How to create a screenshot in windows 11

How to create a screenshot in windows 11

If you need to capture the contents of your Windows 11 PC’s screen (or part of it) for future reference, it’s time to take a screenshot. You can use built-in screenshot functions or third-party tools. Here are several ways to do this.

Copy the entire screen to the clipboard: press Print Screen

A finger pressing the print screen key on a keyboard

In Windows 11, as in previous versions of Windows, you can copy an image of your entire screen to the clipboard (a temporary storage area for copying and pasting) by pressing the Print Screen (PrtScn) button. Sometimes the print screen button on your keyboard is labeled "PrtScn" or "PrtScrn".

On desktop keyboards you can usually find the Print Screen button to the right of the F12 key in the top row of keys. On laptop keyboards, you may need to press a function key ("Fn") while pressing the "Print Screen" key for it to work.

With a screenshot on your clipboard, you can paste the screenshot into any application that can receive pasted images. For example, you can open the Paint app that comes with Windows and paste the image with Ctrl+V. Then press Ctrl+S to save the screenshot as a file in the desired image format.

Save screenshot as a file: Press Windows + Print Screen

Press Windows + Print Screen on your keyboard

If you want to save a screenshot immediately as an image file on your PC, press Windows + Print Screen on your keyboard. Windows will create a full-screen screenshot and automatically save it as a PNG file named Screenshot (#).png" in the C:Users[User Name]PicturesScreenshots folder (where "#" is a number that increments over time based on the number of screenshots you capture).

And remember, if you have a laptop, you may need to hold down the function or "Fn" key while pressing Print Screen or "PrtSc" for it to work. So you may need to press Windows + Fn + Print Screen to capture your screen as a PNG file.

Copy the active window to the clipboard: press Alt + Print Screen

Press Alt + Print Screen on your keyboard

If you want to put the currently active window on the clipboard (without selecting it or cropping an image), press Alt+Print on your keyboard. Once on the clipboard, you can paste the screenshot into any app that receives images, like Microsoft Paint, Adobe Photoshop, or a free image editing app like Paint.NET.

Capture a portion of the screen to the clipboard: Press Windows+Shift+S

Press Windows+Shift+S on your keyboard

If you want to capture a specific part of your screen that you select yourself, you can use a special Windows 11 screen cropping tool. Press Shift+Windows+s on your keyboard at any time. The screen will darken and you will see a small toolbar in the top center of the screen. From left to right, the options look like this:

  • Rectangular Cut: Select a rectangular freeform area of the screen to capture.
  • Freeform section: Select an irregular shape as a screenshot. The area around the irregular shape (in the rectangular image) is black when you paste it in.
  • Pane: Select an application window and capture only that window.
  • Full-screen snip: Similar to pressing Print Screen itself, this option will take a screenshot of your entire screen.

For example, to capture a rectangular selection of the screen, click the icon on the far left of the toolbar that looks like a rectangle with a plus in the corner.

How to create a screenshot in windows 11

Next, position the cursor near the object to be captured. Click and hold the mouse button, then drag your mouse (or finger on a trackpad) until you select the rectangular area you want to save.

Use the mouse pointer to drag a rectangular selection onto the screen

When you release the mouse button, the selected area is copied to the clipboard. If you have notifications enabled, you will see a small pop-up in the corner of the Snipping Tool screen. When you click on it, the screenshot you just created will open in the Snipping Tool app, where you can annotate, crop or save as needed (see section below).

How to create a screenshot in windows 11

If you ignore the pop-up notification, you still need to paste the screenshot into an image editor like Microsoft Paint to save it to a file. However, you can also paste the image directly into other applications such as email clients and messaging apps.

Use the print screen to open the screen capture

Windows 11 includes a handy option that lets you launch the Screen Snipping tool (see last chapter) by pressing Print Screen instead of having to press Windows + Shift + S. To activate it, open the Windows settings by pressing Windows + i. Then navigate to Accessibility> Keyboard. Scroll down and toggle the switch next to "Use screen button to open screen capture" to "On".

