Help Desk Geek Ultimate Guide to Taking Screenshots in Windows 8

Taking screenshots has always been fun in Windows, especially with Windows Vista and 7, which included the new Snipping Tool. Basically, since Vista, there have been two ways to take screenshots in Windows without third-party software: using keyboard shortcuts or using the Snipping Tool.

Before Windows 8, it was very complicated to take screenshots of the entire screen or even of specific regions of the screen. With Windows 8, you have something else to consider: Windows store apps aka Metro apps. How do you take a screenshot of a Metro app? What if you just want a specific region of the app and not the whole screen? In this article, I’ll go through all the possible ways to capture a screenshot in Windows 8.

The Usual Suspects

Don’t worry, good ol Prt Scrn and Alt + Prt Scrn still work in Windows 8. You can use Prt Scrn on the desktop or in a Windows Store app and it will take a screenshot of the entire screen and save it to the clipboard. Alt + Prt Scrn will take a screenshot of the active window, which only makes sense on the traditional desktop. If you press that on a Windows app, it will just take a full screen capture.

prt scrn

Windows Key + Prt Scrn

In Windows 8, there is also a new keyboard shortcut added which is Windows key + Prt Scrn. This is a nifty little shortcut that captures the entire screen and automatically saves it to your Pictures folder under Screenshots. It saves the file as a PNG file.

Print screen windows 8

Snipping Tool

The snipping tool in Windows 8 is pretty much the same as with previous versions of Windows. To open the Snipping Tool in Windows 8, just go to the Start Screen and start typing snipping. You can choose from four different options to capture your screenshot: free-form, rectangular, window, and full-screen.

snipping tool

You can take screenshots of Metro apps by first opening the Snipping Tool and then going back and opening your Metro app. While in the Metro app, go ahead and press CTRL + Prt Scrn. Windows 8 will quickly switch back to the desktop where you have the snipping tool open and then switch back to the Metro app with the screen overlay. Now you can start capturing depending on what option you chose.

Snipping tool capture

Note that if Windows 8 does not automatically switch you back to the Metro app, you can press Windows Key + TAB to get your back there. Lastly, if you want to capture a right-click context menu in Windows 8, you can use the same trick. Just open the Snipping Tool on the desktop, then right-click on wherever you want and press CTRL + Prt Scrn. You’ll then be able to capture the right-click context menu.

Unfortunately, that’s about all there is to capturing screenshots in Windows 8. Of course, there are a ton of third-party apps for capturing screenshots and you’ll need those if you want to capture a video of your screen, for example. Enjoy!

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