How to take a screenshot

How to take a screenshot

Sooner or later you will feel the need to take a screenshot. In this article we tell you how to take a screenshot on your Windows PC and on your Mac. We also explain how to take a screenshot on your Android smartphone and tablet, on your iPhone and on your iPad.

In addition to the step by step instructions, at the end of this article we give you a cheatsheet to allow you to remember at a glance how to take a screenshot.

Taking a screenshot will be very useful if you want to take notes of something that you have found on the Internet or for your notes about how to use an application. If you have software in your computer, smartphone or tablet which does not work properly and it shows an error message, you can take a screenshot to send it to the technical support, to a friend or to a co-worker that could help you.

If what you want is to capture a still from a video, then you can get a picture from a video directly.

In this article we explain:

How to take a screenshot on Windows

To take a screenshot on Windows pay attention to your keyboard and locate a key labeled as "PrtSc" or "Prt Scr" (which stands for Print Screen). The exact location of this key will depend on your keyboard, but it is usual to find it at the upper right corner.

Hot key to take a screenshot in Windows

How to take a screenshot of the entire screen in Windows

In order to take a screenshot:

  1. Press the "PrtSc" (or "Prt Scr") key.
  2. Now you will have the captured image in the clipboard.
  3. Launch Paint (click on Start and search for "Paint").
  4. In “Edit” menu, click on “Paste”. Or just press Ctrl+V (remember that Ctrl+V is the keyboard shortcut for pasting the contents from the clipboard).
  5. In the “File” menu, click on “Save”.
  6. Enter the filename that you want. In “Type”, choose .png or .jpg.
How to take a screenshot of the entire screen in windows

How to take a screenshot of a specific window in Windows

If instead of taking a screenshot of the entire screen you are interested in just the contents of a specific window, you can capture that window only:

  1. Click on the window title bar to make it become the active window.
  2. Press “alt” key and, without releasing it, press “PrtSc” key (or “Prt Scr”).
  3. Now you will have an image with the contents of that window in the clipboard.
  4. Launch Paint (click on Start and search for "Paint").
  5. In the “Edit” menu, click on “Paste”. Or just press Ctrl+V (remember that Ctrl+V is the keyboard shortcut for pasting the contents from the clipboard).
  6. In the “File” menu, click on “Save”.
  7. Enter the filename that you want. In “Type”, choose .png or .jpg.
How to take a screenshot of a specific window in Windows

How to crop the captured image in Windows

Whether you have captured the entire screen or a specific window only, you may end up needing only a part of the captured image. You can crop it with Paint:

  1. Launch Paint.
  2. In “File” menu, click on “Open”. Open the image that you had captured.
  3. On the toolbar, click on “Select”.
  4. Over the image, click and drag to select the rectangular area that you want to keep.
  5. Now click on “Crop”.
  6. Save the cropped image by clicking “Save” in “File” menu.
How to crop the captured image in Windows

If you are using an old PC running on Windows XP, then your Paint version will be very basic. To crop an image proceed as follows:

  1. Launch Paint (Start → All Programs &arr; Accessories → Paint)
  2. In “File” menu, click on “Open”. Select the image that you had captured.
  3. Click on “Select” tool.
  4. Click on the image and drag to select the are of the image that you want to keep.
  5. In “Edit” menu, click on “Copy”. Now you have the portion of the image that you are interested in in the clipboard.
  6. In “File” menu, click on “New”.
  7. In “Edit” menu, click in “Paste”.
  8. Now click on the bottom right corner of the image and drag to adjust its size by cutting out the surplus blank space.
  9. In “File” menu, click on “Save”.

How to annotate the screenshot in Windows

You can annotate the screenshot with Paint:

  1. Before altering the image, make a copy of it and keep the original screenshot, just in case you need to make additional changes.
  2. Open the copy of the captured image with Paint.
  3. Add rectangles, circles and arrows to highlight parts of the image. Add text to annotate the image.

How to take a screenshot on Mac

If you are one of those who do not like to memorise keyboard shortcuts or if you are going to take screenshots every now and then only, then you can take a screenshot with the Preview application. However, for a frequent use we recommend you to get used to the keyboard shortcuts.

