Windows 10 supports two different methods for taking screenshots; PrntScrn, and Win+PrntScrn. PrntScrn here refers to the Print Screen key on your keyboard which will capture everything on the screen to your clipboard. You then have to manually paste it into an image editor and save it as a file or you can paste it in an app that supports pasting images e.g., Microsoft Word. The key has worked this way for years and isn’t new to Windows 10. You can automate the file saving process if you want.
The Win+PrntScrn keyboard shortcut is new and exclusive to Windows 8/8.1 and 10. You have to hold down the Windows key and tap the Print Screen key to take a full-screen screenshot. The screenshot is automatically saved as a PNG file in a folder called Screenshots. When you use this keyboard shortcut to take a screenshot, your screen flashes to indicate the screenshot has been taken. If you prefer the screenshot be taken silently i.e., without the screen flashing, you can disable it.
Enable/disable screenshot flash
The screenshot flash is an animation and it can be enabled/disabled with one switch.
- Open the Settings app.
- Go to the Ease of Access group of settings.
- Select the Display tab.
- Look for the ‘Show animations in Windows’ switch.
- If you want to enable the screenshot flash, the ‘Show animations in Windows’ switch should be ON.
- If you want to disable the screenshot flash, the ‘Show animations in Windows’ switch should be OFF.
The ‘Show animations in Windows’ switch isn’t just for controlling the screenshot flash. It applies to all animations and if you turn it off, you will lose other animation effects that the OS has e.g. when you maximize and minimize a file. If you need the flash to show, that means enabling all animations on Windows 10.
Users who prefer to keep the flash off fare better here because animations are a cosmetic effect. You’re not losing functionality and you get used to the difference quickly. It does give the system a slight performance boost as well.
Users who want to keep the flash on will have to accept all the animations that Windows 10 has as well as the small impact they have on the system resources.
A visual indicator for when a screenshot is captured isn’t just reassuring for a user, it also helps a user remember they’ve captured a screenshot. If you prefer to take screenshots with the PrntScrn key and would like some sort of confirmation that the key has been pressed, you can enable an audio alert for it.