How to Take a Screenshot on Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS

Capture your screen on Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS

taking a screenshot on a tablet

 Joshua Otachi

Screenshots, or screengrabs, can be helpful when you want to demonstrate something that would be difficult to explain in words. There are multiple ways to take screenshots on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices.

Instructions in this article apply to various operating systems, but some steps may differ depending on the model of your device.

What Is a Screenshot?

When used as a verb, screenshot means capturing a static image of a device's display. In other words, it takes a picture of whatever shows on the computer, mobile, or tablet screen at the time.

Screenshots can be useful for many situations: 

  • Sharing screen images with friends on social media.
  • Showcasing software for a review.
  • Demonstrating how to do something in a tutorial. 
  • Showing an error message or software issue for technical support troubleshooting.
  • Saving snippets of anything that cannot be easily printed.

How to Take Screenshots

You don't need special software to take a picture of the screen because screenshot functionality is built into all current operating systems. Some devices even capture specific portions of the screen.

How to Take Screenshots on Windows

To capture the screen on a Windows PC:

  • Press the Print Screen key to take a screenshot of the whole screen.
  • Press Alt+Print Screen to screenshot the active window.
  • Press Windows key+Print Screen to take a screenshot that includes the entire Windows interface (only available in Windows 8 and later).

The Print Screen button is abbreviated as PrintSc, PrtSc, or some similar variant on some keyboards.

How to Take Screenshots on Mac

To capture the screen on a Mac:

  • Press Command+Shift+3 to capture the entire screen.
  • Press Command+Shift+4 to take a picture of the window the mouse cursor is currently hovering over.

How to Take Screenshots on Android

To capture the screen on an Android phone or tablet, press Power+Volume Down simultaneously.

How to Take Screenshots on iOS

To take a screenshot on an iOS device:

  • On the iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone 8 or earlier, press Home+Sleep/Wake.
  • On the iPad Pro and iPhone X or newer, press Volume Up+Sleep/Wake.

Screen Capture Programs

Many graphics programs, such as Photoshop, also have built-in screen-capture capabilities. Dedicated screen capture software might offer several benefits:

  • Automatically name and save screenshots to a specific folder.
  • Auto-scroll functions to capture long documents like web pages that don't fit on the screen.
  • Timed captures to add a delay while you prepare the workspace before capturing.
  • Markup tools that add callouts, arrows, shapes, and text annotations to screenshots.
  • Options to include or exclude the mouse cursor.

There is screen recording software available that captures all of the activity on a computer monitor and turn it into a video file. Such options include: