There are lots of reasons you might want to take a picture of your computer, tablet, or phone screen. Maybe you want to email a pic to a friend to show them something or you need to submit a screenshot with a help ticket so a customer support rep can help you solve a problem. Or maybe you’re writing a tutorial on how to take screenshots… 🙂
Whatever the reason, here are the steps for making screenshots on various devices.
The easiest way is to use the Print Screen button on your keyboard (possibly labeled Prnt Scrn). When you press it, you won’t actually see anything happen but the picture has been copied to your computer’s clipboard. Then you just need to paste it into your document or email window.
Note: The Prnt Scrn button will take a picture of your entire screen from edge to edge. If you want to just take a picture of the active window, hold down the Alt key at the same time. The top image below shows the Prnt Scrn version and the bottom one shows the Alt + Prnt Scrn version of the exact same display on my laptop.
This works great if you want to immediately paste the image somewhere, but it’s not ideal if you want to save a copy to your computer. You can paste it into something like Word and then right-click on it to save it as an image, but that’s a bit of a hassle. The other limitation is that if you just want a picture of part of your screen, you need to open the image in a graphics program and crop it. Again, not ideal.
Another option is to use the Snipping Tool, which is a utility that has come installed with Windows PCs since the Vista operating system. In Vista and Windows 7, it should be listed in your Program > Accessories. In Windows 8 and 10, you can just search for it using the Search icon at the bottom left of your screen.
Once you’ve launched the tool, click the arrow beside New and you’ll be given options for what you want to take a screenshot of. I’m guessing the Rectangular Area is the most commonly used option.
When you select it, your computer screen will dim and you use your mouse to draw a rectangle around the portion you want. When you let go of your mouse, another window will pop up with the screenshot in it and a toolbar with several features, including saving the image, writing on it, and highlighting and erasing parts of it.
I imagine Macs have a similar function, but I can’t tell you what they are.
To take a screenshot on an iPhone or iPad, hold down the Lock and Home buttons simultaneously. When you let go, the screen will flash and the image will be saved to your Photos app.
To take a screenshot on an Android or Amazon Fire phone or tablet, hold down the Lock and Volume Down buttons simultaneously for a couple of seconds. You’ll see the screenshot created and it will also be saved to your Photos app.
You may also be interested in: