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How to Use the Print Screen Key to Take a Screenshot in Microsoft Windows

Summary: Find information about how to use the print screen key in Microsoft Windows to take a screenshot in Windows 11, Windows 10, and Windows 8/8.1.

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Capturing a snapshot of your computer screen is called a screenshot or screen capture. Once captured, the screenshot is automatically copied to your computer clipboard.

You can then paste the screenshot into a document, email message, file, or image editor (Paint, for example). Alternately, you can save the screenshot as a file, and then insert it as a picture into a document, email message, another file, or image editor.


The Print Screen key is typically located in the upper right corner of the keyboard. Some keyboard models label the Print Screen key differently, such as PrintScreen, PrntScrn, PrntScr, PrtScn, PrtScr, PrtSc, or a similar abbreviation. In this article, we use the PrntScrn abbreviation to represent any key label variations.

Other keyboards may not have a separate Print Screen key. In this case, you can perform the Print Screen function by pressing and holding down the Fn + Insert keys together.

Illustration of the print screen key on Dell KM5221W wireless keyboard
Figure 1: Illustration of the print screen key on Dell KM5221W wireless keyboard.

Illustration of the print screen key on Dell Precision 5550 mobile workstation keyboard
Figure 2: Illustration of the print screen key on Dell Precision 5550 mobile workstation keyboard.

The Print Screen function operates slightly differently in each Windows operating system.

Using the Print Screen Key in Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 8

To capture the entire screen:

  • Press the Windows logo key + PrntScrn key together.
    On tablets, press the Windows logo button + the volume down button together. (The screenshot is saved in the Screenshots folder in the Pictures folder.)

To capture all active windows:

  • Press the PrntScrn key.

To capture a single active window:

  • Select the window that you want to capture and press the Alt + PrntScrn keys together.

Once you have captured the wanted screen or window using the Print Screen key, you must take additional steps. Paste the captured image into an image editor such as Microsoft Paint or Photoshop to edit or save it. Open the appropriate application and use the Ctrl + V key combination to paste the image into a new image document.

For more complex screen captures, see the Snipping Tool in Windows. This hyperlink is taking you to a website outside of Dell Technologies.

Article Properties

Affected Product

Alienware, Inspiron, Legacy Desktop Models, OptiPlex, Vostro, XPS, G Series, G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Legacy Laptop Models, Fixed Workstations, Mobile Workstations

Last Published Date

16 Apr 2024



Article Type

How To