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Capture Your Screen: How to Take a Screenshot on a Desktop

by Marcin Wieclaw
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how to take a screenshot on a desktop

Have you ever needed to save important information on your desktop or share valuable content? Taking a screenshot is an essential skill that can help you achieve these goals. In this desktop screenshot tutorial, we will guide you step by step on how to take a screenshot on a desktop.

Whether you’re using Windows 10 or the latest Windows 11, there are multiple methods available for capturing screenshots on your desktop. From built-in tools like Snip & Sketch and Snipping Tool to keyboard shortcuts and alternative methods, we will explore them all in this comprehensive guide.

By the end of this step-by-step desktop screenshot guide, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and skills to effortlessly capture and save screenshots on your desktop, no matter what operating system you’re using. So let’s dive in and explore the different options at your disposal.

Let’s begin by understanding how to use the Snip & Sketch tool, a versatile and convenient built-in tool available on both Windows 10 and Windows 11. By leveraging this tool, you can easily capture screenshots of windows, regions, or the entire screen in various shapes like rectangular or freeform.

To learn more, continue reading the next section: Using the Snip & Sketch Tool.

Using the Snip & Sketch Tool

The Snip & Sketch tool is a convenient and versatile built-in tool for taking screenshots on Windows 10 and Windows 11. You can access it by using the keyboard shortcut Windows key + Shift + S or by searching for it in the Start menu.

The tool allows you to capture screenshots of windows, regions, or the entire screen in various shapes like rectangular or freeform. After taking a screenshot, it is saved to the clipboard and can be easily annotated, saved, or shared using the Snip & Sketch app.

This tool has gained popularity due to its improved features and functionality compared to the older Snipping Tool.

Using the Snipping Tool

The Snipping Tool has been a trusted screenshot tool since its introduction in Windows Vista. Although it is no longer listed in the Start menu of Windows 11, you can easily access it by searching for it in the search bar. The Snipping Tool offers a range of capture options, including rectangular, freeform, full-screen, and window snips.

Unlike the Snip & Sketch tool, the Snipping Tool does not automatically save the screenshots. However, it conveniently copies the captures to the clipboard, allowing you to easily paste them into image editing software or other applications. Before exiting the Snipping Tool, make sure to save your screenshots manually to a desired location on your Windows desktop.

screenshot on Windows desktop

Desktop Screen Capture Tips

When using the Snipping Tool, keep these helpful tips in mind to enhance your screen capture experience:

  1. Choose the appropriate snip type: Select the snip type that best suits your specific capture needs. Whether it’s capturing a particular window, a region, or the entire screen, the Snipping Tool offers versatile options.
  2. Utilize the delay feature: The Snipping Tool allows you to set a delay before capturing the screen, giving you time to prepare the desired content for the screenshot.
  3. Take advantage of the annotation options: The Snipping Tool provides basic annotation tools like a pen, highlighter, and eraser, allowing you to add additional information or highlight specific details in your screenshots.
  4. Experiment with different snip shapes: In addition to rectangular snips, the Snipping Tool enables you to capture freeform snips, giving you more flexibility in capturing irregular shapes.
  5. Organize your screenshots: To prevent clutter on your desktop, create separate folders to organize your screenshots. This will help you quickly locate and manage your captured images.

Snipping Tool vs. Snip & Sketch

Snipping Tool Snip & Sketch
Available since Windows Vista Built-in tool for Windows 10 and Windows 11
Not listed in the Start menu of Windows 11 Accessible via keyboard shortcut or Start menu search
Requires manual saving of screenshots Automatically saves screenshots to the clipboard and Snip & Sketch app
Offers rectangular, freeform, full-screen, and window snips Provides various shapes for capturing windows, regions, or the entire screen

Using Keyboard Shortcuts and Other Methods

Apart from the dedicated screenshot tools mentioned earlier, you can also use various keyboard shortcuts and methods to capture screenshots on both Mac and Windows desktops. These shortcuts provide quick and efficient ways to capture the desired content on your screen.

Windows Desktop:

  • Print Screen: The Print Screen key (PrtScn) captures the entire screen. You can paste it into an image editing program to save it or use other applications as needed.
  • Windows key + Print Screen: This combination automatically saves the screenshot to the Pictures > Screenshots folder on your Windows desktop.
  • Fn + Windows logo key + Space Bar (for laptops): If your Windows laptop lacks a dedicated Print Screen key, you can use this combination to capture the entire screen.

Mac Desktop:

  • Command + Shift + 3: Pressing these keys captures the entire screen on your Mac. The screenshot will be automatically saved to your desktop.
  • Command + Shift + 4: This shortcut allows you to select a specific area on your screen to capture. It grants you control over which part of the screen you want to screenshot. Again, the screenshot will be automatically saved to your desktop.

By utilizing these keyboard shortcuts, you can easily take screenshots on both Mac and Windows desktops without the need for additional software.

Note: The image above represents a screenshot on a desktop and is intended for illustrative purposes only.


Taking screenshots on a desktop is a valuable skill that allows you to effortlessly capture and share information. Whether you opt for dedicated tools like Snip & Sketch or the Snipping Tool, or prefer using keyboard shortcuts, capturing screenshots is a simple process. By familiarizing yourself with the different methods available, you can select the option that best suits your preferences and workflow.

Remember to save and organize your screenshots for easy access and reference. With the ability to capture precisely what’s on your screen, you can effectively communicate, document, and share information with others. Whether you’re a student, professional, or just someone who loves technology, mastering the art of taking screenshots on a desktop can greatly enhance your productivity and efficiency.

So, next time you need to illustrate a point, save an online recipe, or highlight important content, don’t forget about the power of the screenshot. Embrace the versatility and convenience it offers, and make the most of this essential desktop feature. Start capturing your screen today and unlock a whole new level of visual communication.


How do I take a screenshot on a desktop?

There are several methods you can use to capture screenshots on your desktop. You can use built-in tools like the Snip & Sketch tool or the Snipping Tool, or use keyboard shortcuts like Print Screen or specific key combinations such as Windows key + Print Screen. On Mac, you can use key combinations like Command + Shift + 3 or Command + Shift + 4.

What is the Snip & Sketch tool?

The Snip & Sketch tool is a built-in tool in Windows 10 and Windows 11 that allows you to capture and annotate screenshots. It offers various shapes and options to capture windows, regions, or the entire screen. It also provides easy annotation features and the ability to save or share the screenshot.

How do I use the Snipping Tool?

The Snipping Tool is another built-in tool available in Windows 11. It allows you to capture screenshots in different shapes such as rectangular or freeform. The screenshots are not automatically saved, so you need to manually save them before exiting the tool. However, the captures are copied to the clipboard, making it easy to paste them into other applications.

What keyboard shortcuts can I use to take a screenshot on a desktop?

On Windows, you can use the Print Screen key (PrtScn) to capture the entire screen, or the Windows key + Print Screen combination to automatically save the screenshot. On Mac, you can use Command + Shift + 3 to capture the entire screen or Command + Shift + 4 to select a specific area.


  • Marcin Wieclaw

    Marcin Wieclaw, the founder and administrator of PC Site since 2019, is a dedicated technology writer and enthusiast. With a passion for the latest developments in the tech world, Marcin has crafted PC Site into a trusted resource for technology insights. His expertise and commitment to demystifying complex technology topics have made the website a favored destination for both tech aficionados and professionals seeking to stay informed.

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