How to Print Screen on a Laptop

By Liz Turner

To many Windows laptop users, the Print Screen key seems to be useless. Sitting on the upper right side of the keyboard, it doesn't do anything when you press it. Or does it? While it doesn't cause the screen to print directly to the printer--the name is a carryover from DOS systems, in which it did just that--it does enable you to print the image on your screen.

Things You'll Need

  • "Paint" program

Step 1

If you want to print everything you see on your laptop's monitor, press Print Screen. If you want to print only the active window, press Alt + Print Screen.

Step 2

Open the Paint program on your laptop. Paint can be found by pressing "Start>All Programs>Accessories>Paint." It is a standard program included with most Windows systems.

Step 3

Open a new file in Paint by going to "File>New." Press Edit>Paste or Ctrl + V. The image you captured from your monitor will appear in Paint.

Step 4

Save the file by going to "File>Save As." In Windows XP and later, the file can be saved as a BMP, JPEG, GIF, TIFF or PNG.

Step 5

Print the document by going to "File>Print." Make sure the correct printer is selected in the dialog box and press "Print."

Tips & Warnings

  • Other photo-editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop, can be used in place of Paint if available.The image can also be pasted into Microsoft Word. In that case, the file can only be saved in Word's available formats.
  • This process applies only to Windows laptops. Mac laptops use different methods for printing the screen.