Take a screenshot in Windows with the Snipping Tool

Cut a window, a rectangle or any shape

In the early days of Windows, you had to use the less intuitive method of pressing the Print Screen key and pasting it into a graphics program if you wanted to add markers and save a screenshot. Then, in Windows Vista and later versions of Windows, Microsoft included a utility called Snapshot Tool to make screenshots much easier.

Of course, there are plenty of free screen capture tools for all versions of Windows if your needs are more complex than just taking a screenshot. But if you don’t want or need to get into trouble, here’s how to take a screenshot with the slicer tool.

These instructions apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

Here’s how to use the draggable Windows Snipping Tool

  1. Select start menu or click on Windows key and type “ cut ยป in the search field.

  2. Select Snipping Tool from the search results. A window with tools will appear on the screen.

    You can move it to the edge of the screen so it doesn’t get in your way, but it will also disappear if you start dragging the selection area.

  3. The crop tool assumes you want to create a new crop as soon as you open it. Your screen will dim and you can click and drag your cursor to select the area you want to copy. The selected area darkens as you drag and has a red border around it if you’ve never changed the crop tool settings.

  4. When you release the mouse button, the captured area opens in the cutting tool window when you release the mouse button. Press the button New to try again.

  5. Click the second button to save the screenshot as an image file when you are happy with the clipping.


  • If your screenshot has a limited number of colors and you want to keep clear lines and keep the file size small, save it as a GIF file.

  • If your screenshot has a lot of colors and you want to keep clear lines and full quality, save it as PNG.

  • If the screenshot has many colors and you want to reduce the file size, save it as JPEG.

  • You can use the pen and selection tools in the Cut toolbar to highlight a screenshot before saving it. The Eraser tool removes marks made with the pen and selection tools.

  • You can email a screenshot without saving it first using the Send button on the toolbar.

  • Select menu parameters: to change how the tool works. You can change the color of the selection outline by selecting a new ink color, or disable the outline completely by unchecking “Show selection ink after snips are captured”.

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