How To Take a Screenshot in Microsoft Windows

Taking a screenshot allows the user to record the visible screen of their computer. With a screenshot you can record whatever open and visible on the screen, even if multiple windows are minimized and opened together. This is especially helpful when you have received an error message that you want to send to the help desk or other technical service representative in order to get help. It is simple to take a screenshot in Microsoft operating systems. Just follow these steps.

  1. Determine which operating system you have. Most windows operating systems work the same for taking a screenshot but when troubleshooting you will need to know what system you are working with. The most common operating systems in use today are Microsoft Vista and XP. You may also have Windows 98, ME or 2000 which were popular and still exists in many consumers' homes.
  2. Select the screen you want to copy. The screen you want to copy should be the front window and visible when you take the screenshot.
  3. Locate the print screen button. Your computer may label this "Prnt Scrn" or "PrtScn" or some other combination of the letters. Look to the top row of F or function keys on your computer keyboard. This button should be available on both desktop and notebook computer models.
  4. Locate the ALT button. This button is often found on the bottom row of keys near the spacebar. Some keyboards offer two ALT buttons, one on each side of the spacebar. You only need to locate one of them.
  5. Select the ALT and Print Screen buttons. Hold down the ALT button then the Print Screen button. You may not notice your computer doing anything but it has made a copy of the visible screen area.
  6. Paste the screenshot. Before you can view the screenshot you need to paste it into a document or paint program. Simply open a Microsoft Word document and select the Paste option from the edit menu (or use the keyboard and select the CONTROL and V buttons at the same time). This paste will place the screenshot into the document. You can also paste the screenshot in Microsoft Paint program the same way. Open a blank page in the Paint program and paste the image.

Once you have taken a screenshot you can save it as a document or an image depending upon what you need. By following these steps you can easily take a screenshot in Microsoft Windows. Save several screenshots to explain a process for teaching purposes or attach the document to an email to send to a service technician helping you troubleshoot a problem.


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