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How to take a screenshot in Windows 8.1: three ways without using third party tools

Very often, when I ask users of my apps to take a screenshot in order to troubleshoot issues they are having, they get confused. Some of them do not know how they can take a screenshot which is why I decided to write this article.

Windows 8.1 offers you three different options to make a screenshot without using third party tools. Let's discover them to get the full benefits from the modern Windows version.

Use the Win+Print Screen hotkey

win+print screen

On your keyboard, press Win+Print Screen keys simultaneously. (Note: if you are using a laptop or tablet, it may have an Fn key and the Print Screen key text on your keyboard may be enclosed inside a box, with some other function assigned to the same key when Fn is not held down. It means you are supposed to hold down the Fn key to use the function enclosed in the box. So if Win+Print Screen does not work, then try Win+Fn+Print Screen).

Your screen will be dimmed for half a second, then it will return to the normal brightness. Now open the following folder:

This PC -> Pictures -> Screenshots

You will find the captured image of your screen in this folder!
Screenshots Folder
Windows will automatically save it to a file named Screenshot (<screenshot_number>).png. That screenshot_number is given automatically by Windows as it maintains a counter in the registry of how many screenshots you have taken using Win+Print Screen method.

Bonus tip: How to reset the screenshot counter in Windows 8

Use only the PrtScn (Print Screen) key:
print screen
Press only the PrtScn (Print Screen) key on the keyboard. The contents of the screen will be captured to the clipboard.
Open Paint and press Ctrl+V or click Paste on the Home tab of the Ribbon to insert your clipboard contents. You will then make any edits you want and save the screenshot to a file.

Tip: If you press Alt+Print Screen, only the active window in the foreground will be captured to the clipboard, not the whole screen. Also, as mentioned above, if your keyboard requires you to use Fn key in order to use Print Screen, use Fn+Print Screen or Fn+Alt+Print Screen if necessary.
alt + print screen

The Snipping Tool application

snipping tool
The Snipping Tool is a simple and useful application shipped with Windows by default. It was created specially for taking screenshots. It can create most types of screenshots - window, custom area or whole screen.

Bonus tip: Use the hidden secret hotkey of the Snipping tool!
When you have started the Snipping Tool application, you are able to take a screenshot with the Ctrl+Print Screen hotkey!
ctrl + print screen
With this secret hotkey, you will be able to capture even menus. Open the application's menu and press the hotkey, and the Snipping tool will allow you to capture anything including the opened menu items!

10 thoughts on “How to take a screenshot in Windows 8.1: three ways without using third party tools

  1. Bronislav

    Bonus tip about Snipping tool hot key is just excellent. Till now for making a menu window snapshot I have had to use the Snagit. Thank you Sergey.

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    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome!

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      Reply
  2. Ladarius Ray

    Funny is says lazarus and my name ladarius

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    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Yeah.
      BTW, Lazarus is a free IDE and compiler for the Object Pascal programming language.

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      Reply
  3. Geoffrey

    Hi Sergey,

    Have recently upgraded from XP to 8.1.
    After trying numerous times to screen shot, print screen and then Ctrl V, have discovered after reading your ‘how to’ to also discover there is no Screenshot folder in Pictures. I suspect it may have been accidentally deleted.
    How do you get it back please?

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    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Just press Win+PrintScreen – it will be re-created again.

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      1. Geoffrey

        Many thanks Sergey ! It’s the Win+Fn+ Prt Screen which works on my keyboard.

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        1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

          You are welcome

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  4. H20.NotSerious

    There’s no print screen option on my keyboard. So what now?

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    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Maybe this? http://winaero.com/blog/how-to-capture-a-screenshot-in-windows-8-from-a-shortcut-or-command-line/

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