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8 ways you can take screenshots in Windows 10

Capture all -- or just part -- of your screen with a few keystrokes.

snip-and-sketch-promo
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Windows 10 October 2018 Update introduced a new way to take screenshots last year. Snipping Tool is out; Snip & Sketch is in. (Actually, the Snipping Tool is still kicking around, but Microsoft claims it is being phased out.) 

Here's how the Snip & Sketch tool works -- and other shortcuts for taking screenshots with Windows 10. 

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Snip & Sketch

The Snip & Sketch tool is easier to access and makes it easier to share screenshots, but it lacks an important feature that is keeping me on Team Snipping Tool. From the Snip & Sketch window, click the New button in the upper-left to initiate a screen capture. 

The Snip & Sketch window disappears, and in its place you'll see a tiny menu at the top of your screen that lets you choose which type of screenshot you want to take -- rectangular, free-form or full-screen. Surprisingly, it does not offer any way to capture a screenshot of a window, which is my go-to with the Snipping Tool. You can also click the down-arrow button next to the New button in the Snip & Sketch window to delay a snip for 3 or 10 seconds.

After taking a screenshot, it gets loaded to Snip & Sketch, where you can annotate it with the pencil, pen and other tools at the top of the window. Your screenshot is also copied to your clipboard, and it includes any annotations you make.

snip-and-sketch-tool
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Snipping Tool

The Snipping Tool has been around since Windows Vista. Click the New button to begin the screenshot process. The default snip type is a rectangular snip, but you can also take free-form and full-screen snips along with a window snip.

The Snipping Tool does not automatically save your screenshots -- you will need to manually save them in the tool before you exit -- and it does automatically copy your captures to the clipboard.

snipping-tool
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Print Screen

To capture your entire screen, tap the Print Screen (sometimes labeled PrtScn) key. Your screenshot will not be saved as a file, but it will be copied to the clipboard. You'll need to open an image editing tool (such as Microsoft Paint), paste the screenshot in 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 toggling on Use the PrtScn button to open screen snipping under Print Screen Shortcut. 

pnt-scn-shortcut
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Windows key + Print Screen

To capture your entire screen and automatically save the screenshot, tap the Windows key + Print Screen key. Your screen will briefly go dim to indicate that you've just taken a screenshot, and the screenshot will be saved to the Pictures > Screenshots folder.

Windows key + shift-S 

You can also use keyboard shortcut Windows key + shift-S (or the new Screen snip button in the Action Center) to capture a screenshot with Snip & Sketch. Your screen will dim and you'll see Snip & Sketch's small menu at the top of your screen that will let you choose with type of screenshot you want to capture.

Alt + Print Screen

To take a quick screenshot of the active window, use the keyboard shortcut Alt + PrtScn. This will snap your currently active window and copy the screenshot to the clipboard. You'll need to open the shot in an image editor to save it.

Game bar

You can use the Game bar to snap a screenshot, whether you're in the middle of playing a game or not. Hit the Windows key + G key to call up the Game bar. From here, you can click the screenshot button in the Game bar or use the default keyboard shortcut Windows key + Alt + PrtScn to snap a full-screen screenshot. To set your own Game bar screenshot keyboard shortcut, to Settings > Gaming > Game bar. Backing up a bit, you'll also need to enable Game bar from this settings page by making sure you've toggled on Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game bar.

Windows Logo + Volume Down

If you're rocking a Microsoft Surface device, you can use the physical (well, 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, hold down the Windows Logo touch button at the bottom of your Surface screen and hit 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.

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Originally published on Dec. 20, 2016.
Update, April 3, 2019: Added detail of Game bar screenshot tool.

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