Take a Screenshot on a PC
Edited by Sean, Eng, Inukshuk
There are many situations in which you may want to take a screenshot of whatever you are doing. Normally the word screenshot is associated with gaming, but in this case screenshot is referring to taking a picture or image of whatever you are doing at that given time, whether it is browsing the web, using a program, playing a game, watching a video or anything. Some programs and games have built-in tools to allow for this, while many other times you will have to use third-party programs or Windows' (or Mac's) print screen function. It is easy to do and this guide will give you the know-how to save an image of anything you want whenever you want to do it.
Take a Screenshot of Anything
Before jumping into the programs you can use to save screenshots, first we have to look at some basics as to how to do it on a Windows or Mac computer.
- 1Open up whatever program or selection that you want take a screenshot ofAdvertisement
- 2Get your cursor out of the way and anything else on your screenAdvertisement
- 3Press the Print Screen button on your Keyboard (usually on the top right of a keyboard)
- 1Open up whatever program or selection that you want take a screenshot of
- 2Isolate that selection and move everything else out of the way by turning it off or hiding
- 3Now you have three different options and all three save the file to your desktop:
- 4Press Command + Shift + 3 at the same time and it will save a screenshot of everything you can currently see
- 5Press Command + Shift + 4 at the same time and it will bring up a selection box so you can outline exactly what you want to take a screenshot of
- 6Press Command + Shift + 4 and then Space bar, and then click a window; this will take a screenshot of only a specific window you have open
Now that you know the the main ways to take a screenshot of whatever you see on your computer we can now move on to programs that support this function and how to use those programs to modify and save that image.
Most of these programs are PC based, not Mac, but this not a list of the only programs that will work with the Print Screen function, instead this is just a few to use as examples to show what you can do with it. In fact, it is far more likely for any program to support the print screen function than to not allow it.
If for some reason you wanted to put a screenshot of whatever you are doing into Microsoft Word then you may, it does support Print Screen. To do so, simply do:
- 1Follow the previous instructions for taking a screenshot on either a Mac or Windows
With Google Documents it functions nearly identically to Microsoft Word. They are both the same types of programs with the same focus, and they both allow you to paste in a screenshot using the Print Screen function. To do so follow the instructions previously listed for posting a screenshot into a Microsoft Word document. Here is an example of what a screenshot (of my desktop in this case) would look like in a Google Document:
Like Microsoft Word, you can't do much editing to the actual image using Google Documents, but you can resize it and do so small changes.
Window's Paint program is about as basic as you can get when it comes to being able to edit a screenshot you've taken, but the program is free, on every copy of Windows and it is very easy to work with. To drop a screenshot into Paint it is very similar to the other instructions, but here they are step by step:
- 1Open up your Windows Start Menu
- 2Search for Paint or locate it in the program list
- 3Run Paint
- 4A new and blank document will open and at this point you should have already followed the instructions for using Print Screen to take a screenshot of something
- 5Press Control + V at the same time to paste your screenshot into this blank document
- 6You should now see your image taking up most of the document
- 7You can now grab the sides of the image to scale it down, or use the Crop tool (located next to the Select tool on the top or you can press Control + Shift + X) to select a specific part of the image that you want to save
Paint is very basic and there isn't a lot more you can do, but cropping is one of the main things it offers compared to pasting the screenshot into some random program, like Google Documents, Notepad or Microsoft Word.
Gimp and Adobe Photoshop
These programs generally follow the same instructions as the previously described programs. Basically, you use the Print Screen function to take you screenshot and then paste it into these programs with Control + V. If you want to use a program that provides a wide variety of editing and image manipulation tools then you have a large number of options, but here are two well known and great options:
- Gimp: This is one the many lesser versions of Adobe Photoshop that is the exact same type of tool that provides many options for editing or changing images, but unlike Photoshop it is free without any restrictions and decently user friendly. Using Gimp only requires some exploration of the tools and options, not any guides like many require to know how to effectively use Adobe Photoshop.
- Adobe Photoshop: Most image editing software and programs are either direct competitors of Adobe Photoshop, have a different focus or are imitating it to varying degrees of success. It has been around a long time and it is one of the first tools to make people realize that editing images can be done without a great deal of effort and done in a way that makes it hard for most people to notice if the image is edited at all. It offers a huge suite of tools and options for editing and manipulating images, but it isn't free and it isn't very user friendly. However, it's still one of the best tools out there.
Using the Print Screen function to take screenshots of things is easy, but if you are a gamer you may have noticed that it doesn't work in some games, or even some programs. In that case you will want to turn to built-in screenshot utility tools, which many games have, or something like Fraps, Bandicam, Open Broadcaster Software or a variety of other programs. Technically those types of programs are for recording videos of games, or anything depending on what the program allows, but they do all have easy tools for taking individual screenshots and unlike the Print Screen function you can take more than one screenshot at a time. For more on all of those programs take a look at the VisiHow guide on Creating a Video on Youtube on PC, which has a wealth of information on each of those previously mentioned programs.
Get out there and start taking screenshots of anything you heart desires! As always, if you have any questions then feel free to ask!