Ever had a problem with your computer and wished you could show someone what it looked like? A screenshot is a perfect solution. Screenshots are pictures of what’s displayed on your screen, so you can take screenshots to record an error message or other information you want to show someone who might be able to help.
A screenshot can be used for a variety of purposes, including as an image to capture the action of a video game. For quick access, many operating systems include a screenshot function.
What is a Screenshot Used For?
There are a number of instances when you might need to take a screenshot:
- Sharing an error message with tech support.
- Capturing an image from a video game.
- Documenting your steps for solving a problem or making a how-to guide.
- Sharing information on social media (with permission, of course).
How to Capture a Screenshot
The best way is to use Snipping Tool, which is free software that comes with Windows 10. You just have to click on the icon in the Start menu and then select “New” from the drop-down menu that appears at the top left of your desktop next to “File.”
Next, drag out a square around whatever it is you want to be captured in your screenshot. Click outside this area when you’re done selecting – you’ll notice the selection box will disappear and a little bit of text will appear in its place.
That’s where you can now type your comments or anything else that needs explaining. You just have to press the Windows logo key on your keyboard – the one between Ctrl and Alt buttons on the lower-left edge of it–and then print screen.
The Snipping Tool will open and a new, blank screenshot window will appear. Drag over another selection box if you need to – you can have up to four of them at a time in different windows – and then type your comments or explanations under the “New” button on the Menu bar.
You’ll have to wait a few seconds for the Snipping Tool to load, but then your screenshot will appear in the window. You can save it as a .png file, share it with somebody through email or print it out by pressing the “Print” button on the Menu bar.
Print Screen key
If you want to take screenshots without having to open up software for it first, there are also keyboard shortcuts that do this task for you. The print screen key is usually found on top of most keyboards between F12 and Scroll Lock keys.
It’s marked “PrtScn” or “Print Screen” or sometimes just has an image of a printer on it – double-check which one you have so that you don’t end up taking multiple screenshots when all you need is just one!
However, if that doesn’t work try pressing “Alt” and “PrtScn.” This works if your keyboard has a separate “PrtScn” button rather than the one built into the F12 key – again, you have to check which one you have so that you don’t accidentally press both keys at once.
Alt + PrtScn can take a screenshot of your active window instead of your whole screen.