How To Create a Screenshot in Windows

Make a Screenshot Using Standard Windows Tools

Pictures of windows, dialogs or toolbars usually help illustrate any documentation related with IT. Technical support services also use screenshots; using screenshots is the easiest way for a user to explain a problem to support people, and the easiest way for such services to answer users and help them to solve their problem. Screenshots clarify any explanation. It looks like they make a photograph of the screen. How can you do that?

You do not need any special software. In fact you can create screenshots just using standard Windows tools. Here's how to make a screenshot:

  1. Look at your keyboard and find the PrintScreen (PrtSc) button.
  2. Open the window, dialog or whatever you need to capture in your screenshot, and press the PrintScreen button. If you need to save not the whole screen, but only the current active window, press Alt+PrintScreen.

    It looks like nothing happened, but in fact your screenshot is already in the Windows Clipboard.

  3. In order to save your screenshot, you need to open any photo editing program. The easiest way is using Paint (it is always installed on any Windows system), but you can use any other programs (Adobe Photoshop, for example).
  4. Select Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> Paint. It opens Microsoft Paint.
  5. Select Edit -> Paste (or just press Ctrl+V). It copies screenshot from Clipboard to Paint.
  6. Select File -> Save. Choose a file name and directory in which to save the screenshot. Also choose file type; for screenshots we recommend GIF, but you also can use JPEG.
  7. Press Save button.

So now your screenshot is saved on your hard drive.

You also can use special software for making screenshots. Those programs give users some more advanced options, but usually the standard Windows tools I described are more than adequate. Nevertheless, I recommend two screen capture tools: Screen Shot Maker from Atlant software, and SnagIt from TechSmith.


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