Sometimes it's easier to show someone what you're seeing on your computer screen instead of explaining it. In Windows, one easy solution is the PrtScn key. When you press it, an image of your screen is copied to the Clipboard. This is called a screen capture or screen shot.

To print the screen capture or send it to someone in an e‑mail, you'll first have to paste it into Paint or some other image-editing program and save it.

Watch this video to learn how to print your screen (1:53)
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To take a screen capture of the entire screen

  1. Press PrtScn.

  2. Open Paint by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Paint.

  3. In Paint, on the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click Paste.

  4. If you want to resize the image, on the Home tab, in the Image group, click Resize, and enter a new percentage or pixel size.

  5. Click the Paint button Picture of the Paint button , and then click Save.

It's also possible to capture a specific active window when you press PrtScn.

To capture an active window

  1. Press Alt+PrtScn.

  2. Open Paint by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Paint.

  3. In Paint, on the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click Paste.

  4. If you want to resize the image, on the Home tab, in the Image group, click Resize, and enter a new percentage or pixel size.

  5. Click the Paint button Picture of the Paint button , and then click Save.

Notes

  • On some keyboards, PrtScn might appear as PRTSC, PRTSCN, or a similar abbreviation.

  • Certain laptops and other mobile devices that lack a PrtScn key might use other key combinations, such as FN+Insert, to capture the screen. Check the manual the came with your laptop or device for specific instructions.