How to Take a Screenshot on a Laptop

How to Take a Screenshot on a Laptop

How to Take a Screenshot on a Laptop

Knowing how to take screenshots on a laptop is very handy, and thankfully, both Windows and macOS laptops have a built-in screenshot feature you can use. While the integrated tools get the basics right, third-party screen capture and screencasting utilities are a much better option for advanced users.

Let’s explore how to take a screenshot on laptops running Windows 10 and macOS, using either the official tools readily available to you or via an advanced third-party app.

How to Take a Screenshot on a Windows 10 Laptop

Windows 10 offers multiple ways to take screenshots. There are at least three methods built into the operating system, alongside third-party screen capture apps with more advanced features. Here’s how to take screenshots on a Windows 10 laptop.

1. Take Screenshots Using the Print Screen Key

If you want to capture a full screenshot, the dedicated Print Screen key on your laptop is the best option. It is also available on external keyboards if you have one connected to your laptop.

how to print on HP laptop
  1. To capture a screenshot, press the Print Screen key on your laptop’s keyboard. There’s a good chance that the key doesn’t have “Print Screen” written out on it fully, so look for one that says “PS,” “PrntScrn” or “PrtSc” if you can’t find it.
  2. When you press the Print Screen key, a screenshot is saved to your clipboard. You can paste the screenshot in the Paint or third-party image editing app and modify it accordingly.
  3. To directly save a screenshot as a file, press Windows key + Print Screen. You will see the screen dim for a second, which means your screenshot is captured and saved.
  4. All the captured screenshots are saved to the following location by default:


Based on your laptop manufacturer, you may have to try different key combinations to capture the screenshot as a file. Refer to your computer’s user guide for more information.

If you don’t see your screen dim, make sure the Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing option is enabled in Advanced Options.

Animate controls elements inside Windows

You can access it from Settings > System > About > Advanced system settings. Open the Advanced tab and choose Settings under the Performance section.

If you are using a dual-monitor setup, the print screen function will capture every active screen. To capture only the active window, click on the title bar of the window you want to capture and press Alt + Print Screen.

2. Take a Screenshot Using Windows 10’s Snipping Tool

Is your dedicated Print Screen key not working? Don’t fret, because you can take screenshots without Print Screen on Windows. Microsoft Windows 7 and the later versions of the OS come with Snipping Tool—a built-in screenshot utility to capture custom areas or active windows. Here’s how to use it.

snipping tool Windows 10 laptop
  1. Open the Windows search bar, type snipping tool, and hit enter to launch the app.
  2. Click the New button to capture a new screenshot. Drag the crosshair to select the area you want to capture.
  3. You can edit the screengrab by highlighting text or doodle using the pen tool.
  4. For more snip options, click the Mode button. Choose from Free-form to snap a specific area or the Window option to capture active windows.
  5. Additionally, you can delay the shutter speed when taking screenshots from one to five seconds.

3. Capture a Screenshot Using the Snip & Sketch Tool

If you are running Windows 10 October 2018 Update or above, you can use the new Snip & Sketch tool. Compared to the Snipping Tool, it has some useful new features.

Snip & Sketch Windows 10 Laptop Screenshot tool

To capture screenshots using Snip & Sketch:

  1. Type Snip and Sketch in the Windows search bar, and open the app.
  2. Click the New button. Your screen will dim for a moment, and a toolbar will appear on top. You can choose from the  Rectangular, Free-form, Window, and Full-Screen Snip options.
  3. For delayed snips, click the down-arrow button next to the New option and select Snip in 3 seconds or Snip in 10 seconds.
  4. To customize the screenshot, you can use a highlighter, a ball pen with different colors, a roller for straight lines, or a cropping tool to reduce the image. If you mess up, use the eraser to scrub away your mistakes.
  5. Press the Windows key + S to save the image.

Alternatively, you can also access the Snip & Sketch tool with Windows key + Shift + S to take quick screenshots and save them automatically. All the screenshots are saved in the This PC > Pictures folder.

4. Use the Built-In Windows 10 Game Bar

Windows 10 now ships with the Xbox Game Bar. This bar offers quick access to screen capture and sharing features aimed at PC gamers. However, you can use it for capturing regular screenshots in Windows 10 laptops too.

