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How to Take a Screenshot On Your PC

The taking of screenshots on big monitors is now a decades-old proposition, and still a little complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing.
 
Windows
The absolute simplest way to take a screenshot in Windows is to use the PrtScn (PrintScreen) button. You’ll find it on the upper right side of most keyboards. Click it once and…it’ll seem like nothing happened. But Windows just copied an image of your entire screen to the clipboard. You can then hit Ctrl-V to paste it into a program, be it a Word document or an image-editing program.
 
The problem with PrtScn is, it’s not discerning—it gets everything visible on your monitor or monitors (if you’ve got a multi-monitor setup, it’ll grab all the displays as if they’re one big screen).
 
To narrow things down, open a window, make it the focus of attention, and then tap Alt-PrtScn. That also appears to do nothing, but it’s in fact taking a screen grab of just that window and copied it to the clipboard.
 
One more built-in helper is the Snipping Tool. It’s been around since the days of Windows Vista, so you may have to search to find it (a breeze to do in Windows 10). Once launched, it provides a tiny window with menus that make it easy to capture multiple types of screenshots. Grab just the area you want (in a rectangle or draw free-form; the latter is shown above), a select window, or the whole screen. Snipping Tool shows you the captured image instantly so you can choose what to do with it: save it, copy it, email it, annotate it, or highlight sections of it. It’s an old workhorse program, though, and not up-to-date enough to offer sharing via social networks.
 
Windows has a spectacular array of great screen-capture utilities available. Top of the line is Snagit—it costs a whopping $50. Of course, it’ll do it everything you can imagine, even take video of what’s happening on your screen (that’s called a “screencast”).
 
You can find plenty of screenshot apps for free, though. Jing, by the makers of Snagit, also does screencast videos and makes sharing what you capture easy. LightShot is a nifty and small utility that takes over the PrtScrn key and makes it easy to capture and share. Both are also available for Mac.

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