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How to capture the mouse cursor in a screenshot on Windows 10

Screenshot tools are as basic, and common as text editors. Some sell themselves by being simple, others offer complex features such as screenshot scheduling. Most, if not all tools try and take clean screenshots which means they often exclude the mouse cursor. In some cases though, you actually need to capture the mouse cursor in a screenshot and that’s where you run into problems. If you need a free tool that can include the cursor in a screenshot, use IrfanView.

IrfanView is popular as an image viewer but it has quite a few features, one of which is a screenshot feature. It’s highly unlikely that you end up using it as your main screenshot tool but for capturing the mouse cursor in a screenshot, it works great and that too with a hotkey.

Mouse cursor in screenshot

Install IrfanView if you don’t have it already. Run the app and go to Options>Capture/Screenshot from the menu bar.

In the window that opens, select the ‘Desktop area – current monitor (mouse)’ option. The hotkey associated with screen capture is Ctrl+F11. Click the Start button and minimize the app.

To capture the screenshot, move your mouse to the screen that you want to capture (in case you have multiple monitors), and then tap the hotkey. The screenshot will be captured and open in IrfanView where you can then save it, or edit it first.

The advantage of using this app is that it can capture your cursor in most states. For example, I have a custom color set of the cursor which many other apps failed to capture. They only caught the default cursor colors. IrfanView can capture a custom cursor as well. It cannot capture the cursor’s actual size though which is a shortcoming. The cursor in the screenshot above is the default size that you get on Windows 10. In reality, the cursor is bigger than the default taskbar height.

Other options

There are other apps that can capture the mouse cursor in a screenshot but they will only give you the default look of the cursor. If that is sufficient, you can use Greenshot. It will capture the cursor and, on occasion, it’s color as well though the cursor image won’t look very good. The advantage this app has is that it allows you to move the cursor in the captured image before you save it.

Finally, if you happen to have a screencasting app, you can use it to record a short clip of your screen and it will include the cursor. You can then export a frame from the video.

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