Set the button next to

Close the settings afterwards. Any time you want to open the screen snipping tool to quickly copy screenshots to the clipboard, just press Print Screen on your keyboard.

Take a screenshot on a device without a print screen button

The Microsoft Surface Pro

On some older Windows devices, which lack a button for printing (e.g. B. early Microsoft Surface tablets), you can take a screenshot by pressing Windows + Fn + Spacebar.

Alternatively, if you have a tablet or other device with a Windows logo key, you can press the Windows key and the Volume Down key at the same time to record the entire screen. Both methods save a screenshot in the PicturesScreenshots folder in your user folder.

Take a screenshot with the snipping tool

To create screenshots with more control that you can annotate, save, or share, you can use Windows 11’s Snipping Tool. To launch it, open the start menu and type "snipping". Then click on the "Snipping Tool" icon when you see it.

How to create a screenshot in windows 11

When the Snipping Tool opens, click "New" to start a new capture.

In the Snipping tool toolbar, click on

Once you’ve done this, you’ll see a small toolbar at the top of the screen (like the one in the "capture part of the screen" section above) that lets you do a rectangular crop, a freeform crop, a window crop, and a full screen crop. The difference is that when the Snipping Tool app is running, these tools don’t just copy the screenshot to the clipboard. You can save it in a file instead.

The Snipping toolbar of Windows 11

After you have taken the screenshot using one of the methods in the toolbar, it will be displayed in the Snipping Tool window. You have the option to crop it, annotate it with a drawing pen, save it as a file, or share it with others using the toolbar at the top of the window.

The Snipping Tool toolbar of Windows 11

If you need to capture something with a time delay, the Snipping Tool is ideal. Click on the clock icon in the toolbar and select a delay time from the dropdown menu that appears.

How to create a screenshot in windows 11

After you select the time, click the "New" button and a screenshot will be triggered after the time period you selected. To save the file, click on the save to disk icon in the toolbar and choose a save location. Nice and simple!

Take a screenshot (or video) with the Xbox Game Bar

You can also take a screenshot or video with the Xbox Game Bar. To do this, first open the Xbox Game Bar by pressing Windows + g on your keyboard (or you can press the Xbox logo button on a connected Xbox controller). As soon as it appears, you can use the "Capture" widget to take screenshots in PNG format and videos in MP4 format.

If you don’t see the Record window on the Xbox Game Bar screen, click the Widgets button on the toolbar at the top of the screen and select Record.

Click on the button

In the Capture window (which by default appears in the upper left corner of the screen), click the camera icon to take a screenshot of the current app (or desktop if no app is active).

How to create a screenshot in windows 11

To record a video of the currently active app, click the record button (which looks like a small white dot inside the larger gray button circle. Note that for some reason Windows 11 won’t let you record a video of File Explorer, or the desktop, just an active app.

Click in the widget

To stop recording, click the square "Stop" button in the Xbox Game Bar floating toolbar or in the Xbox Game Bar recording widget.

After capturing, the screenshots and videos appear in your C:Users[username]VideosCaptures folder. You can also check it out for yourself in the "Gallery" widget within the Xbox Game Bar interface. When you are done capturing, click on a blank area of the screen or press the escape key to close the Xbox game bar.

Use a third-party screenshot utility

How to create a screenshot in windows 11

Although the Windows operating system (OS) includes its own screenshot features (as you saw above), you can get new features and flexibility by installing a third-party screenshot utility.

Among the dozens of free screenshot apps available for Windows, we recommend Greenshot as a good place to start. It’s free and includes various capture and output options for different keystrokes for screenshots.

If you want something even more powerful and don’t mind spending a few dollars on high-quality software, we recommend SnagIt from Techsmith. Many of us here at How-To Geek have been using it for years. It’s a feature-rich app that makes taking great screenshots easy (it can also capture videos and animated GIFs).

SnagIt offers a Free Trial, so we encourage you to try it out and see if it meets your needs. If you take a lot of screenshots, it can make your life much easier.

SnagIt by TechSmith

SnagIt by TechSmith

SnagIt is a user-friendly screenshot tool with powerful features. If you take a lot of screenshots, this is a valuable piece of software that will make your life easier.

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