bar from the settings page by making sure you have enabled Record game clips, screenshots and broadcasts with the game bar† Once enabled, press the Windows key + G key to bring up the game bar. From here you can click the screenshot button in the game bar or use the default keyboard shortcut Windows key + Alt + PrtScn to take a full-screen screenshot. To set your own screenshot shortcut in the Game bar, go to: Settings > Gaming > Game Bar†
Windows logo + volume down
if you rock, you can use the physical (well, sort of physical) buttons to take a screenshot of your entire screen — similar to how you’d 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 screen and press the physical volume down button on the side of the tablet. The screen will briefly dim and the screenshot will be automatically saved in the Images > Screenshots folder.
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