If you need to capture a screenshot of something on your computer screen, both Windows 10 and Windows 11 offer a variety of methods for doing just that.
Whether you want to save the entire screen or just a piece of it, we’ve rounded up all the best ways to take a Windows screenshot.
The Print Screen button
A screenshot of a Windows keyboard, with the Print Screen key highlighted.
The Print Screen key is on the top row of keys. Best Buy; Rachel Mendelson/Insider
The easiest way to take a screenshot on Windows 10 or Windows 11 is with the Print Screen (PrtScn) key. To capture your entire screen, simply press PrtScn on the upper-right side of your keyboard.
In Windows 10, the screenshot will be copied to your clipboard. To save the file, paste the screenshot into any program that allows you to insert images, like Microsoft Word or Paint.
The Paint app in Windows 10.
Paste your screenshot into a program like Paint to save and edit it. William Antonelli/Insider
In Windows 11, pressing PrtScn will save the screenshot to your computer’s dedicated Screenshots folder — you can find it by opening the File Explorer and clicking Pictures on the left side. And if you have it enabled, it’ll also save the screenshot to your OneDrive.
The Windows key + Print Screen
A screenshot of a Windows keyboard, with the Print Screen key and Windows key highlighted.
You can automatically save screenshots by pressing the Windows Key along with Print Screen. Best Buy; Rachel Mendelson/Insider
To take a screenshot on Windows 10 and automatically save the file, press the Windows key + PrtScn. Your screen will go dim and a screenshot of your entire screen will save to the Screenshots folder.
In Windows 11, pressing the Windows key + PrtScn will save a picture of your entire screen to the Screenshots folder and copy the picture to your clipboard. This will let you immediately paste the picture onto a social media post, art app, and more.
Alt + Print Screen
To capture only the active window you’re working in, press Alt + PrtScn. In Windows 10 this will copy it to your clipboard, so you’ll need to paste it into another program to save it; in Windows 11, it’ll both copy and save it to the Screenshots folder right away.
The Snip & Sketch tool in Windows 10
Windows 10’s Snip & Sketch is the best way to screenshot on Windows if you’re looking to customize, annotate, or share your screen captures.
To activate Snip & Sketch, use the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + Shift + S. Your screen will dim and a mini menu will appear at the top of your screen, giving you the option to take a rectangular, free-form, window, or full-screen capture.
A screenshot of a Windows keyboard, with the Shift key, Windows key, and S key highlighted.
This keyboard combo works in both Windows 10 and Windows 11. Best Buy; Rachel Mendelson/Insider
With these Snip & Skitch options, you can choose how you’d like to take a screenshot:
Rectangular Size a rectangle for your screenshot.
Free-form Draw free-hand with your cursor.
Window Choose a specific window to capture.
Full-screen Grab an image of your entire screen.
The Snip & Sketch options in Windows 10.
Click the menu to take a rectangular, free-form, window, or full-screen capture (from left to right). William Antonelli/Insider
After you capture the screenshot, it’ll be saved to your clipboard and a preview notification will appear in the lower-right corner of your screen.
Click on the preview notification to open the Snip & Sketch app and save, share, or edit the screenshot with the available drawing tools.
The Snipping Tool in Windows 11
The Snipping Tool exists in Windows 10, but it’s not usually the screenshot tool you’ll want to use. But in Windows 11, the Snipping Tool got a major upgrade, and it’s now the best way to take custom screenshots.
To start the Snipping Tool in Windows 11, you can search for it or just press the Windows Key + Shift + S. Like with Snip & Sketch, your screen will dim and a toolbar of screenshot options will appear at the top of the screen. This toolbar will let you take a rectangular, freeform, full-window, or full-screen capture.
The Snipping Tool app in Windows 11.
The Snipping Tool looks just like Snip & Sketch. William Antonelli/Insider
Once you’ve taken your screenshot, it’ll be copied to your clipboard so you can share it right away. And if you click the preview that pops up in the bottom-right corner of your screen, you’ll be able to save and edit it.
Writing on a screenshot in the Snipping Tool app in Windows 11.
You can edit your screenshot right away. William Antonelli/Insider
The Game Bar
The Game Bar is an overlay you can use within most Windows apps and games to take screenshots and record video. To open the Game Bar, press Windows Key + G.
Quick tip: If the Game Bar doesn’t open, make sure it’s enabled. To enable the Game Bar, search “Game bar settings” and in the menu, toggle on “Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game Bar.”
On the overlay menu, click the camera icon to capture a full-screen screenshot. You can also record a video clip by pressing the record button, with the option to include audio by clicking the microphone icon.
A screenshot of the Game Bar app in Windows 10.
You can take screenshots or screen recordings with the Game Bar. William Antonelli/Insider
Screenshots and video clips captured by the Game Bar are saved in PNG format to the Videos > Captures folder. You can also find it through the Game Bar, by clicking “Show all captures” underneath the screenshot and recording buttons.
Power + Volume Up
To take a screenshot on Windows 10 with a Microsoft Surface device, press the Power Button + Volume Up Button. The screen will dim, and your screenshot will save to the Pictures > Screenshots folder.
Important: To take a screenshot on a Surface 3 or earlier, you’ll need to press the Windows Logo + Volume Down Button.
Third-party screenshot apps for Windows
If you’re unsatisfied with any of the built-in Windows methods, there are third-party screenshot tools worth considering, each with their own extra offerings.
Screenshot apps like Lightshot are useful for social sharing. William Antonelli/Insider
Lightshot is a free screenshot tool designed for quick social sharing. When you download and install Lightshot on Windows 10, it replaces the Print Screen function and offers more editing capabilities.
Greenshot is another free tool that allows you to edit and customize screenshots, as well as the option to capture a complete scrolling web page.
Snagit is a screenshot tool that allows you to create animated GIFs, take full-page screenshots, and more. The downside? The premium version costs $50. There’s also a 30-day free trial, although any picture you capture during this trial will be watermarked.