How to Take a Snapshot of a Windows Computer Screen

by Ruri Ranbe

    Windows 7 includes a built-in function that enables you to capture snapshots of the computer screen. You can either take a snapshot of the entire screen or of the active window. The active window is the application currently in focus; you can make a window active simply by clicking on it. Once you've captured the screen, you can save the snapshot as an image file in Paint, the operating system's image editor.

    Step 1

    Press "PrtScn" to take a snapshot of the entire screen or press "Alt-PrtScn" to take a snapshot of the active window.

    Step 2

    Click "Start | All Programs | Accessories | Paint." Press "Ctrl-V" or click "Clipboard," then "Paste," to transfer the snapshot to Paint.

    Step 3

    Press "Ctrl-S" to save the file. Name the file, select a file type from the Save as Type drop-down menu and click "Save."


    • To upload the snapshot to the Internet, choose JPG or PNG as the file format.
    • To resize the snapshot, click "Image," then "Resize." Enter the preferred image size into the Horizontal and Vertical fields and then click "OK."
    • On some keyboards, the button might instead read as "Print Screen," "PrtSc" or similar abbreviation. Some computers might also use "Fn-Insert," or "Fn-Ins" to perform the same function as "PrtScn."

    About the Author

    Ruri Ranbe has been working as a writer since 2008. She received an A.A. in English literature from Valencia College and is completing a B.S. in computer science at the University of Central Florida. Ranbe also has more than six years of professional information-technology experience, specializing in computer architecture, operating systems, networking, server administration, virtualization and Web design.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images