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News and Perspectives from IT Experts
November 26, 2021

How to Take a Screenshot on Windows and macOS

A screenshot lets you share exactly what you see on your screen. There are several different ways to take a screenshot on Windows and macOS. Check them out!

A screenshot is a digital image of your screen. There are lots of scenarios when you might need to take a screenshot. A screenshot lets you share exactly what you are seeing on your screen and comes in really handy when you want to troubleshoot a problem, save information, get a lighter version of a picture, capture a specific moment in a video, and more.

If you don’t use the screenshot feature regularly, you may find yourself wondering how to screenshot on a laptop and having to Google the instructions for your OS. We have a better solution for you — simply go over this article and then screenshot it to test your new skill. Here, we will show you how to take screenshots on Windows and macOS.

How to screenshot on Windows

There are several different ways to take a screenshot on Windows. For instance, you can take a screenshot

  • using the Print Screen key,
  • with the built-in Snip & Sketch tool,
  • via the Windows Game Bar, or
  • using a third-party tool.

Take a screenshot using the Print Screen key

Take a look at the top right corner of your keyboard — you will see the Prt Sc key. This key may also be labelled as PrntScrn or Print Scr. On full-size keyboards, it is typically located right above the Insert key. You can use the Print Screen key to take screenshots on your Windows PC.

How to save a screenshot as a file

To save your screenshot as a file on your PC, simply press and hold the Windows logo key and tap the Print Screen key.

If you are using a Windows OS tablet that converts to a PC without a keyboard, you can do the same by pressing the Power and Volume Down buttons at the same time.

If you see a Windows logo button on your tablet’s display, press the Windows + Volume Down shortcut instead.

You will then be able to find your file in the following location: C:\Users\NAME\Pictures\Screenshots

How to save a screenshot to the clipboard

You can also save your screenshots to the clipboard: just press the Print Screen key (or Fn + Print Screen if this shortcut is responsible for screenshotting on your laptop) to do so. Your image will be saved to the clipboard. You can then go on to paste it into almost any application.

Take a screenshot with the built-in Snip & Sketch tool

Windows 10 comes with a built-in tool that offers even more screenshot options. It is called Snip & Sketch, and you can use it to take full screenshots and screenshots of a specific area of your screen and even annotate screenshots.

Note that Windows 10 also comes with the classic Snipping Tool, and you can also use it to take screenshots on your laptop. However, as the new Snip & Sketch tool comes with more functionality, the Snipping Tool is slowly being phased out.

To take a screenshot with Snip & Sketch quickly, simply press the following key combo:

Windows + Shift + S. Your screen will grey out for a moment, and you will see your cursor turn into a crosshair. You will also see a bar with several buttons close to the top of your screen. Here’s what each of these buttons does:

  • Rectangular Snip: you can form a rectangle on your screen, and the tool will screenshot everything within the rectangle.
  • Freeform Snip: you can draw any shape on your screen with the cursor, and the tool will screenshot everything within the shape you’ve outlined.
  • Window Snip: the cursor will function as a crosshair – you simply need to position it over a window and click to take a screenshot of just that window.
  • Fullscreen Snip: this feature will take a screenshot of your entire screen.
  • Close Snipping: by pressing this button, you will close the overlay without taking a screenshot. You can also use the Esc key on your keyboard to do the same.

A nice little feature is that Snip & Sketch will remember the option you used last and will bring it up by default when you need to take a screenshot again.

How to annotate and crop a screenshot with the Snip & Sketch tool

Once you’ve taken a screenshot, you will get a notification telling you that your screenshot has been successfully copied to your clipboard. You can now use the Edit > Paste menu or Ctrl + V key combo to paste your screenshot into any application that supports image files. If you miss the notification and it goes away, you will be able to find it in Windows 10’s Action Center.

To get more options for your screenshot, you can click the notification. This will bring up the Snip & Sketch window with more screenshot options, like writing, highlighting, erasing, and cropping. You will also see the Save button, which lets you save your screenshot as an image file.

How to take a screenshot with a delay via the Snip & Sketch tool

Taking a delayed screenshot is very handy when you need to capture a menu or other interface element that will not appear unless you are interacting with it directly. The Snip & Sketch tool lets you take screenshots with a three- or ten-second delay:

  1. To take a delayed screenshot, open Snip & Sketch.
  2. On your right, you will see the New button.
  3. Click the down arrow and select one of the options: Snip in 3 seconds or Snip in 10 seconds.

Take a screenshot via the Windows Game Bar

Windows 10 comes with a feature called the Xbox Game Bar, and it’s a great tool for taking screenshots or videos of PC games.

By default, you can take a screenshot with the Xbox Game Bar by using the following shortcut:

Windows + Alt + Print Screen. You will get the “Screenshot saved” notification and will be able to click it to see all your Game Bar screenshots.

To configure the Game Bar, go to Settings > Gaming > Xbox Game Bar. Here, you can enable/disable the Game Bar feature and customize keyboard shortcuts that you can use with the Game Bar.

The screenshots you take with the Xbox Game Bar will be saved in the C:\Users\NAME\Videos\Captures folder.

You can also use the Game Bar to record videos of your Windows 10 screen.

Take a screenshot using a third-party tool

If you are looking for even more functionality or just prefer to use something other than Windows’ built-in screenshot tools, you can use one of the many third-party apps available online. Apps like Greenshot and SnagIt can take screenshots on your PC and come with a good selection of editing options.

How to screenshot on a Mac

If you are using a Mac, you will also have lots of different options for taking a screenshot. You can take a screenshot

  • with a keyboard shortcut,
  • via the Touch Bar,
  • with the Timer feature, or
  • with a third-party app.

