There are a number of ways to capture screenshots without any additional software in Windows. You can:

  1. Capture the whole screen (and automatically save it if you have Windows 8)
  2. Capture a part of the screen or a window
  3. Capture a series of screenshots in a document

This guide covers the tools built in to Windows and how to use them.

Capture the Whole Screen or a Single Window

  • To capture the whole screen, press the Print Screen key (often abbreviated i.e. Prt Scrn)
  • To capture a window i.e. your web browser, click the window to bring it into focus and press Alt+Print Screen

The screenshot is copied to the clipboard; you can now paste it (Ctrl+V) into Word, Paint etc. for saving.

  • Windows 8 only: Press the Windows+Print Screen key to capture a screenshot and save it in Libraries\Pictures\Screenshots
    To view saved screenshots:

    • Either: Click Start, type Libraries, click Libraries, and navigate to Pictures -> Screenshots
    • Or: Press Windows Key + E open Windows Explorer, press Ctrl + L to enter an address and navigate to: Libraries\Pictures\Screenshots

Capture Part of the Screen

The Snipping tool can capture the whole screen, a selection of the screen, or a specific Window. The snipping tool is available with:

  • Windows 8, Windows 8 Professional, Windows 8 RT
  • Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise

Step 1: Click the Start button, type snip, and click Snipping Tool.

Step 2: Click New
Note: To free-form clip or grab a window or the whole screen, click the down arrow next to the New button

Step 3: Select the area you wish to capture

Step 4: Optionally annotate and highlight your image:

Step 5: Save your image to your hard drive (Ctrl+S) or copy it to your clipboard (Ctrl+C):

Capture a Series of Screenshots in a Document

To capture a series of screenshots in a document, you can use the Steps Recorder (named Problem Steps Recorder in Windows 7) that’s available with both Windows 7 and 8.

To open Steps recorder: click Start, type psr, and click Steps Recorder (Windows 8) or psr.exe* (Windows 7.)

*If you’re using Windows 7, I recommend you run the program as an administrator (right click psr.exe and click Run as Administrator.)

Step by step instructions for using the steps recorder.

Notes:

  • Once you’ve completed your steps, you can open the saved file and copy the screenshots into Word, Paint etc.
  • If you want to capture more than 25 screenshots, click the down arrow next to the help icon and click Settings…; replace 25 with the maximum number of screenshots required

More Options for Taking Screenshots

If you’re looking for a tool with more advanced options, check out five free screen capture utilities for Windows.

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix them.

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Comments

One thought on “Capture Screenshots Using built-in Windows Tools [How To]”

  1. Dan says:

    I wish that tool is available in Win7 Basic. Is there a way to install or activate the feature for my version of Windows?

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