How To Take a Screenshot in Windows 8 – Keyboard Shortcut

In previous versions of Windows, you can take a screenshot by pressing PrtScn on your keyboard. This copies it to the Clipboard and then you need to paste it into Word or an image editing program to save it.

Screenshots in Word

In Windows 8, press Windows Key + PrtScn on your keyboard. This takes a screenshot and saves it as a PNG file in the default Pictures folder.

Windows 8 gives each shot a generic name of Screenshot, followed by a number in the order you take the shots. It works on the Metro Start screen and desktop too. This keyboard shortcut will take a screenshot of the full desktop.

Note: If you want an individual window, you can still use Alt + PrtScn — but that copies it to the Clipboard and you’ll still need to copy it into Word or other image editors.

My Pictures

This is handy if you want to take a shot of your screen to show an error to an IT pro. Or if the tech needs more data, the Steps Recorder feature is still in Windows 8.

Problem Screen Recorder

Being a tech writer, I still prefer to use third-party tools like SnagIt. But if you’re only occasionally taking screenshots, this windows keyboard shortcut is a nice hidden gem.



  1. TG2

    What about IrfanView?

    100% free … allows you to spec the keys for capture, and it can do way more.

    its quite often a waste to have the ENTIRE desktop … especially if you’re on a dual monitor setup … so something that can capture just the active window is usually pretty important….

    • Rick Henderson

      Because a modern operating system should be able to take screenshots without adding new software.

  2. Brian Burgess

    Yeah, this method isn’t if you’re looking for anything feature rich to include editing. But is a new feature in Windows 8. Much better than taking screenshots in previous versions of Windows.

  3. velo

    why if I dont have the print screen KEY in my keyboard? Im on a MacBook Pro

    • Austin

      I have a normal Mac–so I don’t know if it’ll work on your MacBook–but:
      CTRL+ALT+3= Screenshot
      CTRL+ALT+4= Crop Screenshot (Can pick what to screenshot)

  4. Toyorc Awoderu

    it would have been way nicer if it were something like Mac’s where you get to select the excat thing you want the screen shot of. Now I just take a screenshot open a photo edit software to then edit.. sucks

    • Rick Henderson

      If you use Microsoft Office, then Word, Excel etc. have a screenshot tool that allows you to edit.

      But yes, the screenshot abilities on a Mac are so numerous that it’s hard to learn them all. :)

      Command+Shift+Ctrl+4, Space is a good one :)

  5. Rick

    On a slate, hold down the windows key and press volume down. The screen will dim briefly to let you know it worked. It will drop a screen capture into your pictures library.

  6. Brian Burgess

    @Rick, yep, nice suggestion. That’s how I take shots on my Surface RT. Do you know if that works on other manufacturer’s of Windows 8 or RT tablets?

  7. David

    I’m new at this,had windows8 for 2 months… can’t get it to work…. windows key, and print scrn, right?
    can’t seem to get it to work… any help?

  8. David

    I can’t get screenshot to work… I’ve had windows 2 months, and don’t know anything…
    windows key & print screen, right? It’s suppose to go to My Pictures….
    I tried it on this page, and it didn’t work….
    any help?

    • Mary

      I cant get it to work either…Help!

      • JaRae S.

        I pressed the FN+PrtSc at the same time and it worked.

        • kate

          Thanks, make it simple, like it!

          It worked thanks JaRae

  9. Johnny

    Some keyboards on laptops require you to hold the function key in order to get the Print Screen function. No sure if that is needed in addition to holding down the Windows Key. It’s not required on my laptop, but is for an HP8570p, for example. Haven’t had access to test this on Win8.

    Alternatively, if you only want to capture an active screen, hit ALT+PrntScrn (Or Fn+Alt+PrntScrn) and it will capture only the active application or message. This
    will work for all versions, including Windows 8.

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