Microsoft

Quick Tip: Take fast screenshots with Windows 8 shortcut

Capturing and saving a screenshot in Windows 8 can be as simple as a basic keyboard shortcut.

In my job as an editor at TechRepublic, I have to create screenshot images just about every day. Before Windows 7 that generally required a several step process: one step to copy the screenshot to the clipboard, one step to paste it into Paint or similar application, and one last step to save it to a hard drive.

When Windows 7 came along there was the Snipping Tool, which did not really reduce the number of steps, it just sort of rearranged them slightly: Start the Snipping Tool, pick what you wanted an image of, snip it, and then save it to a hard drive.

While Microsoft Windows 8 still has the Snipping Tool, it also has a new keyboard shortcut for capturing screenshots. If you click the keyboard combination of the Windows Key + Print Screen, Windows 8 will capture the current screenshot and save it automatically in the Pictures Library. If you are on a tablet the combination is the Windows Key + Volume Down.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

31 comments
ivyroth1028
ivyroth1028

Taking screenshots with this method is indeed fast. But I still prefer some other third-party tools to <a href="http://screenshot.net/windows-8-screenshot.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">take a screenshot on Windows 8</a> as they usually allow me to edit and share the screenshots in an instant. For more info

fabbri_guy
fabbri_guy

wow thanks i didnt know this. literally just found out!

cbubb70
cbubb70

I have Windows 8., I for years have been able to print screen to clipboard and copy into paint to crop and save for the images I want. I can't seem to do this all of a sudden with Windows 8... I got it to copy to screen shit in photo library (ugh don't like that much either, but I just want it in clipboard so I can alter and crop the image.... help Please :)

cbubb70
cbubb70

For years I have done the control print screen to put it in clipboard and paste into paint to crop for what I want. How can I still do this?

ishaans
ishaans

I am windows 7- pretty sure you press the little key on the right of control, and click save as. that's your screenshot.

hamzamix
hamzamix

thats my .  i use windows key with prsc key because its the fast way. then i use droplr to crop  if i need it droplr can upload it directly to the cloud with a short link 

and also i can use droplr directly but its not that fast 

robert
robert

Is there a shortcut keystroke method to capture the active window only - like the Alt+Print Screen key combination, but that also saves it?

Ole88
Ole88

While Windows has always had some sort of screen capture built in, I have been using SnagIt for years. I like the fact that I can capture both images and make videos with the TechSmith products. Sometimes you want to get a "creative" capture that SnagIt makes very easy. I also like the fact that I can mark up my captures, which makes for some very clean and professional looking documents, emails or even web pages.

lylestavast
lylestavast

sourceforge.net Excellent tool for this process, and it will save the capture to a folder and with unique filenames of your choice without additional effort.

wethreefive
wethreefive

I have a toshiba laptop and running Windows 8 and I can-not make a screen shot with it. I do what you say and nothing works. I try ALT + PRTSC and It does not work what can I do?

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

I use the snipping tool a lot, but from time to time I use the screenshot feature I have built in inside Jasc Paint Shop Pro where I can capture full screen, regions, windows with shortcuts, at time intervals or with the press of a key. Being able to capture multiple times and every (for example) 5 seconds, has been very valuable!

ppearsall
ppearsall

Thanks, but I have been using Alt+print Scrn for years.

mike.panagos
mike.panagos

On your Windows 7 machine, find the Snipping Tool shortcut on the Start Menu and enter its Properties dialog window. In the Shortcut Key box enter your keyboard combination. I usually use Ctrl+Alt+S. Save the shortcut changes and from now on this combination will open the Snipping Tool, which on opening automatically is ready to select the part of the screen you want to grab.

miles.nigel
miles.nigel

When you are working with a tablet touch screen comments such as "windows +" means you are already in keyboard mode. I think the whoe point of the tip is that it works without invoking a keyboard first.

Fyrewerx
Fyrewerx

The Snipping Tool that came with Vista and Win 7 is still far better than what comes with Win 8. Its lightweight. You can select "exactly" what you want. And when I'm creating clips for quick instructions to endusers, it has the highlighter and freehand pencil to allow emphasis and pinpointing to specific items. Sure, I also have, and use, SnagIt, but the Snipping Tool was free, and as mentioned before, very lightweight and fast loading.

saulius.bruklys
saulius.bruklys

One extra step in win8 snipping tool is that after you start it with some shortcut you need to click "New" button. In win7 I was able to start marking needed area at once. Some strange backward fall back.

