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How to take a computer screenshot

You're working on your computer and an unknown error pops up on your screen. You're unsure how to screenshot the error message before it goes away. An easy solution is to take a screenshot, which will snap an image of your computer. This comes in handy when you want to report an issue to Method, because then our technicians have an exact record of the problem! Here are some easy tips and shortcuts for recording screenshots on your computer.

What is a screenshot?

A screenshot is your computer taking a picture of what’s on your monitor. Think of your computer as a photographer. You can grab a photo of your entire screen or just the program you are using.


Three different ways to take a screenshot:

1) Hit the print screen (“PrtScn”) key. It’s located on the upper right-hand side of your keyboard, to the right of your function keys. Pressing the key immediately tells your computer to take a screenshot of your monitor. If you have multiple monitors, your computer takes a screenshot of each monitor and places them side by side as one image. This method behaves as a copy command. In order to save the screenshot as an image, open an application such as Paint, hit paste (Ctrl + V), and save the file.

Single Monitor Display:

Windows monitor screenshot

2) Another way is to press Alt + PrtScn together and your computer takes a screenshot of the program you are currently in. Take a look at the image below. This method also behaves as a copy command. In order to save the screenshot as an image, open an application such as Paint, hit paste (Ctrl + V) and save the file.

Windows Notepad screenshot

3) A third option is to hold down the Windows + PrtScn keys. Your computer will dim for a second which indicates a screenshot of your monitor(s) has been taken. This immediately saves an image on your computer in a specific location. The default location is in C:Users[Your Username]DocumentsPicturesScreenshots.


Saving to your desktop

1) One option is to press Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + 3 and a screenshot of your monitor is saved to your desktop. If you have more than one monitor set up, a screenshot of each monitor is saved as its own image. If you only want to copy it to your clipboard (instead of saving an image), use Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + Control + 3. Take a look at the image below:

Mac monitor screenshot

2) If you only want to select a particular part of your screen, Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + 4 changes your mouse from a pointer to a crosshair. Use your mouse to click and drag over the section you want to screenshot. A screenshot of your selection is saved to your desktop. If you only want to copy it to your clipboard (instead of saving an image), use Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + Control + 4.

Here, we made a screenshot of part of our computer display.

Mac screenshot using crosshair

3) To take a screenshot of one window on your monitor: Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + 4 followed by pressing the space bar changes your mouse from a cursor to a camera. Hover and click your mouse over the window you want to screenshot. This will save an image on to your desktop. If you only want to copy it to your clipboard (instead of saving an image), use Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + Control + 4 followed by pressing the spacebar.

A screenshot of one window:

Mac screenshot using camera

Built-in and third-party programs

You are not limited to keyboard shortcuts on the computer. There are built-in applications such as Snipping Tool for Windows or Grab for Mac. You can also download third-party applications online.

Ready. Set. Screenshot!

Congratulations, you are a screenshot master! If you experiencing any errors on your computer, you can now send us an email using your expertise in screenshots. Visual displays help us better assist you in your computer needs. If you have any questions or concerns, contact us at 844-463-8463 or email us at

Tags: screenshot | keyboard | computer | monitor

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