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Easy Way To Take A Screen Shot With Windows

Updated on April 23, 2014
Easy way to take a screen shot on your computer.
Easy way to take a screen shot on your computer. | Source

Being able to take a screen shot using your computer is a useful skill to develop whether you are a casual computer user or someone who uses it for work.

A screen shot is a picture you take of what is currently on your computer screen. It will not be interactive for the person who receives the picture but, rather, will allow them to look at it the way they would any other photograph.

There are several ways to take screen shots but sometimes for beginners or for people not super comfortable with computers, an easy to follow and understand way is best.

If you have Microsoft Office installed on your computer, this is a quick and easy way to take a screen shot, edit it and even paste it into a Word Document.

*Note, click on any of the pictures below to make it bigger and easier to see.

Step One: Find the Screen Shot

Decide what you want to take a screen shot (picture) of on your computer and make sure that it is displayed on your screen.

You may want to close all extra documents you have open and any extra tabs on your web browser.

Step Two: Locate the Print Screen Button On Your Keyboard

Depending on the layout of your computer, your print screen button may be at the top or at the side. It will not be on the main keyboard typing area.

The button will either say

  • Print Screen
  • Prt Sc

It also may have more words under it like: "sysrq."

Here are examples of a Print Screen Button on a regular keyboard.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Example of Print Screen Button.Another Print Screen Button
Example of Print Screen Button.
Example of Print Screen Button. | Source
Another Print Screen Button
Another Print Screen Button | Source

Step Three: Hold Down the Control Button

Locate the Control or CTRL button on your computer.

While holding this down, press the Print Screen Button. This will take a picture of whatever is on your computer screen. But you are not done yet. You need to find somewhere to place the picture so you can edit it.

Find the control key on your keyboard.  You will need this to make a screen shot.
Find the control key on your keyboard. You will need this to make a screen shot. | Source

Step Four: Open Paint

In your computer programs you should have a program called Paint. It is standard with most Windows computers.

Go ahead and open up this program.

Open Your Paint Program
Open Your Paint Program | Source

Step Five: Paste Your Screen Shot Into Paint

The easiest way to paste your screen shot into Paint is to hold down the Control Button (the same one you used earlier) and then press the letter "V" on your keyboard.

Once you do this, you should see your screen shot appear in the Paint program.

Note: Make sure your Paint is open and ready before pressing the Ctrl V command.

You can also use the paste command which should be located right under File on your open Paint window.

Here is an example of a screen shot that is open in MS Paint
Here is an example of a screen shot that is open in MS Paint | Source

Step Six: Save Your Screen Shot

Even if you are planning on editing your screen shot, you will want to save it, just in case.

To do this choose the File/Save As/JPEG

A JPEG image is a higher quality image and it is also, usually, easily opened by other people.

It is best to save a screen shot before you start working with it.
It is best to save a screen shot before you start working with it. | Source

Step Seven: Edit or Crop Your Screen Shot

You will likely want to edit your screen shot to just focus on the most interesting part or the part you want to save.

This is fairly easy to do in Paint.

In the images below you will notice that I have edited a screen shot to just show one portion.

  1. Choose Select (the Rectangular form keeps it looking neat)
  2. Then drag your mouse around the image to make a dotted line box. Choose only the parts you want to keep.
  3. Choose Crop from the menu.
  4. The image that was in the dotted line box will now be the only portion of the screen shot you see.
  5. If you have made a mistake, choose the back arrow to undo your crop and then try again.

See the screen shots below for a step-by-step guide.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Find SelectSelect the portion you want to cropChoose CropRemember that you can always undo it if you don't like what you cropped.
Find Select
Find Select | Source
Select the portion you want to crop
Select the portion you want to crop | Source
Choose Crop
Choose Crop | Source
Remember that you can always undo it if you don't like what you cropped.
Remember that you can always undo it if you don't like what you cropped. | Source

Step Eight: Save Your Cropped Screen Shot

You will want to save your cropped screen shot in a place that you can find it.

  • Choose the Save As and the JPEG option as you did before.
  • You will then be taken to a box that gives you options of places to save your file. You can save it anywhere that you feel comfortable and that you know how to access.
  • If you have trouble navigating your computer, you can save it on the Desktop which will make it easy to find.

You can also name the file something that lets you know what it is and that will help you find it when you need it.

Save your cropped screenshot somewhere that you can find it.
Save your cropped screenshot somewhere that you can find it. | Source

How To Paste A Screen Shot On a Word Document

If you would like to bring the image into a Microsoft Word document, you can do that pretty easily from Paint.

  1. After you have cropped the image, choose Select/Select All OR hold down the control button and press the letter "a" at the same time.
  2. Open Microsoft Word from your computer programs and open a new, blank document.
  3. Choose paste OR hold down the control button while pressing the letter "v" at the same time.
  4. Your image will now appear in your Word document. You can type under it or just save it as you would any other document.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Choose select all by picking it from the select menu or by pressing Control AYou should see dotted lines all around your image.Choose copy from the menu or by selecting Control C.Open Microsoft WordPaste your image into the document by either choosing the paste option from the menu or holding down the control button and pressing "V."
Choose select all by picking it from the select menu or by pressing Control A
Choose select all by picking it from the select menu or by pressing Control A | Source
You should see dotted lines all around your image.
You should see dotted lines all around your image. | Source
Choose copy from the menu or by selecting Control C.
Choose copy from the menu or by selecting Control C. | Source
Open Microsoft Word
Open Microsoft Word | Source
Paste your image into the document by either choosing the paste option from the menu or holding down the control button and pressing "V."
Paste your image into the document by either choosing the paste option from the menu or holding down the control button and pressing "V." | Source

How To Add Circles, Arrows and Other Symbols To Your Screen Shot

If you would like to add circles or arrows (as I have done throughout this presentation) to emphasize aspects of your screen shot, you only need to follow these simple steps.

