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How to take a screenshot on Mac, Windows, iPhone and Android

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MacBook Pro 13 2016 review

How to take a screenshot: A simple, step-by-step guide to how to take a screenshot on Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad, and Android. Here are all the different ways to take screenshots across some of your favourite platforms and devices.

How to take a screenshot on Mac

What’s great about Apple's macOS is that there are a bunch of ways to take screenshots.

To take a screenshot of your entire screen:

  • Press Shift-Command-3
  • Find the screenshot on your desktop as a .png file

How to take a screenshot of a selected area of your screen:

  • Press Shift-Command-4
  • The pointer will become a crosshair
  • Move the crosshair to where you want to begin your screenshot, then drag your cursor to select an area
  • Once you’re happy with the chosen area, release your mouse or trackpad. Alternatively, press the Esc (Escape) key before releasing to cancel the screenshot
  • Find the screenshot on your desktop as a .png file

Related: macOS Sierra tips and tricks

MacBook Pro 13 2016

How to take a screenshot of a window:

  • Press Shift-Command-4
  • Then press the Space bar, and the pointer will change to a camera icon
  • Move the camera onto the window you want to screenshot, and it will become highlighted
  • Click your mouse or trackpad. Alternatively, press the Esc (Escape) key before clicking to cancel the screenshot
  • Find the screenshot on your desktop as a .png file

How to take a screenshot of a menu:

  • Click the menu, revealing its contents
  • Press Shift-Command-4
  • The pointer will become a crosshair
  • Drag the crosshair to select the menu
  • Release your mouse or trackpad. Alternatively, press the Esc (Escape) key before releasing to cancel the screenshot
  • Find the screenshot on your desktop as a .png file

How to take a screenshot of a menu, but not its title:

  • Click the menu, revealing its contents
  • Press Shift-Command-4
  • The pointer will become a crosshair
  • Press the Space bar, and the pointer will change to a camera icon
  • Move the camera onto the menu to highlight it
  • Click your mouse to trackpad. Alternatively, press the Esc (Escape) key before clicking to cancel the screenshot
  • Find the screenshot on your desktop as a .png file

How to take a screenshot of the Touch Bar (requires Mac with a Touch Bar, plus macOS Sierra 10.12.2 or later):

  • Press Shift-Command-6
  • Find the screenshot on your desktop as a .png file

All of your screenshots will be saved to the desktop in Mac OS X v10.6 and later. They’ll automatically be named ‘Screen Shot date at time.png’.

Related: macOS Sierra review

How to take a screenshot on Windows 10

Windows 10 cam

Like Mac, Microsoft’s Windows 10 has a respectable offering of screenshot options, which we’ve outlined below.

Note that screenshotting on a PC requires the use of the Print Screen button. This may be shortened to something like ‘PrtScrn’ on some keyboards. It’s generally to the right of the F12 key and to the left of the Scroll Lock key.

It’s also worth noting that on some laptop keyboards, you might need to press the ‘Function’ or ‘Fn’ key to get Print Screen functionality.

To take a quick screenshot of your entire screen:

  • Press the Print Screen button
  • This will save the image to your clipboard, from which you can paste it
  • To save the file, you’ll need to paste it into image editing software like MS Paint or Photoshop, and save it from there

To save your screenshot as a file:

  • Press Print Screen + Windows logo key on PC, or Windows logo button + volume down button on a tablet
  • The screen may dim for a second, depending on your visual effects settings
  • The screenshot will be saved in your default ‘Pictures’ folder, inside a folder called ‘Screenshots’
  • The file will be automatically labelled with a number

To take a screenshot of one window:

  • Click the title bar of the window you’re trying to capture
  • Press Alt + Print Screen
  • A screenshot of your chosen window will be copied to the clipboard, from which you can paste it
  • To save the file, you’ll need to paste it into image editing software like MS Paint or Photoshop, and save it from there

You can also use a piece of software called the Snipping Tool, which comes as standard in Windows. The Snipping Tool lets you take screenshots of selected areas, like the crosshair method on Mac.

There’s also a ‘Delay’ option that was added in Windows 10 that allows you to set the screenshot to capture on a timer. It’s slightly more flexible than the Mac equivalent in that you can choose free-form areas as well as rectangular boxes.

Related: How to download Windows 10 for free – still

How to take a screenshot on iPhone, iPad and iOS

iPhone

All iOS devices take screenshots in the same way, and it’s easy enough to do.

To take a screenshot on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch:

  • Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button on the side of your device
  • Immediately press and release the Home button
  • You’ll find your screenshot in the Camera Roll, which is inside the ‘Albums’ area of your Photos app
Related: iOS 10 tips and tricks

How to take a screenshot on Android phones and tablets

There are two main ways to take screenshots on Android phones and tablets.

The first is to press the Home button and the Power button at the same time. Photos should be saved to your gallery.

However, many Android devices don’t have Home buttons. In this case, press the Power button and the Volume Down button at the same time.

samsung galaxy s7 5

Unfortunately, due to the massive fragmentation of the Android ecosystem, the system may work differently on some phones. If neither of the above options works for you, check your phone’s manual or contact the manufacturer for advice.

The good news is that some Android device manufacturers go above and beyond with screenshots. For instance, many Samsung phones immediately bring up an editing menu when you take a screenshot, allowing you to quickly make changes, like cropping a select area before the photo is saved to your gallery.

Related: Best Android phones

Watch: What's the best phone in the world right now?

Anything you think we should write a guide for? Need any tips for a device you’re using? Let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to help.

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