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Mastering Screenshot Tools in Windows 11: A Comprehensive Guide

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Microsoft’s Windows operating system has long provided users with various screenshot options, which have occasionally been overwhelming. However, with the introduction of Windows 11, the process has been streamlined and enhanced with new features. These updates allow for easier screenshot capture, video recording of your screen, and optical character recognition (OCR) on images. Here’s a guide on how to take screenshots in Windows 11:

  1. Using the PrtScn (Print Screen) Key and Paste
    • Press the Print Screen key (PrtScn) to copy an image of the entire screen to the clipboard.
    • Paste the copied image into an application that can accept it, such as Microsoft Paint, Paint 3D, or Adobe Photoshop.
    • To capture only the active window, press Alt-PrtScn. The image is copied to the clipboard, and you can paste it into an image application. In Windows 11, the result may have squared-off corners due to the image file’s rectangular nature.
  2. Utilizing the PrtScn Key With OneDrive
    • You can save screenshots automatically to OneDrive by clicking or right-clicking on the OneDrive cloud icon in the taskbar, selecting “Settings,” then navigating to the “Backup” tab and enabling “Save Screenshots I capture to OneDrive.” This option saves your screenshots directly as PNG files in the OneDrive/Pictures/Screenshots folder, named with the current date and time.
  3. Using the Windows Key-PrtScn Keyboard Shortcut
    • The keyboard shortcut Windows Key-PrtScn captures the screen and saves it as a PNG file in the “Pictures > Screenshots” folder by default. It’s also copied to the clipboard for immediate pasting.
  4. Utilizing the Snipping Tool
    • Windows 11 has integrated the Snip & Sketch tool’s features into the new Snipping Tool. Access it using the keyboard shortcut Windows Key-Shift-S.
    • You can choose from different capture options, including rectangular snip, freehand selection, window, or full-screen capture. The tool also offers markup and editing capabilities.
    • Recent updates allow you to set your screenshots to save directly to a preferred folder within the Snipping Tool’s settings.
  5. Add a Delay Timer to the Snipping Tool
    • If you want a delay timer before taking a screenshot, open the Snipping Tool from the Start menu. In the menu bar, look for the clock icon and choose a delay of 1, 3, 5, or 10 seconds before capturing the screenshot.
  6. Use the Snipping Tool’s OCR Feature
    • The Snipping Tool now includes optical character recognition (OCR) technology to identify and make text in images searchable. This feature can also redact sensitive information automatically.
  7. Record Your Screen With the Snipping Tool
    • The Snipping Tool can be used to record video of your screen. Open the Snipping Tool, tap the movie camera icon, select the screen area to record, and press “Stop” when finished. You can then save or share the recorded video.
  8. Other Snipping Tool Tricks
    • Customize the behavior of the PrtScn key to open the Snipping Tool by going to Settings > Accessibility > Keyboard.
    • On Surface devices, you can open the Snipping Tool by double-tapping the eraser button on a Surface Pen stylus.
    • If Clipboard History is enabled, you can access recent screenshots by pressing Windows Key-V.
  9. Consider Using a Third-Party Screenshot Utility
    • While Windows provides built-in tools for screenshots, you can also explore third-party utilities like SnagIt for more advanced features, including the ability to capture scrolling screenshots.

Windows 11 has simplified and enhanced the screenshot-taking process, offering various options to suit your needs. Whether you prefer the native tools or third-party software, there are ample choices available for capturing and managing screenshots.

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