Screenshots are undeniably useful, whether you’re writing a how-to guide or putting together a training presentation for your team.

Sometimes, the simplest way to teach someone how to do something is through visual images, and in those cases, screenshots are your best bet.

But if you’re working on a PC and you're more used to working on a Mac, it can be tricky to figure out how to take a screenshot.

Here, we’ll show you a few different ways to take screenshots on different Windows versions -- best of all, our easy guide will show you how to do this in five minutes or less.

How to take a screenshot on Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7

Microsoft created a Snipping Tool specifically for capturing screenshots. There are four types of screenshots you can take with the Snipping Tool:

  • Free-form snip: Capture a free-form screenshot around an object.
  • Rectangular snip: Capture a rectangular screenshot around an object.
  • Window snip: Capture a browser window or dialog box.
  • Full-screen snip: Capture the full screen.

When you’re finished capturing a screenshot, there are a few things you can do with the image besides simply saving it:

  • Annotate it: Write or draw on the screenshot by selecting “Pen” or “Highlighter” buttons. Use the “Eraser” tool to remove lines you’ve drawn.
  • Remove the URL: If you’ve taken a screenshot of a browser window and saved it as an HTML, the URL automatically appears below the snip. If you don’t want this, select “Options” in your Snipping Tool, and then uncheck the “Include URL below snips (HTML only)” box. Then, click “OK”.
  • Share a snip: Select the arrow next to “Send Snip”, and then select an option from the list to share your screenshot.

Now, let’s take a look at the basics of capturing a screenshot on Windows 7, 8.1, or 10.

1. Open your Snipping Tool. For Windows 7 and 10, select “Start” and type “snipping tool” into the search box, and then select the tool from the results. For Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, swipe from the right edge of your screen, select “Search” and type “snipping tool” into the search box, and select the tool from the results.

2. Within the Snipping Tool, click “Mode” and then select the kind of snip you want. Then, select the area of your screen you want to capture.

Image courtesy of Microsoft Support.

3. After you capture your snip, select the “Save Snip” button. Type a file name, location, and type, and then click “Save”.

How to take a screenshot of your active window

There’s a shortcut to the above process if you want to take a screenshot of your current active window. Just press “Alt” + “PrtScn”. Your active window will be captured, but it won’t automatically save -- to do this, find the screenshot in your clipboard, open an image editor, and save it from there.

How to take a screenshot of your entire screen on Windows

If you want to take a screenshot of your entire screen and save the screenshot automatically, hit the “Windows Key” + “PrtScn”.

Your screen should dim for a moment, and then the screenshot will be saved in Pictures > Screenshots folder.

Originally published May 30, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated May 30 2018

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