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How to screenshot the active window on Windows 10

Windows 10 can capture your entire screen with the Win+PrintScreen keyboard shortcut. The screenshots are saved to a folder named Screenshots in the Pictures library. Compared to Apple and macOS, this feature has been super late to arrive on Windows and it’s still seemingly basic. You cannot screenshot just one screen, or screenshot the active window this way. That said, there is a way to natively screenshot the active window; Alt+PrintScreen.

Screenshot active window

The process is pretty simple; set up your screen so that the window that you want to screenshot is the active one. Tap Alt+PrintScreen.

Unlike the Win+PrintScreen shortcut, the Alt+PrintScreen shortcut won’t automatically save the image as a file.

You can use Paint to save the image. Open Paint and click the Paste button or use the Ctrl+V keyboard shortcut to paste the image from the clipboard to Paint. Save it.

You can do that, or you can use an app called Paste into file. It can save an image from the clipboard to a file. You can choose which format to save the file to.

Windows 10 doesn’t lack a screenshot tool. In fact, older versions of it did have one called the Snipping tool. The only problem is that this tool is a separate app which needs to be launched before it can be used to capture screenshots. Taking screenshots, without the Win+PrintScreen shortcut, is tedious and few people knew about the Snipping tool back when Windows 7 was still supported.

Windows 10 has replaced the Snipping tool with Snip & Sketch. It still doesn’t measure up to macOS but it is slowly improving. Unfortunately, it is a step back from the Snipping Tool and lots of users are interested in getting it back. Microsoft is working on improving it. In the next major build for Windows 10, it will allow you to select the format that you save the image to.

Until the screenshot tool improves substantially on Windows 10, users have a long list of screenshot apps to pick from. They range from free apps like Greenshot, a personal favorite, to premium ones like Snagit.

Compared to macOS, Windows works much better with multiple displays. Even the most popular screenshot tools for Windows do not work that well with multiple displays so it’s not like Microsoft is adding useless features that other apps can compensate for. Most users end up buying tools just so they can take HD screenshots which is a default feature on macOS.

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