Sometimes you have to capture that crazy text you received, grab proof of your amazing high score in a game, or send the IT department a picture of what’s going wrong on your device. Knowing how to take a screenshot can save you a lot of explaining. Every operating system has a built-in method of capturing the screen. Some even allow you to capture specific portions or grab a scrolling screenshot. We’ll explain how.
Updated October 2022: We updated the instructions for capturing a screenshot on a Mac.
When it works you will hear a capture noise if your sound is on and see a screenshot preview at the bottom left of the screen, where you can tap on it to edit, share, or delete.
Screenshots only capture the visible portion of the screen but you can capture a whole document or webpage by tapping on the screenshot preview and selecting Full Page at the top right.
Another way to take screenshots (as popularized by TikTok) on your iPhone 8 or later is to use the back tap feature. To enable back tapping, visit Settings then Accessibility. Under the physical and motor section, choose Touch. Turn on the back tap by scrolling down to the very bottom and choosing between two or three taps.
In addition to screenshots, the back tap can be set up to lock the phone, start the flashlight, read texts aloud, and other actions. Tap firmly on the back of the phone where the Apple logo is located. There’s a bit of a learning curve with what exactly registers, but it’s another quality option if you get the hang of it.
How to Take a Screenshot on an Android Phone or Tablet
To capture a screenshot on an Android phone or tablet, press the Power and Volume Down buttons simultaneously.
When it works, you will hear a capture sound and see a screenshot preview at the bottom left of the screen, where you can tap on it to edit or share.
Some Android phone manufacturers offer a scrolling screenshot feature that can capture a whole webpage or message thread. They all have different names, but each involves taking a screenshot then tapping on a button when the preview appears. For example, on a Samsung phone, you should press the button with two arrows in a box to use Scroll Capture. Huawei has a similar option called Scrollshot, LG offers an Extended option, and OnePlus has Expanded Screenshot.
If your phone lacks this feature, consider a third-party app like Screen Master.
How to Take a Screenshot on a Windows PC
To capture a screenshot on a Windows laptop or desktop computer, press the Print Screen keyboard key (usually abbreviated to Prt Scn or similar). If you only want to grab a screenshot of the active window, press the Alt and Print Screen keys together. Your captured screenshot is copied to the clipboard automatically and you must open Microsoft Paint, Photoshop, or whatever image software you use to paste it so you can edit and save it.
If you just want to capture a portion of the screen in Windows 10 try pressing the Windows, Shift, and S keys together. You can then click and drag to highlight the bit you want and let go to capture it. In earlier versions of Windows you can do the same thing with the Snipping Tool, which is found by clicking Start and typing “snipping tool” in the search bar. Once again, the screenshot is copied to your clipboard for you to paste.
To capture screenshots and automatically save them, press the Windows and Print Screen keys together. Screenshots are saved in a folder titled Screenshots in your Pictures folder.
How to Take a Screenshot on a Chromebook
To capture a screenshot on a Chromebook, press the Control (usually abbreviated to Ctrl) and Show Windows (a rectangle with two lines to the right) keys together.
To capture a portion of the screen, press the Shift, Control, and Show Windows keys, click and drag to highlight the bit you want, then let go to grab the screenshot.
The screenshot preview should pop up at the bottom right, and you can copy or annotate it. To find screenshots later, click the Launcher button (the circle at the bottom left corner), then select Files and click Downloads on the left.
How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac
To capture a screenshot on a Mac, press the Shift, Command, and 5 keys simultaneously. This will open the screenshot tool, with the following options:
Capture the entire screen (pressing the Shift, Command, and 3 keys together is a shortcut to do this)Capture a window (pressing the Shift, Command, and 4 keys together and then the Space bar is a shortcut to do this)Capture a portion of the screen (pressing the Shift, Command, and 4 keys together and then clicking and dragging to highlight is a shortcut to do this)Record the entire screenRecord a portion of the screen
You can also capture the Touch Bar on MacBooks that have one by pressing the Shift, Command, and 6 keys together.
The screenshots you take save to your desktop. To copy a screenshot to paste it into another app, you must also press the Control key when capturing. For example, to grab your whole screen you must press the Shift, Command, Control, and 3 keys together.