How to take screenshots in Windows 8 (without third-party programs) [Guide]

There are many among us who use screenshots every day, and before Windows Vista there wasn’t a built-in function on Microsoft systems to automate this procedure. Windows Vista introduced Snipping Tool, Windows 7 built upon it, and now Windows 8 offers a bit more native screenshot taking features.

Today I’m going to show you how to do it and you will see it’s easier and more convenient than copying your captured screen to the clipboard and then having to paste it into Paint or another software.


First locate in any application or window you want to capture (whether it is a native Windows 8 app or just a classic Windows program).


To take a screenshot of your current screen, hold down the Windows key and then press the PrntScrn button (Print Screen)


Your screen will flash and that means your screenshot is already saved. To see the image, navigate to your Pictures library or My Pictures folder in your C: drive with Windows Explorer. You can open Explorer by pressing Windows key + E.


You’ll see all the screenshots you’ve taken with this method in chronological order using the pattern “Screenshot (x)” as shown in the picture below.


Screenshots will be saved as .png files.


This is great little trick for Windows 8 to help you get the most out of your time when handling screenshots. Maybe not everybody will find it that useful but if you work with a lot of them maybe you’ll finally thank Microsoft for something they’ve done.

Also, check out a tutorial by Ashraf on how to take a screenshot of only an active window or program.

[via HowToGeek]

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  • beergas

    Doesn’t Snipping Tool do this quite well in Windows 8?

  • Coyote

    “…before Windows Vista there wasn’t a built-in function on Microsoft systems to automate this procedure.”

    Automated no, but it did involve just as little work… in fact it was a less cryptic keyboard command. On any system from 2k on pressing printscreen would capture the whole desktop to the clipboard, one could then simply paste it into any program that could paste an image, paint was usually painless, and allowed you to save/crop/edit it to any format.

    Nice to see 8 even screwing over the oldest and most basic of functions in favor of more user inputs…

  • Patara

    You forgot to add that some people will need to hold down the F Lock key as well to get this to work. If I don’t hold F Lock on my MS keyboard I get no screen capture.

    Another tip many don’t know about is how to capture a Drop Down list or Context Menu using the Snipping Tool.
    This is done by activating the tool and then clicking on the Esc key on keyboard.
    Open the Menu you want, use Ctrl+PrtScn [ make sure F Lock is off ] and then continue on with the capture as normal by drawing around the menu area and then saving as normal.

  • Sundog

    Hey Ashraf:
    “before Windows 8 there wasn’t a built-in function on Microsoft systems…” How about Snippy (aka Snipping Tool) in Windows 7 (and maybe earlier)?

    Start menu > Search box at bottom > enter “sn” > select Snipping Tool.

    Drag the box about whatever portion of the screen you want to grab, release, then annotate the snip with the Pencil tool if you like, or Save it, or Paste it (it’s already on your Windows Clipboard).