Taking Screenshots in Windows

How do you take a screenshot in Windows?

Is it the same process across different versions of Windows?

And is it the same process across laptops and desktops?

I am writing an article in a newsletter, and want to be able to tell people, “If you have a problem, just take a screenshot so you can show tech support…” however maybe that is too vague?

And since I don’t have a desktop and laptop with every version of Windows, I’m not sure how hard taking a screenshot is.

It also doesn’t help that I switched to Mac in 2008.

In the end, my goal to to teach people to take a screenshot when they have an issue, BUT I am not writing a “Dummies Guide to Taking Screenshots”!! :wink:

How much do I need to spell out, and how much can I assume that the newsletter readers can figure out on their own? (Readers will often be less computer savvy people like moms and grandparents.)

Make sense?


A quick search for your initial question revealed a good selection of articles, such as http://www.wikihow.com/Take-a-Screenshot-in-Microsoft-Windows You could just link to one of them, for people to use if required.

A screenshot can be taken by hitting the “PrtScn” button (print screen).

Since Windows 2000, possibly before that.

I don’t know. Somebody with a laptop can answer that.

My preferred approach for taking and quickly editing screenshots is to use GreenShot.

For end users who are using Windows 7+, the built-in snipping tool is an option.

For anyone else using any version of windows, press the the Prt Scrn button and paste into any program that can accept images (MS Paint, MS Word, LibreOffice Writer, OpenOffice Writer, A new message in Microsoft Outlook, etc). Laptop or desktop shouldn’t matter. Every keyboard I’ve ever seen has this button, though it may move around on laptop/notebook/netbook keyboards.

My article is for a printed newsletter, so the link won’t help as you intended. However, it does at least give me some information that I can try to summarize in my article.

BTW, what is up with all of the dead space between the numbers in the link you provided? (It almost seems like there are missing screenshots?)



That is what I wasn’t sure about. (I never went past Windows XP personally before switching to Macs.)

So you are saying that even with Windows 8, you can use “PrtScrn” to capture what is on the screen?


How does this sound for summarizing what you guys are recommending…

If you have any computer issues, for PC’s, simply press the Prt Scrn button on your keyboard to capture the error, and then paste it into any application which accepts images (e.g. MS Word, MS Outlook, MS Paint). This will allow the person helping you to see what you saw!



Nothing that I can see. :confused: With JS disabled, there are blank spaces instead of the videos, but otherwise I don’t see any problem. (Maybe you could post a screenshot. ;))

I use(d) MWSnap for taking screenshots.
It can grab the whole screen, the active window or a user defined area.
It also lets you include the pointer.

It’s a portable app, so you just drop it on your PC and it’s ready to use (no installation necessary).

Sangit is the best application to take screenshots.


Really? Why?
What makes it better than MWSnap?
Why do you like using it?

This thread shouldn’t turn into a list of applications for taking screen shots.
Any answers that just list apps without quantifying what makes them good will be fluffed.

Here you go…

(Taken with Snag-It…) :wink:


Are you sure you’re not blocking JS or something?

Since this is my thread, I agree. :slight_smile:

The focus of my OP was how people can take screenshots natively in Windows.

Not to contradict myself, but I have to concur with edata2405…

First off, MWSnap hasn’t been updated in 12 years!

Secondly, there is no support for Macs.

Third, Snag-It - especially for Windows - cremes MWSnap as far as features.

Finally, if a screen-capture app doesn’t have “Torn Pages” then it is deficient in my mind.

So there!! :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway, back to my OP…

So it sounds like all Windows users have to do to capture what errors they are seeing is hitting “Prt Scrn” on their desktop or laptop and then paste the capture into some app that accepts images.

That sounds like pretty universal advice, which is good. (And it helps me keep things short which is all the space I have for this article - which is about another topic!)



Here are my settings…


Oh wow, you’re completely right.
How could I have recommended such a piece of junk?
The fact that it doesn’t support torn pages quite escaped me, too.

I’ve never used MWSnap or Snagit, but as the former is free and the latter is paid (apart from a 30 day free trial), I know which I’d be more likely to pick. :slight_smile:

You normally give pretty good advice.

We’ll overlook it this time. :wink: :lol:


If you want free, then use the natively supported screen-capturing abilities of both Windows and OS-X. (That is what this thread was about.)

If you like extra features like Torn Pages, Highlighting, Drawing, etc, then for $30-$40, I think Snag-It is one of the most useful apps out there.


The Snipping tool in Window 7 certainly supports highlighting and annotation. I don’t know about torn pages - I’m not normally a Windows user and I’ve only tried the Snipping tool once. (It would never in a month of Sundays have occurred to me to look for torn pages as a feature. :))

Off Topic:

What are “torn pages”? Is that the ragged border look that gives the impression that the selection was torn out of a larger paper page?