How to Copy & Paste a Screen Shot in Windows

By Maxwell Payne

Taking a screen shot image of your current Windows desktop or a currently open program has multiple uses. If you want to highlight a portion of the screen or program to show a step in a computer user guide or send a screen shot to help someone troubleshoot an error, the "print screen" option is useful. You can choose to copy and paste the entire current screen or just one active window on the desktop.

Entire Screen

Step 1

Locate the "Print Screen" key on your keyboard located on the upper right of the keyboard. On some keyboards it may be labeled as "Prt Sc."

Step 2

Press the "Print Screen" key once to copy the current screen. Open a new email document or word processor document.

Step 3

Right-click inside the new document or email body and select "Paste." You can also click once inside the document or email, then hold down "Ctrl" and "V" at the same time to paste the screen image.

Active Window

Step 1

Bring up the current window or program screen you want to copy. For example, if you want to copy a screen shot of a program error message or a photo, close or minimize all other windows except the one you want to copy.

Step 2

Press the "Alt" and "Print Screen" keys at the same time.

Step 3

Open a new word processor document or email message and click once inside the body of the document or message. Right-click and select "Paste" or press the "Ctrl" and "V" keys at the same time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hold down the mouse pointer on the top edge of the window you want to copy and paste and, while holding down on the right mouse button, drag the window to the center of the screen. This will ensure the entire window is visible in the screen shot.