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How to Screenshot on an HP Laptop: Entire Screen or Active Window

Blur HP Spectre laptop on a brown table

Learning how to screenshot on an HP laptop is easy. Once you know what you’re doing, you’ll be able to save anything on the screen as an image to reference later or to share with other people. There are several methods to taking screenshots we’ll review below, so you’ll learn how to capture the entire screen, certain windows, and specific areas of the screen.

This guide works for taking a screenshot on Windows 11, Windows 10, and older versions of the operating system.

How to Screenshot the Entire Screen

The quickest way to take a full screen screenshot on an HP laptop is with the keyboard. You’ll see below that there are other tools you can use, but using the keyboard lets you take screenshots without the Snipping Tool or any other programs.

There are shortcut keys you can press to take a screenshot of the whole screen (or all the HP laptops screens, if you have multiple monitors) or just a single open window.

  1. Press Windows key + PrtSc to instantly capture the HP screen and any additional monitors.
  2. Open this folder to find the screen capture: C:\Users\[username]\Pictures\Screenshots. (Replace [username] with your own to find your saved screenshot.)Image folder with screenshots taken in Windows 11
  3. Locate the screenshot. From here, you can right-click to copy it and paste it elsewhere, email it, share it over social media, etc.

An alternative option is to just press PrtSc. This is useful if you don’t want to save the image to that folder, but instead you want to use the screenshot right away, like in a document or image editor. If you go this route, you’ll need to paste the screenshot into the place you want to use it, which you can do with Ctrl + V.

How to Screenshot Just the Active Window

More often than not, most people want to screenshot something specific instead of the entire screen with all the open windows and taskbar. There’s more than one method to this, which we’ll get into below with the Snipping Tool, but for now, you just need to get familiar with the Alt key.

Here’s how to screenshot the active window only:

  1. Open the window you want to screenshot on HP laptop.
  2. Select the title bar to make sure that window is selected.
  3. Press and hold Alt, press PrtSc once, and then let go of all the keys.

That single window snip is now stored in the clipboard. You can paste it anywhere to use it, such as a Word document, Microsoft Paint, Photoshop, etc. This is very similar to the full screen ship explained above, but only the active window was captured.

  1. How to Use the Snipping Tool

So far, we’ve just looked at keyboard shortcuts, most of which have been present in all versions of Windows. The Snipping Tool is also built-in to Windows, but it arrived starting in Windows Vista, so it’s only available for Vista and newer Windows OSes.

Here’s how to screenshot on an HP laptop using the Snipping Tool:

  1. From the taskbar, search Windows for Snipping Tool.Snipping Tool search results from Windows 11 taskbar
  2. Select Snip (the camera icon).
  3. From the Snipping mode drop down menu, pick one of the four options: Rectangle mode, Window mode, Full-screen mode, or Free-form mode.Snipping Tool rectangular mode selected and other snip options
  4. Press New at the top left corner, and then complete the screenshot (more on this below).
  5. Use the Save button to store the screenshot on your computer, the Copy button to store it in the clipboard to paste elsewhere, or the Share button to send it over one of your apps.Free-form snip mode screen capture results open in Snipping Tool for Windows 11

Understanding the Four Snipping Tools

The options available to you in the Snipping Tool are super useful for different scenarios. So what do they mean? Here’s a short overview describing how to use them to screenshot on HP laptop and when to choose one method over another.

  • The rectangular snip tool allows you to draw a rectangle over the area you want to screenshot. This is good for capturing multiple windows at once or a specific section of a web page.
  • The single-window snipping tool is identical to the Alt method explained above. It screenshots a single window only.
  • The full screen snip captures just what you’d think: the whole screen. This is identical to the Prtsc method.
  • The free form snip is incredibly unique, letting you literally draw on the screen to get a screenshot of anything your heart desires. The applications for this method aren’t totally clear, but hey, at least we have the option!

Print Screen Tips and More Information

  • The Fn key might need to be pressed first on some keyboards, before the print screen button. You’ll know if this is the case on your HP computer if the print screen button is the same key as one of the function keys.
  • The print screen key is called different things on different keyboards, like the “Prtscn key.” The functionality is the same no matter the name.
  • To skip straight into the Snipping Tool using just the keyboard, press Windows key + Shift + S. This will present the four tools described above. Just select one to start the screenshot on HP laptop.
  • For the few of you that might have an HP tablet, print screen is still possible. However, without an attached keyboard, you have to press the power button and the volume down button, similar to how you take a screenshot on Android. The screenshots folder on a tablet is the Photos app.
  • Any image editing program or other tool that accepts images, is a good place to drop a screenshot that’s in the clipboard.
  • If your screenshots look a little off, check out our guide on how to fix tinted screen captures.

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