ScreenshotAlternatively referred to as a print screen, screen dump, snapshot, or screen capture, a screen shot or screenshot is an image that is created from a software program or the operating system. Once a screenshot has been captured it can be saved as an image file such as a GIF or JPEG, manipulated, or printed. The picture is an example screenshot in the game Starcraft.

There are several ways to capture a screenshot, often each of these methods depend on what computer operating system you are using and what you intend to take a screenshot of. Below is a listing of all the different ways to create screenshots.

Microsoft Windows users
Apple Mac users
Apple and Android cell phones
Other software, programs, or games
Viewing, editing, and saving screen shot

Microsoft Windows users

The simplest way to take a screenshot is to press the print screen key on the keyboard. This takes a screenshot of the full screen and places it into the computer clipboard. Once in the clipboard, paste that screenshot into Microsoft Paint or other image editor.

Tip: Pressing and holding the ALT key while pressing the print screen key takes a screenshot of the active window, instead of the full screen.

Tip: Microsoft Windows Vista (not home basic) and Windows 7 users can use the Snipping tool to more effectively take screenshots in Windows.

Tip: Windows 8 users can press the Windows key + Print screen to make a screenshot of their screen and have the image automatically saved as screenshot.png in the My Pictures folder.

Apple Mac users

Apple Mac OS users can take a screenshot of their whole screen by pressing Command + Shift + 3. This will create a new TIFF file on your Desktop.

To take a picture of part of the screen press Command + Shift + 4 and than select the area of the screen you want to take a screenshot of.

If you need to copy the image to the clipboard instead of a file press Control + Command + Shift + 3 or 4.

Apple and Android cell phones

Android phone - Press and hold the volume up and down buttons at the same time. If done properly you should see a screen animation indicating that the picture was taken. The screen capture will be saved into your gallery.

Apple phone - Press the Home button and the top Sleep/Wake button at the same time. When done properly the screen should flash and if the volume is turned up it should sound like a picture has been taken. The screen capture will be saved into your pictures.

Other software, programs, or games

If you are unable to successfully create a screenshot using any of the above recommendations, use a third-party software program. Below is a listing of some screenshot programs you may want to consider. (Games, Images, and movies)

Open a search for additional screenshot and capture programs.


Many games will include a screenshot option or setup that enables the players to press a key such as the print screen key or F11 key. This varies between games and it is recommended you refer to the game key options or the manual for information about this availability. If this is not available, see the next section.

Screen shots from movies

When watching a movie or video file you may want to grab a single screenshot image.

Viewing, editing, and saving screen shots

Although many of the above downloadable programs allow you to capture screenshots, they may not have all the image editing features you need. Use an image editor to perform cropping, rotating, or other image editing tasks.

Also see: Fraps, Game terms, Print screen key, Snagit