How to use the print screen key in Microsoft Windows operating systems

Summary: Find information on how to use the print screen key in Microsoft Windows operating systems including Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Vista and XP

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Symptoms

This article provides information about how to do a Print Screen request and use the Print Screen key to give you an easy, useful way to capture a snapshot of images, pages or windows on your computer screen.


Table of Contents :

  1. How to Use the Print Screen Key
  2. Using the Print Screen Key in Windows XP and Windows Vista
  3. Using the Print Screen Key in Windows 7
  4. Using the Print Screen Key in Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8

How to Use the Print Screen Key

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

You can then paste the screenshot into a document, email message, file or image editor (Paint, for example), or 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.
 

Note: The Print Screen key is usually located in the upper right-hand corner of the keyboard. Some keyboard models label the Print Screen key differently, such as PrintScreen, PrntScrn, PrntScrPrtScn, PrtScrPrtSc 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.
 

The Print Screen function operates slightly differently in each Windows operating system. First, identify which Windows operating system is on your computer, and then choose the correct option below:  

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Cause

Using the Print Screen Key in Windows XP and Windows Vista

  • To capture the entire screen:
    Press the PrntScrn key.
  • To capture an active window:
    Press the Alt + PrntScrn keys together.

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Using the Print Screen Key in Windows 7

  • To capture the entire screen:
    Press the PrntScrn key.
  • To capture an active window:
    Press the Alt + PrntScrn keys together.

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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:
    Tap or click on the window you want to capture.
    Press the Alt + PrntScrn keys together.

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Resolution

Once you have captured the desired screen or window using the Print Screen key, you must 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, refer to the Snipping Tool in Windows.

Article Properties


Affected Product

Operating Systems

Last Published Date

05 Oct 2021

Version

6

Article Type

Solution

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