How Do I Do a Print Screen in Windows?

By Gabriele Sturmer

Most keyboards have a special key that lets you take a screen shot of your entire computer screen or an active program's window. When you press the key, Windows stores the screen capture in its clipboard so that you can paste it in documents or save it in an image editing application. You can use Windows Paint to save your screen captures as an image file.

Step 1

Press "Print Screen" to make a screen shot of the whole desktop. This key is usually on the top row of a standard keyboard, to the right of the "F12" key. It may be labeled "Prt Scrn" or similar instead.

Step 2

Click the window you want to capture if you wish to capture the active window instead of the entire screen. Press the "Print Screen" and "Alt" keys at the same time to capture the window.

Step 3

Click "Start," type "Paint" in the search box and press "Enter." Click "Paste" on the program's ribbon in the "Clipboard" section to paste the screen shot. Click "File" and select "Save" to save the screen shot. Type a name for the image, and then click "Save" to save the file.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you use a laptop, you may need to use a different key combination such as "Fn" and "Insert" to capture the screen. Consult your computer manufacturer's manual or website to find out any alternate key combination for your computer.