When you’re working on your Windows 8 computer and see something on the screen that you want to share with others or use a part of the screen as an image that you can paste into documents, emails and other apps, then you would most likely want to take a screen capture.
Although this has always been possible to take screen captures using the “Print Screen” keyboard key, which is sometimes labeled as “PrtScr” or “PrtSc,” there are several different screen capturing methods that are more flexible and can save you more time.
Of course, there are many third-party tools — some free, some not free — that do just that and even allow you to edit the images and share them in even better ways. In this article, I will only focus on the methods that are built into the Windows 8/8.1 operating system, plus an additional method that you get once you use Microsoft OneNote.
1. Regular Print Key
Pressing the keyboard’s Print Key button will take a screenshot of your entire active screen, including everything you see on it. The picture of the screen is copied and you can paste it wherever you like.
As most of you know, you can also take a screenshot of only one window. To do so, click the window you want to capture, then press the Alt+Print button. A screenshot of the selected window is copied and you can paste it wherever you want.
2. The Windows 8 automatic screen capture key combo
Press the Windows logo key + Print Key button. The screen will appear dim for a brief moment while the screen is copied. The screenshot will then automatically be saved as a .PNG file in the Screenshots folder, which is in your Pictures folder.
You can copy the image from that folder to use or paste it wherever you want.
3. Windows Snipping Tool
The Windows Snipping Tool is not new to Windows 8, as it’s been around since Windows Vista. It’s a useful tool that requires you to manually run it before performing the capture. Once you run it, the tool lets you perform more sophisticated captures, such as specific and non-rectangular parts of the screen.
To run the Snipping Tool, click on Start and type “snipping” (no need for the quotes). You will find it in the right search area. Click on it.
Once it opens, you can pin it to the Windows taskbar.
When you run it, you can select the type of captured area.
If you select a rectangular or free-form snip, you will be able to select the area you want to capture.
Once area is captured, you can edit it, save it to a file, email it or just copy it to be able to then paste it in any other program or tool.
Adding a Keyboard Shortcut to the Snipping Tool Tip: When the Snipping Tool is pinned to the Windows task bar, you will be able to easily launch it by using the Windows logo key + the numbers between 1 and 0, depending on the order of the placement of the Snipping Tool taskbar icon. For example:
4. Using Microsoft OneNote’s built-in screen capture
If you’ve got Microsoft OneNote installed on your computer, then you get an additional shortcut that will ease your screen capturing tasks.
When you run OneNote, an additional application window will appear. This allows you to select what type of action you want to associate with different keyboard shortcuts.
When you select “Screen Clipping (s)”, you will see the screen become whiter, and you will be able to select what part of the screen to capture. The snapshot is copied to the clipboard, where you can easily paste it in a document or email, or inside a OneNote page.
In Windows 8, the keyboard shortcut for it used to be the Windows logo key + S. With Windows 8.1, however, this combination opens the search pane, so we need to use the Windows logo key + SHIFT + S. Easy enough.