How to take a quick screenshot and save it in a file where you can always find it again

Scissors and ScreenI’ve blogged before about a piece of software called Gadwin Printscreen that I use to take screenshots of parts or all of screens and save them in files in a folder of my choosing.

In practice, my own computer support clients usually think that using Gadwin is a bit of a sledgehammer to crack a walnut and they would like something simpler and quicker. After all, you often want to make a copy of a screen just on the off-chance that you might want to refer to it again some time in the future. You do not want to spend a minute working out how to create something that you probably won’t refer to again. Well, there is something available and it’s already there if you have Windows 8 or Windows 10. I missed it before. Sorry. There is one annoying proviso that I’ll discuss below, but apart from that, all you have to do is depress the “Windows” key and keep it down while you press the “prt sc” (“Print screen”) key. The “Windows key” is to be found one or two keys to the left of the space bar on the bottom row of the keyboard.

Default Screenshots FolderWhat happens then is that a file is created in a sub-folder of your “Pictures” folder. The sub-folder is called “Screenshots”. The file is a “.png” file. This is easily opened in any images program. Double-clicking on a png file will open it in the default images program.

The “annoying proviso” that I mentioned above is that this may or may not work on a laptop where the “prt sc” function is on a key that also performs another function. If you have to depress the “fn” key (the “Function key”) before depressing the “prt sc” key, then my experience is that you may or may not get the desired re-direction of the output to a file if you then depress all three of the “Windows” key, “Function” key, and “Prt Sc” key together. A bit disappointing, but there you go.

You may also be interested to know that it is possible to re-direct the files created by “Windows prt sc” to any folder of your own choosing. This means, for instance, that you could re-direct the output to a sub-folder of your Dropbox or OneDrive folder. If you have several machines, this means that you can make all screenshots from all machines immediately available on all machines.

To re-direct the output:

  • Right-click on the current (default) folder. This is called “Screenshots” and is a sub-folder of “Pictures”
  • Left-click on the “Properties” option
  • Left-click on the “Locations” tab at the top of the window
  • Left-click on the “Move” option
  • Select the desired destination folder for screenshots
  • Close all open dialogue windows

To change the output back to the default:

  • Right-click on the current (default) folder. This is called “Screenshots” and is a sub-folder of “Pictures”
  • Left-click on the “Properties” option
  • Left-click on the “Locations” tab at the top of the window
  • Left-click on the “Restore Default” option
  • Close all open dialogue windows

Screenshots - change location
Screenshots - change location (2)

An alternative way to capture screens or part of them is the Windows “Snipping Tool” that I described in this blog.

This is also described in more detail on this Microsoft Support page.

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Computer Support in London
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