How to take a screenshot

Updated: 03/10/2024 by Computer Hope
Face of a video game character

There are several ways to capture a screenshot. Usually, each method differs based on which computer operating system you are using and the content of which you take a screenshot. To proceed, look at the menu below and choose the approach that best suits your needs.

How to take a screenshot in Microsoft Windows

Windows 11 logo

The simplest way to take a screenshot of your monitor is to press Print Screen on the keyboard. This action captures an image of the entire screen and copies it to the computer clipboard. Once in the clipboard, paste that screenshot in Microsoft Paint, another image editor, Microsoft Word, or any program capable of accepting images.


Press Alt+PrtScr to take a screenshot of the active window, instead of the fullscreen.


Windows 8, 10, and 11 users can press Windows key+PrtScr to take a screenshot of their screen and have the image saved as screenshot.png in the Pictures > Screenshots folder.


Windows Vista (not home basic), Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 users can also use the Snipping Tool to make a picture out of a portion of the window.

Once the image is successfully pasted into a program, it can be saved or printed.

How to take a screenshot from Windows Command Prompt

Windows command line

The Microsoft Windows operating system does not allow users to take screenshots from Command Prompt. A third-party program or script is required for command line screenshot functionality.

If you are comfortable with using a script, a free and user-friendly script is the screenCapture batch script on GitHub. Follow the steps below to use the screenCapture script.


After using the screenCapture script for the first time, a screenCapture.exe executable file is created. That file can be ignored or used in place of screenCapture.bat in the commands below.

  1. Copy the 275-line script from the GitHub screenCapture page.
  2. Open the Notepad program and paste the copied script.
  3. Click File > Save As, change the Save as type option to All Files (*.*), enter screenCapture.bat as the file name, and click Save.
  4. Open the Windows command line.
  5. Using the cd command, change directory to where you saved the screenCapture.bat file.
  6. To capture a screenshot of the entire screen, type call screenCapture.bat <file name>, where <file name> is the name of the generated screenshot image file. For example, you could type the following command to capture the entire screen and save the screenshot as fullscreen.jpg.

call screenCapture.bat fullscreen.jpg

To capture a screenshot of a specific program window and not the entire screen, specify the program name in quotes at the end of the command. For example, to capture a screenshot of the Notepad program window, type the following command.

call screenCapture.bat notepad-screenshot.jpg "Notepad"


The screenCapture script does not work to capture a screenshot of some program windows, like Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. It is best used for capturing a screenshot of the entire screen.

If you prefer to use a third-party program that adds screenshot capabilities to the Windows command line, you can try the following programs.

How to take a screenshot in macOS

macOS Big Sur

Apple macOS users can take a screenshot of an entire screen by pressing Command+Shift+3. This action creates a new TIFF file on your desktop.

To capture only part of the screen, press Command+Shift+4, then select the area of the screen you want to screenshot.


After pressing this combination of keys, you may also press the Spacebar to capture a specific window.


To copy your screenshot to the clipboard instead of creating a file, press Control+Command+Shift+3 or 4.

Once the image is successfully created, it can be opened and edited or printed.

ChromeOS logo

How to take a screenshot on a Chromebook

To take a screenshot of the whole page, press Ctrl+Chrome switcher key.


For non-Chrome keyboards, press Ctrl+F5.

To take a screenshot of only part of a page, press Ctrl+Shift+Chrome switcher key.

How to take a screenshot on a Microsoft Surface Pro

Windows 11 logo

Using the device - Press and hold the Windows icon on the bezel of your Surface Pro, and press the volume down key.

Using the type cover - Press and hold Windows key and Fn, and press spacebar.

How to create a screenshot in the Chrome browser

Chrome logo

Taking a screenshot in Chrome requires an extension to be installed. You can add the extension Awesome Screenshot to capture the whole page or parts of the page. You can also add the Screencastify extension to capture video in Chrome.

Android and Apple mobile device screenshot information

Android mobile devices

Android logo

Due to Android smartphones and tablets having many manufacturers, the method for capturing a screenshot is not always the same. If this action is performed properly, a screen animation indicates the picture was taken. The screen capture is saved to your photo gallery.

  • Press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Volume Down buttons at the same time.
  • Press and hold the Power and Home buttons at the same time.

Apple devices

Apple logo
  • On an iPhone or iPad without a Home button (newer models), press the Volume Up button and the Power button at the same time to capture the screen.
  • On an iPhone or iPad with a Home button (older models), press the Home button and the top or side Sleep/Wake button at the same time.
  • On an iPad Pro, press the Volume Up button and the Power button at the same time to capture the screen.

When done properly, the screen should flash, and if the volume is turned up, you hear a sound of a picture being taken. The screen capture is saved to your pictures.


Do not hold these buttons down. Press and release them at the same time quickly.

Screenshots with other software, programs, or games

If you cannot successfully create a screenshot using the methods above, a third-party program may be of use. Below is a listing of some screenshot programs you may want to consider.


With the Windows 10 Creators Update, you can use the keyboard shortcut Windows key+Alt+PrtScr (or customize the keyboard shortcut) to take screenshots in games.


Many games include an option that enables players to press PrtScr or F11 to capture a screenshot. The key varies between games. We recommend you refer to the game key options or the manual for information about this availability. If this is not available, see the next section.


If you have an NVIDIA video card, you can use the GeForce in-game overlay to capture screen shots.

Screenshots from movies

To grab a single screenshot image from a movie or video file, see the following link.

Where are screenshots saved?

The location where screenshots are saved varies based on the method you used to take them.

Print Screen key - If you used Print Screen, they are copied to the clipboard.

Windows key+Print Screen key - If you used Windows key+PrtScr, the image is automatically saved into your Pictures folder under Screenshots.

Viewing, editing, and saving screenshots

Although many of the programs listed above allow you to capture screenshots, they may not have the appropriate features for making changes to your images. We suggest editors mentioned in the link below to perform cropping, rotations, or other similar tasks.

How to print a screenshot?

After capturing a screenshot, it can be opened in any image editor (mentioned above), that also lets you print from that program.

How to share a screenshot?

After making a screenshot, the picture file can be shared like any other picture on the computer. For example, you could e-mail the screenshot to a friend or upload the picture to Facebook or another social network website.