Taking Screenshots

When taking a screenshot Mac and PC users have different options. Learn how to take a screenshot on a Mac and screenshot on PC computers.

Taking screenshots

Screenshot of Mac OS XTaking a screenshot in Mac OS X

There may be times when you want to explain or show something that's happening on your computer screen or mobile device. Knowing how to take a screenshot—or a picture of the screen—can be handy in a variety of ways, like:

Screenshots are captured by using keyboard shortcuts or a screenshot application. There are a few screenshot options available, depending on how much of the screen you want to capture. You can choose to take a screenshot of the entire screen, the active window, or part of the screen. In this lesson, we'll share how to take screenshots for Windows and Mac OS X computers, as well as for mobile devices.

If you need to review how to perform shortcuts with your keyboard, go to our Keyboard Shortcuts lesson.

Taking screenshots in Windows

When taking a screenshot in Windows, you'll use the Print Scrn key in your keyboard shortcuts. The image will copy to the clipboard. It's important to note that only one image at a time can be copied to the clipboard.

Screenshot of PC KeyboardThe Print Scrn key

Once you've taken a screenshot, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+V to paste it into applications like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Paint, and Photoshop. You can then edit and save the image.

Taking screenshots in Mac OS X

When taking screenshots in Mac OS X, these keyboard shortcuts will automatically save the picture to your desktop as an image file.

Screenshot apps

Screenshot of SnagitSnagit

An alternative to using keyboard shortcuts is to use a built-in screenshot app, such as the Snipping Tool (included with many versions of Windows) or Grab (included in all versions of Mac OS X). If you'd like additional options like the ability to edit your images or add callouts, you can download an app like Jing, Snagit, or Skitch. Snagit and Skitch also feature a time delay setting for capturing an action, like opening a menu.

If you're interested in creating screen recordings (screencasts), you can download one of these apps: Jing, ActivePresenter (Windows), or Screeny (Mac OS X).

Taking screenshots on mobile devices