How to take a screenshot of the entire screen on Mac

To take a screenshot of the entire screen quickly:

  1. Pres Cmd + Shift + 3 (hold Cmd and Shift keys pressed and, without releasing them, press 3).
  2. Now you will have the screenshot on the desktop, saved in .png format.
How to take a screenshot of the entire screen on Mac

You can take the screenshot directly to the clipboard too. You may find this handier if, for example, you are writing your notes in a word processor and you want to go on adding screenshots to your document.

To take a screenshot of the entire screen directly to the clipboard:

  1. Press Cmd + Shift + Ctrl + 3 (note that we have added the Ctrl key this time).
  2. Now you have the screenshot in the clipboard.
  3. In that application that you were using (a word processor, an image editor, Google Docs, etc.) paste the image from the clipboard, by clicking “Paste” in the “Edit” menu of the application or just pressing Cmd +V.
How to take a screenshot to the clipboard on Mac

If you do not want to worry about memorising keyboard shortcuts, you can take a screenshot with the Preview application:

  1. Launch the Preview application. To do this:
    1. In the Launchpad start to type “prev...” and you will quickly see that the Preview icon appears. Click on it.
    2. Or you can press Cmd + Space to open Spotlight. Start to type “prev...” and you will quickly see how Preview appears. Press Enter or double click.
  2. In the Preview application, go to the “File → Take Screen Shot” menu and click on “From Entire Screen”.
  3. A timer appears counting down 10 seconds. After those 10 seconds the screenshot will be taken. Remember to switch to the application that you are interested in if you do not want that the Preview menu bar appears on the screenshot. If you change your mind during those 10 seconds, just press the Esc key to cancel.
  4. The captured image will appear as the open image in Preview.
  5. In File menu, click on “Save” to save the image. Give a filename and choose “PNG” or “JPEG” as format.
How to take a screenshot of the entire screen with Preview in Mac

How to take a screenshot of a window in Mac

If you are not interested in capturing the entire screen, you can take a screenshot of a window only.

To take a screenshot of a specific window quickly:

  1. Press Cmd + Shift + 4 (hold Cmd and Shift keys pressed and, without releasing them, press 4). If you want to capture the image directly to the clipboard, then press Ctrl key too, that is, Cmd + Shift + Ctrl + 4.
  2. The mouse pointer will change to a cross with a tiny circle.
  3. Press Space.
  4. The mouse pointer will change to a camera icon.
  5. Move the mouse over the window that you want to capture. You will see how that window turns blue, indicating that it is the one that you are going to capture. Do not worry if there are other windows on top of it, your window will be captured entirely.
  6. Click to capture the window.
  7. Now you have the captured image on the desktop, saved as .png format. If you had pressed Ctrl key too, then the captured image will be in the clipboard instead.
How to take a screenshot of a window in Mac

If you do not want to worry about memorising keyboard shortcuts, then you can take a screenshot of a window with Preview:

  1. Launch the Preview application. To do this:
    1. In Launchpad start to type “prev...” and you will quickly see how the Preview icon appears. Click on it.
    2. Or you can press Cmd + Space to open Spotlight. Start to type “prev...” and you will quickly see “Preview” appearing. Press Enter or double click.
  2. In Preview, go to “File → Take Screen Shot” menu and click on “From Window”.
  3. The mouse pointer will change to a camera icon.
  4. Move the mouse over the window that you want to capture. You will see how that window turns blue, indicating that it is the one that you are going to capture. Do not worry if there are other windows on top of it, your window will be captured entirely.
  5. Click to capture the window.
  6. The captured image will appear as the open image in Preview.
  7. In File menu, click on “Save” to save the image. Give a filename and choose “PNG” or “JPEG” as format.
How to take a screenshot of a window with Preview in Mac

How to take a screenshot of some of the screen in Mac

If you do not want to capture the entire screen nor an entire window, you can take a screenshot of some of the screen.

To take a screenshot of some of the screen quickly:

  1. Press Cmd + Shift + 4 (hold Cmd and Shift keys pressed and, without releasing them, press 4). If you want to capture the image directly to the clipboard, then press Ctrl key too, that is, Cmd + Shift + Ctrl + 4.
  2. The mouse pointer will change to a cross with a tiny circle.
  3. Move the mouse to a corner of the portion of the screen that you want to capture.
  4. Click and drag to draw a rectangle. What is inside the rectangle will be captured.
  5. Once you have selected the area that you are interested in, release the mouse button to take the screenshot.
  6. Now you have the captured image on the desktop, saved in .png format. If you had pressed Ctrl key too, then the captured image will be in the clipboard instead.
How to take a screenshot of some of the screen in Mac

If you do not want to worry about memorising keyboard shortcuts, you can take a screenshot of some of the screen with Preview:

  1. Launch the Preview application. To do this:
    1. In Launchpad start to type “prev...” and you will quickly see how the Preview icon appears. Click on it.
    2. Or you can press Cmd + Space to open Spotlight. Start to type “prev...” and you will quickly see “Preview” appearing. Press Enter or double click.
  2. In Preview, go to “File → Take Screen Shot” menu and click on “From Selection”.
  3. The mouse pointer will change to a cross with a tiny circle.
  4. Move the mouse to a corner of the portion of the screen that you want to capture.
  5. Click and drag to draw a rectangle. What is inside the rectangle will be captured.
  6. Once you have selected the area that you are interested in, release the mouse button to take the screenshot.
  7. The captured image will appear as the open image in Preview.
  8. In File menu, click on “Save” to save the image. Give a filename and choose “PNG” or “JPEG” as format.
How to take a screenshot of some of the screen with Preview in Mac

How to crop the captured image in Mac

If after taking the screenshot you only need a part of the captured image, you can crop it with the Preview application:

  1. Double click on the captured image file to open it with Preview.
  2. Click and drag to select the area of the image that you want to keep.
  3. In “Tools” menu, click on “Crop”.
  4. In “File” menu, click on “Save”.
How to crop the captured image in Mac

How to annotate a screenshot in Mac

With the Preview application you can annotate the captured image easily:

  1. Before altering the image, make a copy of it and keep the original screenshot, just in case you need to make additional changes.
  2. Open the copy of the captured image with Preview. Just double click on the image file.
  3. In Preview application, show the annotation tools. You can do it in two ways:
    1. On the top you will see the toolbar. Click on the “Show annotation tools” icon. The appearance of this icon will vary depending on the OSX version that you have in your Mac.
    2. Or go to the “View” menu and click on “Show annotation tools”.
  4. Now you have an additional toolbar on the top with tools for selecting areas of the image, adding text, adding shapes, lines and arrows.

The most common things to do is to highlight parts of the image, enclosing them with rectangles or circles.

You can also draw by freehand or with lines. You can click on line style to select arrow style so an arrow will be drawn at the end of the line.

How to annotate a screenshot in Mac

If you have a recent OSX version in your Mac, you will have an option to draw a circle with a magnifying effect. This is useful if you want to highlight something that looks very small (an icon, a button, etc.):

  1. Click on the shapes button.
  2. Click on the draw magnifying glass icon.
  3. A circle is drawn magnifying the part of the image which is inside it.
  4. Click on and drag the blue dot to change the circle size.
  5. Click on and drag the green dot to change the level of magnification.
How to annotate a screenshot with a magnifying effect in Mac

Once you have finished the annotations, you can save the modified image.

How to take a screenshot on iPhone and iPad

To take a screenshot on your iPhone or iPad:

  1. Press the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time.
  2. The screen will turn white entirely for a moment and you will hear a sound imitating a camera.
  3. You have the screenshot in the Camara Roll in the Photos app.
How to take a screenshot on iPhone and iPad

How to crop the captured image on iPhone and iPad

If you only need part of the captured image, you can crop it:

  1. Go to the Photos app and open the captured image.
  2. At the top right, tap on “Edit”.
  3. At the bottom you will see the toolbar. Tap on the crop icon.
  4. Now the cropping controls appear. Tap and swipe the corners until you leave only the area of the image that you want.
  5. Tap on “Ok” at the bottom right to save the changes.
How to crop a captured image on iPhone and iPad

How to annotate a screenshot on iPhone and iPad

To annotate a screenshot on your iPhone or iPad, you will need a picture editor app that allows you to draw over the image. Try with the Photo Editor by Aviary for example.