Daniel.Hougland
Daniel.Hougland

I started using Greenshot in XP because it skipped so many of the steps noted above. I tried the snipping tool in W7, because it seems similar, but I've gone back to Greenshot because it is more efficient. Free, at getgreenshot.org., a lot more features and options, keyboard shortcuts. I haven't been able to test it in W8.

halanderson
halanderson

If you are a OneNote user, Windows Key + s gives you complete flexibility of exactly what you want to capture on your screen... not just limited to a specific window or your entire desktop. Then you can paste directly from the clipboard and/or automatically paste it into OneNote. Same as in Win7. Using the Windows + Volume Down key is handy, but it can also quickly fill up your Photos directory if you sync with SkyDrive.

rsprinkle
rsprinkle

Alt + Print Screen puts a screen shot of the active window in the clipboard. It has at least since XP. It makes it easy to write illustrated directions or capture errors and other problems - no cropping necessary.

dstoltz
dstoltz

I still love the snipping tool - you can capture a specific area, rather than the whole screen, and save the capture easily, or copy to clipboard. The ONLY thing it's missing is the ability to print what you capture, but I can live with that.

Gerry V
Gerry V

Snipping tool was already there in Vista.

tony
tony

Windows Key + Print Screen works also with Windows 7.

pvong
pvong

I haven't tried Win8 yet but can you crop with this new version or does it still just take a whole screen shot and you have to open jpg and then crop? I use snag-it and I love it because you can crop before the screen shot. I wish that was built into Windows.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

This tip may not seem like much, but if you are taking 20 screenshots for a single blog post it can really save some time. Have you discovered other time-saving keyboard shortcuts in Windows 8?

Purple Boot
Purple Boot

Use a 3 key combo of FN PRTSC Windows This will put the screen image into a directory Screenshots found in the picture Libraries

VTMedicated
VTMedicated

Couldn't agree more with saulius - Having to click "new" to toggle the crosshairs in Windows 8 is a major productivity killer (not unlike countless other tasks in this OS). With Windows 7, all it took was one click or hotkey and I could turn my cursor into the crosshairs and select the snip. One more hotkey and I'm pasting it into the destination.   If the darn toggle button would just stay in the same place or popup at the cursor location, it wouldn't be such an issue, but it launches in a different spot depending on which display I used for the last snip. Snip on primary, next launch is on primary. Snip on 2 or 3 and work transforms into a game of "where's waldo" on three 27-inch displays at 2,560x1,440. I used to be able to simply bring the selection crosshairs into my field of vision, now I have to hunt for the toggle, across this vast desktop real estate, then go back to the intended target documents or images and hunt down what already required intense concentration to discover in the first place.   Surely some of you are thinking "Ctrl+N" toggles this immediately. Sure does ...but try that with your left hand. After all, this is to toggle a "new" input from the cursor, which literally requires a hand on the mouse. Everywhere I look I see this UI moving in directions that are incredibly counter-intuitive and regressive. I've always been more productive with windows but I'm sure next week I'll discover yet another small, but high-impact change. I'm not resistant to improvements, but it's a bit ridiculous that this OS necessitates third party software just to restore what didn't need changing in the first place.

Angel_Tech
Angel_Tech

Greenshot provides many features (highlight, blur, mark, text, etc), especially when you're doing multiple screenshots at a time.. I've been using it for years now and the best of all, it's freeware! Cheers :)

Steve__Jobs
Steve__Jobs

Windows key + s allows you to select any region. You do not need to be a OneNote user. You can set the default to clipboard only.

lehnerus2000
lehnerus2000

In W8, that key combo automatically saves screenshots to the Pictures Library. In W7 it does nothing (it's the same as pressing "prtscrn" by itself). You have to open Paint (or similar) and paste the screenshot into it.

Green Cap
Green Cap

@Purple Boot Thank you Purple Boot. The 3 key (Fn + Windows Log + PrtSc) combination is the only one that works on my Advent laptop.

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