To take screenshots with the Game Bar tool:

  1. Press the Windows key + G on your keyboard to launch the Game Bar app.
  2. Click the Camera icon. Game Bar will capture the screenshot and save it automatically. It will capture the currently active window automatically, so ensure you have the correct window selected.
Xbox Game Bar Windows 10 Screen capture

The Game Bar screenshot feature is pretty basic but works well for what it’s worth. It’s been designed to work with games, and that shows in its functionality.

Go to Start > Settings > Gaming > Xbox Game Bar to customize the keyboard shortcut and everything else.

5. Use ShareX to Take Professional Screenshots Using Advanced Features

The rudimentary Windows 10 screen capture apps can do basic jobs very well. However, if you want advanced features, ShareX is the best free screenshot tool available for Windows 10.

ShareX screenshot tool Windows 10

With ShareX, you can take screenshots, annotate them on the fly, record the screen, create GIFs, and choose from multiple capture methods. And we haven’t even touched on the range of after-capture features, including annotations, blur, border customization, etc.

ShareX is an excellent utility if you need powerful screenshot software that does more than capture screenshots. It is feature-packed, and above all, free to use.

Download: ShareX for Windows (Free)

How to Take a Screenshot on a MacBook or macOS

macOS has its fair share of ways to take a screenshot on a MacBook. With the release of macOS Mojave, there is a built-in screenshot tool, similar to what we have seen with Windows OS, finally!

1. Take Screenshot With the Screenshot Tool

macOS MacBook Screenshot tool

macOS Mojave and newer versions feature a built-in screenshot tool. To open it, navigate to Launchpad > Other > Screenshot or use the Shift + Command + 5 shortcut. Here’s how to use it.

  1. Press the Shift + Command + 5 to launch the Screenshot tool. A floating toolbar will appear with a few options.
  2. You can grab the entire screen, custom area, active window, and more.
  3. There is a delay feature that you can access by clicking on Options. It will bring up options such as choosing where your Mac screenshots are saved. By default, the screenshots are saved to your desktop.

macOS MacBook Screenshot tool options

This tool also offers a screen recording function. Launch the tool, choose Record entire Screen or Selected Portion, and drag the crosshair to select the area. When you are ready, click the Record button to start screen recording on your MacBook.

Related: Best Mac Screen Recorder Apps for Capturing Your Screen

2. Use the Shift + Command Shortcut to Take Screenshots on a Mac

macOS comes with pre-defined shortcuts to capture an entire screen, custom area, and active window. It is useful for capturing quick screenshots without launching the Screenshot tool.

To capture screenshots using shortcuts on a MacBook:

  1. Press the Shift + Command + 3 keys on your keyboard to capture your entire screen. You will see a thumbnail in the corner of your screen. You can edit the screenshot or wait for it to save to your desktop.
  2. Press Shift + Command + 4 to capture a portion of the screen. Drag the crosshair to select the area to capture.
  3. Alternatively, press Shift + Command + 4 + Space bar. A camera icon will pop up. Select the window that you want to capture and then click the camera icon.

If you want to send the screenshots to your clipboard, use the Control key in combination. For example, to capture a custom area, press the Shift + Command + Control + 4,  capture a screenshot and it will be saved to your clipboard.

3. Use Snagit Screen Capture and Recording for Mac

Snagit is a powerful screen capture and recording software by Techsmith, developers of Camtasia Studio. It is a premium software to quickly capture your screen, add additional context with annotations, text, and more.

Snagit MacBook Screencapture Tool

Snagit supports multiple capturing methods for both screenshots and screen recording. In addition, you can edit videos with text, annotations, and templates for visual instructions.

Unfortunately, Snagit doesn’t come free. If you don’t want to splurge on a screen capture tool just yet, there are some excellent free alternatives for Mac including Snappy, LightShot, and Skitch.

Download: Snagit for Mac (Free trial/$49.99)

That’s How You Take a Screenshot on a Laptop

Screenshots are handy for sharing an error screen with tech support, sharing your new find on social media, or even celebrating a milestone with friends or family. Now you know the best screenshotting tools available, regardless of if you prefer Windows or macOS.

That said, if you are not a fan of installing apps for everything, online screenshot tools are effective alternatives that are getting better every day.

man laptop typing
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