  • For a circle:

1. Have your screen shot open in Paint.

2. Choose the circle shape from the box of shapes at the top.

3. Choose "Solid Color" for the Outline drop down box next to the shapes.

4. Choose "No Fill" for the Fill drop down box.

5. Choose the color for your circle by clicking on Color 1 and then the color you want.

6. Click your mouse on your screen shot and click and drag to create a clear circle.

  • For an arrow:

1. Use the steps 1-3 for creating a circle except choose the arrow shape instead (note that there is one for each direction).

2. In the drop down box choose "Fill."

3. Choose your Colors for the outline and the fill. Color 1 will be your outline and Color 2 will be your fil.

4. Drag your mouse on the screen shot and an arrow will appear. You can adjust the size and the placement.

These are very helpful if you are trying to help someone visualize an issue, to give instructions or to call attention to one part of the screenshot.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Select the circle shape.Choose Solid Color from the outline menu.Make sure you choose No Fill is you want to circle something that everyone can see.Choose the color of your circle in Color 1.Use the same steps to create an arrow except you may want to add Fill.  If you add Fill then choose a second color for the fill.
Select the circle shape.
Select the circle shape. | Source
Choose Solid Color from the outline menu.
Choose Solid Color from the outline menu. | Source
Make sure you choose No Fill is you want to circle something that everyone can see.
Make sure you choose No Fill is you want to circle something that everyone can see. | Source
Choose the color of your circle in Color 1.
Choose the color of your circle in Color 1. | Source
Use the same steps to create an arrow except you may want to add Fill.  If you add Fill then choose a second color for the fill.
Use the same steps to create an arrow except you may want to add Fill. If you add Fill then choose a second color for the fill. | Source

Reasons You May Need to Take A Screenshot

There are many reasons that being able to take a screenshot can be valuable.

Sometimes you might need to do this for work or for school in order to show some type of information, homework or data.

Other times it is useful if you are having a computer issue or getting an error message and you are not sure what you need to do.

By taking a screen shot, you can send a picture of the issue to technical support or to a friend or family member that might be able to pinpoint the problem and help you find a solution.

There are other ways to take and save a screen shot and as you get better with a computer, you may find shortcuts.

This is a simple and easy way to do it with programs that most computer users have readily available.

What is the main reason you take screen shots?

See results

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    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 2 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Good post. Informative and helpful too. These tips will definitely help. Your language is easy and easy to follow. This types of posts are really a welcome change. Keep on writing. All the best. Voted up and shared.

    • Muh Iqbal profile image

      Muhammad Iqbal 3 years ago from Indonesia

      I want to try. This great tuts. Thanks

    • ChaseK8 profile image

      Katherine D 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Great post! Very informative and easy to follow.

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 3 years ago from Florida

      moronkee: It's likely the device itself. A lot of computer webcams are not that great. Maybe try taking it from somewhere else and uploading it to your computer. You can always try some photo shop but it might be best to try a different device for pictures.

      bravewarrior: :-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      You helped this one. Your tutorials took me a bit farther out of my techo-igno stance. :-)

    • moronkee profile image

      Moronke Oluwatoyin 3 years ago

      Your tutorial on this topic is easy to understand and practise.

      Thanks and I appreciate your writing the article.

      I have a question, When I take my personal pictures on webcam, it looks horrible. I ususlly look like a 90 year old. How can I perfect it or make it look photogenic?

      Thanks again.

      I tweeted your article.

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 3 years ago from Florida

      Aw! Thanks so much. Hope it can help some of my fellow writers.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      You're the bomb! I'm sharing this and I shared your hub about adding text to images also.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      You're awesome! Thank you.

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 3 years ago from Florida

      I have added a section about adding circles and arrows to your screen shots. Hope that helps and thanks for the suggestion!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Thanx. I'll bookmark this page after you've made the addition. I appreciate you answering my questions.

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 3 years ago from Florida

      bravewarrior, that's a good question. I will add a section about adding circles and arrows to my article. Basically, if you look at the top menu there are are shapes including arrows and circles. Once you choose those you click on the screenshot and drag your mouse to make the shape. (I'll add a visual guide of this today).

      Depending on the quality of the image, you choose the "resize" button at the top of Paint and make it bigger in order for it to be easier to read.

      I've found that with adding it to Hubpages I sometimes have to keep cropping and messing with it to get it big enough so try different sizes and crops.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      LCD, I'm finding screen shots in blogs a lot lately, so I've learned how to do it. However, I'm not sure how to make the JPEG large enough to be placed between paragraphs (so you get a clear view). How do you do that? Also, how do you add circles and arrows to the screen shot?

    • LCDWriter profile image
      Author

      L C David 3 years ago from Florida

      It's really amazing what you can do with screen shots once you realize that you have the capability on your computer. Once you try it a few times I'm sure you'll be able to do it quite easily and quickly. Thanks for stopping by.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      LCDWriter,

      This was very interesting since I have never used the print screen button before (or even taken screen shots). What I read today may be very useful at times and I will probably reread this (or bookmark it) until I have the directions correct.

      Kevin