How to Take a Screenshot on a PC in 2018

If you’ve been a Windows PC user for any length of time, chances are you’ve had to take a screenshot. The simplest (and one of the oldest) methods is to hit the Print Screen (PrtScn) button next to the F12 key, open your preferred photo editor, and paste the screenshot in using Ctrl-V. But it’s not the only method, and not even the most useful, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.

Advanced Print Screen Features
First, you can use the Alt key to take a screenshot of the foreground application, even when multiple applications are open at the same time. The first image below shows my desktop with four different application windows open.

Alternatively, you can use the PrtScn key and the Windows key together to take a screenshot of your active desktop and save that image to the Pictures\Screenshots directory, as shown below. If you choose this method, images will be automatically numbered as Screenshot(1).png, Screenshot(2).png, etc. Be advised that automatically saving images as PNG files can result in a very large screenshot folder if you don’t convert them to other file formats (depending, of course, on what you screenshot). Also, keep in mind that Microsoft doesn’t stop numbering your screenshots higher, even if you delete some of them. If Screenshot(13).png is your highest number, and you delete that file, the next screenshot created will be Screenshot(14).png, not Screenshot(13).png.

If you don’t have a dedicated PrtScn key on a tablet or laptop, you can typically use the function key (Fn) to activate these capabilities in the same way. In this case, the PrtScn key label will be written under another capability on the same key. So instead of hitting PrtScn, you hit Fn+PrtScn to take a screenshot, Fn+Alt+PrtScn to take a screenshot of one specific window, etc.

Those of you with Microsoft Surface Touch Covers or Type Covers have two alternate methods available. Fn+Spacebar will take a generic screenshot, while Fn+Alt+Spacebar takes a screenshot of a specific window. The Windows Logo + Volume Down button will take a Surface screenshot in tablet mode.

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