The quickest and easiest way to take a screenshot in Windows 10 (tutorial)

One of my biggest issues of switching from a MacBook to PC was figuring out how to take a quick screenshot. I spent my entire college years using a 2010 MacBook Pro. I still remember the shortcuts to this day. Shift-Command-3 to capture the entire screen or Shift-Command-4 to capture a selected portion of the screen. macOS conveniently places the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop. I switched over to a PC a couple years back because the biotech industry primarily uses Windows for everything. The ability to take quick screenshots is critical for sending images over email or adding an image to a PowerPoint presentation. A quick Google search yields multiple ways to take a screenshot on Windows.

The majority of ways to take a screenshot in Windows 10 is not ideal

The most common method is the good old Windows logo key + Print Screen. The first time I tried this shortcut, I spent a good chunk of time trying to figure out if the shortcut even worked. My impatience and button smashing led to accidentally saving 20 screenshots. This shortcut automatically saves your screenshots into a Screenshots folder in Pictures. There are multiple gripes with this method. It takes a screenshot of your entire screen. Nine times out of ten, I want to only take a screenshot of a selection. The other issue I have is that I have to navigate through multiple folders to access the screenshot. I hate clicking around and I wish the screenshot would save to the desktop. This seems more intuitive to me because I can move the screenshot to another folder if I need to or just trash the image after using it.

The most common method to take a screenshot selection is the Snipping Tool. Snipping Tool is a default application that comes with any Windows 10 OS. I find it incredibly tedious having to open up another application just to take a screenshot. There are a lot of clicks that go into taking a simple selection screenshot. Fortunately, there are workarounds like assigning a hotkey to open up the Snipping Tool. However, the simple act of opening up the Snipping Tool application makes it difficult to take screenshots of certain images that get hidden when another application opens up.

The quickest and easiest way to take a screenshot in Windows 10

There is hope! I stumbled upon this while watching random YouTube videos about Windows shortcuts. Windows + Shift + S. Memorize this magical Windows keyboard combo. This shortcut will grey out the screen and let you select the area where you want to take a screenshot. The image is copied to the clipboard where you can paste the image wherever you please just like text that you copy and paste. This is super useful if you want to paste the image directly into the body of an email rather than attaching it to the email. The copy and paste feature is intuitive to pretty much everyone, which makes it a painless way to paste a screenshot selection to something like a PowerPoint slide.  If you need to edit the image or save it to a specific folder, you can copy it over to paint and save where you please.

This feature is basically a bootleg version of Command + Shift + 4 on the Mac. If you’re coming over from Apple or forced to work in Windows, make sure you have this shortcut in your toolkit. If you are the resident computer expert, I guarantee you spend a ton of time clipping images to create a step-by-step protocol on how to perform certain computer tasks for the tech-challenged coworkers. This shortcut will make keep you from going insane.

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