Once you have installed the app:

  1. Before altering the image, make a copy of it and keep the original screenshot, just in case you need to make additional changes.
  2. Open the image with the app.
  3. Draw on the image to highlight parts of it. Add text to do annotations.
How to annotate a screenshot on iPhone and iPad

How to take a screenshot on Android

If you have an Android smartphone or tablet which is not too old (Android 4.0 or above) you can take a screenshot easily. But there may be differences between brands.

  1. The way you activate the screenshot may be different from some device models to others. Try the following three ways until you find the one that works for you:
    1. Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time for 1 or 2 seconds.
    2. If you have a Samsung smartphone or tablet, press and hold Home and Power button at the same time.
    3. If you have a Sony device, or a recent smartphone or tablet, press and hold the Power button for 1 or 2 seconds to open the system menu (with switch off, reboot, and the like options). You may have a “Take screenshot” option in that menu. Tap on it.
  2. You will see some screen animation effect as confirmation that the screenshot was taken.
  3. The screenshot will be saved in your photo gallery.
How to take a screenshot on Android

How to crop a captured image in Android

If you only need part of the captured image, you can crop it (the user interface may vary from one device to another):

  1. Go to the photo gallery.
  2. Tap on the image that you had captured.
  3. Press the menu button.
  4. Tap on the “Crop” option.
  5. A rectangle appears indicating the area that you want to keep. Swipe the corners or the sides of the rectangle to leave selected the portion of the image that you are interested in.
  6. Tap on “Done” to crop the image.
How to crop a captured image in Android

How to annotate a screenshot in Android

To annotate a screenshot in Android, you will need a picture editor app that allows you to draw over the image. Try with the Photo Editor by Aviary for example.

Once you have installed the app:

  1. Before altering the image, make a copy of it and keep the original screenshot, just in case you need to make additional changes.
  2. Open the image with the app
  3. Draw on the image to highlight parts of it. Add text to do annotations.
How to annotate a screenshot in Android

Be careful with what you capture

If you take a screenshot to share it, check that there is no sensitive data on the captured image (passwords, private messages, credit card numbers, etc.).

You can close or hide the corresponding windows and take the screenshot again so the sensitive data does not appear on the image.

If you need to take a screenshot of the application or webpage where the private data appears, then you can edit the captured image to cover the parts that you do not want to be shown.

How to hide parts of the captured image on Windows

  1. Open the captured image with Paint (or you may already be in Paint and you have just pasted the screenshot).
  2. Click on the draw rectangle tool and select the filled rectangle option. Choose the color that you prefer, black for example.
  3. Draw a rectangle on top of the part that you want to hide (a username, a credit card number, a password, etc.). Repeat this with any other parts of the image as necessary.
  4. Save the image.

How to hide parts of the captured image on Mac

  1. Open the captured image with the Preview application. Just double click on the image file.
  2. In the Preview application, click on the “Show annotation tools” icon. The appearance of this icon will be different depending on the OSX version that you have on your Mac.
  3. Now the annotation tools icons appear.
  4. Click on the draw rectangle icon.
  5. Pick up a fill colour so a filled rectangle is drawn instead the border only.
  6. Now click and drag to draw a rectangle on top of the part of the image that you want to hide. Repeat this step with the other parts that you want to hide too.
  7. Once you have finished, save the image.

How to hide parts of then captured image on Android

To hide parts of the captured image on Android, you need a picture editor app that allows you to draw over the image. Try with Photo Editor by Aviary, for example.

Once you have installed the app, open the captured image with it and draw on top of the parts that you want to hide. When you have finished, save the modified image.

How to hide parts of the captured image on iPhone and iPad

To hide parts of the captured image on Android, you need a picture editor app that allows you to draw over the image. Try with Photo Editor by Aviary, for example.

Once you have installed the app, open the captured image with it and draw on top of the parts that you want to hide. When you have finished, save the modified image.

How to take a screenshot cheatsheet

Throughout this article we have explained how to take a screenshot step by step in Windows, in Mac, in Android and in iOS. Now you know how to do it, but if later on you need to refresh your memory, you can check the following cheatsheet quickly:

How to take a screenshot (cheatsheet)

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