Take a screenshot with a keyboard shortcut

The quickest and easiest way to capture a screenshot on your Mac is by using a keyboard shortcut:

  • Use Shift + Command + 3 to capture an image of your Mac’s entire screen.
  • Use Shift + Command + 4 to capture a portion of your Mac’s screen.
  • Use Shift + Command + 4 + Space to capture a specific window or menu.
  • Use Shift + Command + 5 to go to the Screenshot app’s interface.
  • Use Shift + Command + 6 on a MacBook Pro to take a screenshot of the Touch Bar.

If you want to save your screenshot directly to the clipboard (instead of saving it as an image file), simply add Ctrl to any of the keyboard shortcuts above. For instance, to capture your entire screen on a Mac and then save it to the clipboard, use the following shortcut: Ctrl + Shift + Command + 3.

When a screenshot is taken, you will hear a camera shutter sound effect. The screenshot you’ve taken will be saved to your desktop by default. You can open the screenshot in any image viewer or editor, including Apple Preview or Adobe Photoshop.

If you want to save the screenshot in a different location, you will need to use the Shift + Command + 5 keyboard shortcut. A new toolbar will appear: go to Options and select where you want the screenshot to be saved.

Take a screenshot via the Touch Bar

If you are using a MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar, you can set up to take a screenshot via the Control Strip icon. Here’s how:

  1. Go to System Preferences.
  2. Select Keyboard.
  3. Under Keyboard Preferences, go to the Keyboard tab and click Customize Control Strip.
  4. In the new menu, click the Screenshot icon (it looks like a camera) and drag it to the Touch Bar.

Once this is done, you will be able to capture a screenshot by simply tapping the little camera icon on your Touch Bar. When you tap the icon, the Screenshot app toolbar will appear — click the Capture button to take a shot.

Take a screenshot with Timer

If you can’t take a screenshot at the right time by using the standard options, you can take a delayed screenshot. To take a screenshot with a delay on your Mac, do the following:

  1. Use the Shift + Command + 5 shortcut to bring up the screenshot toolbar.
  2. Go to Options > Timer.
  3. Here, select 5 Seconds or 10 Seconds.

Once you are in Timer mode, click the Capture button on your toolbar. Depending on the option you’ve selected, the tool will take a screenshot with a 5- or 10-second delay.

How to edit/annotate a screenshot on a Mac

After you’ve captured a screenshot, you will see a thumbnail in the corner of your screen. If you don’t click the thumbnail, the screenshot will be saved to your desktop or the location you’ve selected once it disappears.

If you click the thumbnail, a new window will open with editing and annotation modes. You can now use the toolbar icons to make changes to your screenshot before it is saved. You can add text and signatures, crop or rotate the screenshot, draw over it, and more.

Once you are done, you can save the screenshot with the changes you’ve made by simply clicking Done. If you want to delete the screenshot, click the trash can icon. You can also use the Share button to send the screenshot to other apps.

Take a screenshot using a third-party tool

Just like with a Windows PC, there are lots of third-party apps that you can use to take a screenshot on your Mac. Some of the most popular options include Skitch, Monosnap and Lightshot Screenshot.

And this is pretty much all you need to know about taking screenshots on a Windows PC and Mac. We hope that you have found this guide helpful and can now easily print screen Windows or capture your screen on macOS.

And there is just one more thing we’d like you to look into before you go. If you often find yourself working with media files (such as screenshots, photos, videos, etc.), there is another issue you may run into. If you need to send over a large media file online, you will quickly discover that it’s not an easy thing to do.

Media files are generally large. Most file sharing services, however, set strict limits on how big of a file you can share. For instance, with Gmail, you can only send over attachments not larger than 25 MB in size. Cloud storage platforms will let you store and share bigger files — but it all depends on how much you are willing to pay for a subscription fee.

If you don’t feel that these solutions are hitting the spot when it comes to your file sharing needs, consider using FileWhopper. Here’s why:

FileWhopper lets you send over files and folders of absolutely any size. Even if you have 10 TB worth of screenshots to send over, FileWhopper will do it quickly and easily — and with no strings attached.

FileWhopper is not subscription-based, and it won’t ask you to make a long-term financial commitment. Instead, it’s a 100% pay-as-you-go service. When sending files and folders with FileWhopper, you are only paying for the item you are transferring — and that’s it. What’s more, you select who pays for the file transfer. You can do it yourself or ask the recipient of the file or folder to make the payment.

Another thing that makes FileWhopper a great data sharing service is that it uses zero-knowledge encryption. This is the most advanced form of data protection used today, and it means that FileWhopper won’t store the decryption keys for your files and folders on its servers. As a result, no one (including the FileWhopper team) except for you and your recipient will be able to access your data under any circumstances.

If there is a connection drop during your file transfer, you won’t have to start from scratch — which is especially important if you are sending over a large amount of data. If your transfer gets interrupted, it will simply pause until the connection is restored and then resume from where it left off.

Another useful time saver is that the recipient of your file or folder can start downloading it as soon as you begin the upload on your end. There is no need to wait until you fully upload the data.

All you need to use FileWhopper is the service’s tiny app, which will auto-delete once its job is done. The learning curve with the software is absolutely minimal, and you will get the hang of it all in seconds. There are also clear, step-by-step instructions on FileWhopper’s homepage to take you through every stage of the process.

Taking all of this into account, FileWhopper does seem like a great way to transfer large files and folders online. There is no subscription, it’s easy to use, and it uses an advanced security protocol. Plus, your first 5GB transfer is totally free.

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