How to Capture a Still Image From a Video

Both the Windows Snipping Tool and Windows Movie Maker let you capture a single frame from a movie and save it as an image file to, for example, illustrate a blog post, article or presentation.

Snipping Tool

Snipping Tool is an application built into both Windows 8 and 7 for taking screenshots. Unlike the Print Screen key, the Snipping Tool can create a screenshot of a specific area of the screen instead of its entirety.

Step

Open the video file in your favorite video player and use the slider and Play/Pause buttons to select the frame you want to save.

Video player with a paused movie.
Windows Media Player
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft
Snipping Tool with New button highlighted.
After selecting New, a semi-transparent white overlay appears over your screen.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Launch the Snipping Tool by opening the Start Screen or Start Menu, typing Snipping in the search field and selecting Snipping Tool from the list of results. Click the arrow next to New and select Rectangular Snip. Finally, click New.

Snipping Tool with Save Snip icon highlighted.
Snipping Tool can export screenshots only as PNG files.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Use the cursor to select the area that contains the video frame. Click the Save Snip icon to save the image to your hard drive.

Windows Movie Maker

Windows Movie Maker is a free movie editing application for Windows 7 or 8. To install Windows Movie Maker, download Windows Essentials 2012 which is a free suite of Windows applications.

Step

Launch Windows Movie Maker and click the Add Photos & Videos icon in the Home tab. Load a video file by selecting it in File Explorer and clicking Open. Use the slider to select the frame you want to capture.

Preview pane in Windows Movie Maker with the slider highlighted.
Windows Movie Maker
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft
Snapshot button in the Home tab of Windows Movie Maker
Windows Movie Maker
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Click the Snapshot button in the Home tab to save the selected frame as a PNG image file on your hard drive.