How to Take Screenshot on Laptop PC – Ultimate Guide

For some, it may be obvious how to take a screenshot on a laptop or a desktop PC, but our intention is not only to limit ourselves to the PrintScreen key on our keyboard, but to go much further.

Index of contents

Here you will find all or almost all the possibilities that Windows gives us to take screenshots, windows, videos and also games. In the latter case the issue can get quite complicated and there are wonderful tricks to get out of trouble. And even if you are an expert, you may still learn some other trick that you don't know. Let us begin!

Take screenshot with Windows 10 and keyboard

We are going to start at the beginning and with the most basic thing that every user with a laptop must learn, and that is using our keyboard.

Since the first versions of Windows with a graphical interface, the system has an integrated function to take screenshots on a laptop or desktop PC, on any monitor or monitors that we have installed, since the function will affect other screens that we have equally installed on the PC.

keyboard shortcuts on laptop

On a laptop keyboard, the method to follow to take a screenshot is different from that of a normal keyboard. This is because normally this row of keys has a double function, for example the Simultaneous PrintScreen / End, or PrintScreen / Home, or similar functions. Each manufacturer does this differently.

Under normal conditions, with a standard keyboard, we should only press the key in which the information of Imp Pant, Prt Sc or Imp Pnt is inscribed. In all cases the meaning will be to print screen.

But the fact of having a key with double function means that to access one or the other we will need to use a second key, being the “Fn” of Function. So we must do the Fn + Imp Pant combination to be able to capture the screen. Of course we must make two differentiations:

There may be different keyboard layouts depending on each manufacturer. For this reason, we are going to put some representative images of the above.

In the first case, the first point that we have explained is shown, that is, we would not need the Fn key to activate the function because it is on an independent key. In the second and third cases the opposite occurs, the function is presented as secondary and in italics, which means that we must activate Fn (also in italics) to activate the function. Finally in the fourth case ImpScrn is as the first option, so we would not need to use Fn either.

This dynamic not only serves to take a screenshot on a laptop, but also to use all the functions of the rest of the F keys on our keyboard.

If it doesn't work, we should consider the possibility that the laptop software has the features disabled. Programs such as Armory Crate from Asus, Armory Crate from MSI or Control Center from Gigabyte/AORUS allow you to activate or deactivate functions from them

Capture a single window

But of course, capturing the full screen of our computer is just the tip of the iceberg of what we can really do.

On many occasions we do not want to make a general capture, which is what ImpScr does, but only a snapshot of a window or a single program on our desktop. This is also possible to do directly with our keyboard.

To the previous keyboard shortcut we must now add the “Alt” key (the right one). In this way we can capture only the active window. Of course, if there are none active, the entire desktop will be captured. It would be like this:

Capture and copy the image to a program

Let's go a step further in our quest to take screenshots on laptop PC and it's time to save the photo somewhere, right?

When we take a screenshot, the system stores this photo on your clipboard. It is like a small region of memory where it remains waiting to be used or is overwritten as soon as we copy another file or make a new capture. Of course, it is currently possible to save more than one object to the clipboard, being an extra function implemented in Windows from version 1909.

The easiest way to use the image is to paste it into a program, be it Photoshop, Word, Paint, Excel, etc. To do this we will use the Ctrl + V combination or right-click and choose paste.

Save screenshot directly

Sometimes the most desirable thing is to be able to directly store the screenshot we make of the screen, and we also have a keyboard shortcut available for this function:

The screenshot will be stored in the images folder inside our user folder.

Use on-screen keyboard

We can't consider it a method as such, but it is possible to take screenshot on laptop PC with on-screen keyboard. Although it is a possibility, there are more effective methods within Windows that we will now see.

To open the on-screen keyboard we just have to go to the start menu -> Windows Accessibility -> On-screen keyboard.

These would be the basic options that Windows has next to our keyboard to make captures. Now we will see the most interesting.

Other ways to take screenshot (games and other programs)

In this new section we will explain the ways to take screenshots on a laptop using other applications that are also installed on the operating system.

If what we are looking for is, for example, to copy a single region of the screen, or even make a cutout with a certain custom shape, then now we will see how to do it.

Use snipping tool (traditional and new)

Windows has not only one application but two of them, which are called Snipping Tool and Snip & Annotate. To keep things simple, this is the basic version available from Windows 10 and earlier, and an enhanced version available from 1809 onwards.

Snipping tool

To access it, click on Start and write this same title. The application will look like the following:

At first, it will inform us of the existence of a new version, which we will now see. With it we can do many actions, such as capturing full screen, windows, a region defined by us and even freehand. In addition, from the configuration options we can activate extras such as adding a URL under the capture, among other things.

To make the capture we just have to click on New and with the mouse we will determine the region that we want to capture. Automatically the image will be contained in the application to be able to save in different formats.

Clipping and annotation

The new version of the previous application provides us with a somewhat more detailed interface. In addition to the options previously seen, it also allows us to quickly edit the capture by writing, pointing at something or even making straight lines with the help of a ruler.

The operation is the same, we click on New and a menu will appear above with the capture method that we want to carry out.

Using Windows Game Bar

If you have come this far, it is because you have not yet been able to take a screenshot on a laptop as you want. Options are not lacking, but if what you want is to take screenshots while you play, the truth is that the previous methods are not going to be useful or comfortable for you.

The Windows game bar comes to our aid, the one that was previously called the Xbox bar and that has now been updated to provide many more options and use it more easily.

This bar is natively active in Windows 10 and will only act when it detects that we are playing. To open it at any time we will use the key combination Win + G.

This would be the current appearance of the bar, with a multitude of options such as Xbox social chat, resource monitor, audio settings and what we are interested in, the capture section in the upper left corner.

At any time during the game, we can open this bar that will automatically activate the mouse to click on the photo icon and take a screenshot.

In addition, it even gives us the option of being able to record the screen while we play, we don't even need a capture device for it, although of course, it will consume PC resources.

Quick capture method

If we are still not convinced by this to stop the game to capture the screen, we can use the key combination Alt + Win + Print Screen to take a snapshot and store it automatically without removing the game bar. In the case of our laptop it would be like this:

The directory where the screenshots and videos will be stored will be:

  C:\Users\\Videos\Captures

Using Nvidia ShadowPlay

If we have an Nvidia graphics card we have the possibility to take a screenshot on a laptop with the ShadowPlay application. It's basically a function built into GeForce Experience that allows us to install Nvidia's own game bar.

In this case we will activate it by means of the Alt + Z key combination if we are in a game.

It is very similar to Windows, and will allow us to both record and capture the screen. In this case the possibilities are extended to 3:

In this case the images will be stored again in:

  C:\Users\\Videos\

With third party app

The last method to capture the screen is to use a third-party app. There are many free ones on the internet that provide us with more or less advanced functions similar to those we have seen.

In my personal case, I like to use Lightshot, since it is a very light application and it integrates directly with the Print Screen key to select a screen region that we want. the only drawback of it is that the function is not activated when we display popup menus.

Other well-known applications will be:

Conclusions

Of course, you will not be able to complain much about all the options seen to take screenshots on a laptop. With them we can take screenshots of any application and game without impediments.

Which method is your favourite? If you know any other way, tell us about it to help more people.