Whether you’re downloading Windows 11 or sticking with Windows 10 for longer, it’s easy to take a screenshot to capture part of your screen or all of your screen. Maybe you want to save a receipt online, or maybe you want to pick up a particularly unique gaming action to show off to your friends.
Windows 10 and 11 offer the same built-in tools (Snip & Sketch and Snipping Tool), and several keyboard shortcuts will let you take a screenshot in an instant.
How to use both built-in Windows screenshot tools and other shortcuts to take screenshots in Windows 10 and Windows 11, so you can decide which one you prefer.
clip and draw
The Snip & Sketch tool is much easier to access, share and annotate screenshots than the old snipping tool. And it can now take a screenshot of a window on your desktop, a surprising omission when the app was first introduced that made us use the Team Snipping Tool until recently.
The easiest way to invoke Snip & Sketch is by using the keyboard shortcut Windows key + Shift + S. You can also find the Snip & Sketch tool listed in the alphabetical list of applications accessed from the start button as well as in the notification panel where it is listed as a screenshot or You can only search for it if you have not installed the keyboard shortcut in memory. (If you frequently take screenshots, we recommend pinning the app to the taskbar.)
Either a keyboard shortcut or a notification button will dim your screen and open a small menu at the top of your screen that lets you choose the type of screenshot you want to take — rectangular, free-form, window, or full screen.
Once you take your screenshot, it will be saved to your clipboard and 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 it. (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 search for it, the Snip & Sketch window will open instead of the small panel at the top of the screen.
You need to click on the New button on the top left to start the screen capture and open the small panel. It’s an extra step forward with this method, but it also allows you to delay the screenshot. Click the down arrow button next to the New button to delay the clip for 3 or 10 seconds.
The Snipping Tool has been around since Windows Vista. Windows has warned for a few years that the Snipping Tool is moving away, but it still works, including in Windows 11.
The Snipping Tool has been removed from the Apps list from the Start menu, but is easily accessible via the search bar.
Click the New button to start the screenshot process. The default clip type is rectangular clip, but you can also take free-form, full-screen and window clips.
The Snipping Tool does not automatically save screenshots – you’ll need to manually save them to the tool before exiting – and automatically copies the screenshots to the clipboard.
To capture your entire screen, click the Print Screen key (sometimes called PrtScn). Your screenshot will not be saved as a file, but will be copied to the clipboard.
You’ll 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 toggle with the PrtScn button to open the screenshot under the Print Screen shortcut.
Windows key + Print Screen
To capture your entire screen and save the screenshot automatically, click 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 folder.
Alt + print screen
To take a quick screenshot of the active window, use the keyboard shortcut Alt + PrtScn. This will capture the currently active window and copy the screenshot to the clipboard. You will need to open the snapshot in the image editor to save it.
You can use the game bar to take a screenshot, whether you’re playing a game or not. Press Windows Key + G to bring up the game bar.
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 game bar screenshot keyboard shortcut, go to Settings > Games > Game Bar.
Backing up a bit, you’ll also need to enable Game Bar from this settings page by making sure to switch to Recording game clips, screenshots and broadcasts using Game Bar.
Windows logo + Volume Down
If you’re shaking a Microsoft Surface, you can use the physical (sort of, physical) buttons to take a screenshot of your entire screen — similar to how 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 the Surface screen and press the physical volume down button on the side of the tablet. The screen will dim briefly and the screenshot will be automatically saved to the Pictures > Screenshots folder.