6 Ways To Take Screenshots in Windows 8.1 & 10, Using Built-in Tools

Some of our readers asked us to talk about all the Windows tools you can use to take quick screenshots of your screen. We've done a bit of testing and experimentation and we've found six different ways for taking all kinds of screenshots, without using third-party programs. Here's how to take screenshots in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10:

1. Use The Keyboard Shortcut - PrtScn (Print Screen)

The first method is also the best known. It works in all versions of Windows, including Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

On your keyboard, press the PrtScn (Print Screen) key. This creates a screenshot of the whole screen and saves it to the clipboard. The screenshot is not stored as a file on your hard drive.

screenshots, Paint, Snipping Tool, Windows 8.1, Windows 10

Then, open an image editing program like Paint and paste the image from the clipboard. Then, you can save it as a file and even do some basic editing.

2. Use The Keyboard Shortcut - Windows + PrtScn

If you want to take a screenshot of the whole screen and save it as a file on the hard drive, without using any other tools, then press Windows + PrtScn on your keyboard. Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 will store the screenshot in the Pictures library, under Screenshots.

screenshots, Windows 10

You can also will find your screenshots if you use the Pictures app, by going to Pictures -> Screenshots.

screenshots, pictures, Windows 10

3. Use The Keyboard Shortcut - Alt + PrtScn

In Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, you can also take screenshots of the active window. Open the window you want to capture and press Alt + PrtScn on your keyboard.

The screenshot is saved to the clipboard.

screenshots, Paint, Snipping Tool, Windows 8.1, Windows 10

Open Paint or any other photo editing software and paste the image so that you can edit and save it to your Windows device.

4. Use The Snipping Tool

The Snipping Tool is a great desktop app for taking screenshots. It can create all kinds of screenshots and do some light editing.

screenshot, Print Screen, Snipping Tool, Windows 10

To learn how to use it, please read this tutorial: Take Screenshots with the Snipping Tool in Windows.

5. Taking Screenshots On A Surface/Windows Tablet

If you have a Windows tablet, like a Microsoft Surface or an ASUS Vivotab or a Dell Venue, then you won't have a keyboard with a PrtScn key available. Yes, you can use the Snipping Tool but that's not great on a device with touch.

The only solution is to use the hardware buttons available on your tablet. On most (if not all) Windows tablets, you can take full-screen screenshots by pressing the Windows logo and the Volume Down key at the same time.

screenshot, Print Screen, Snipping Tool, Windows 10

You will see the screen getting darker when you do this. This is good, as it signals that a screenshot was made. You will find it in your Pictures library, in the Screenshots folder.

6. Taking Screenshots With The Share Charm (Windows 8.1 Only)

Windows 8.1 has improved the Charms concept from Windows 8 and they can also be used to take and share screenshots.

screenshot, Print Screen, Snipping Tool, Windows 10

If you would like to learn more about the Charms, read this guide: What are the Charms & How to Use them.

To learn how to take screenshots using the charms, read this detailed step by step guide: How to Share Screenshots from Any App.


As you can see, there are several ways to take screenshots in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. Unless you have complex needs, you can use the built-in tools and features, without having to install third-party programs.

About the Author: Codrut Neagu
Codrut is a Senior Editor on Digital Citizen. He has studies in IT, telecom and law. He's passionate about technology and he is fluent in working with several operating systems, including Windows and Linux. He likes to test security products and he feels like at home when digging through the registry, optimizing things or having fun on Telnet.