How to Take Screenshots Using Windows Snipping Tool

In Windows, you can quickly take a screenshot of your computer screen by simply pressing the “Print Screen” key on your keyboard. And if you want to take a screenshot of just a particular window, then you can use the shortcut “Alt + Print Screen.” Taking screenshots of your computer screen helps in all sorts of situations like to explain different errors displaying on your system, to create tutorials, etc.

But the fact is that the “Print Screen” key is terribly limited by itself, forcing us to use third party screen capture solutions. Fortunately, Windows has a built-in software called the Snipping Tool which can assist in taking and editing screenshots with basic tools. In case you are wondering, here is how you can use Snipping Tool to take and edit screenshots.

To open the Snipping Tool in Windows, you can either use the Run command (Win + R) and type snippingtool or you can search for it in the Start menu or in the Start Screen if you are using Windows 8/8.1.


As you can see, the user interface itself is minimal. If you click on that little down arrow next to the “New” button you will see that the snipping tool has a total of four snipping modes to choose from.


Free-form Snip: By selecting the Free-form Snip, you can select a capture area by dragging your mouse courser as required. This snip mode is very helpful when you want to take screenshots in different shapes like circles, etc.

Rectangular Snip: Unlike Free-form Snip, Rectangle Snip can be used to capture by drawing box-type shapes with your mouse courser.

Windows Snip: If there is a particular window you want to take a screenshot of, you can use this option as it ignores everything but the selected window. It is just like using the “Alt + Print Screen” shortcut.

Full-screen Snip: As the name implies, this option lets you take a screenshot of the entire screen. You can think of it as using the regular “Print Screen” key on your keyboard minus the basic editor provided by the Snipping tool.

To take a snapshot, just select your snipping mode using the drop-down menu and click on the “New” button. For instance, I’ve selected the Rectangular snip. Now just drag your mouse where you want to take the screenshot.


Once the screenshot is taken, Snipping tool will automatically open the basic screenshot editor where you can edit things like annotations, highlighting, etc.


If you want to write or draw something, you can use the included pen tool to achieve the task. By default, Snipping tool provides red, blue and black color pens. Simply select the pen you want from the drop-down menu and add your drawings.


If you want to create your own custom pen with custom color and thickness, select the option “Customize” from the dropdown menu.


If you want to highlight some text in the screenshots of your PDFs or web pages, you can use the included highlighter tool. Simply click on the Highlighter button and drag the cursor icon to highlight the content.


If you have done something wrong while editing with the snipping tool, you can use the Eraser tool to quickly erase the mistake. To erase something on your screenshot, just click on the Eraser button and again click on the edit which you want to erase. Unfortunately, the Eraser tool cannot be used to erase the actual image.


Being a lightweight tool, Snipping Tool is mostly limited in the options it provides, but you can always access the Options window by selecting the “Options” button in the main Window. Here you will find a couple of useful options like copying snips to the clipboard so that you can paste them into other programs like Photoshop or Paint, add URL below snips, ink color, etc.


That’s all there is to do for now. Even though the snipping tool is a bit limited, it serves all the basic purposes of taking quick screenshots and editing it to add annotations and the like. Moreover, I don’t know why, but Snipping tool doesn’t support “Ctrl + Z,” and yes, that’s a sin.

Have you used the Snipping Tool before? Do you prefer it over any other third party screen capture tool? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. Let me try to contribute to the article..

    – snipping tool is great, but the free (open source) alternative is much much better. It’s called GREEN SHOT, and it’s amazing (and much more feature-rich than the snipping tool):

    I hope you guys give it a shot! :)

  2. While the eraser does not function as one with the image, I use a white colored marker tool to edit black and white JPEG’s.

  3. “but Snipping tool doesn’t support “Ctrl + Z,” and yes, that’s a sin”

    I too have wondered over this oversight.

  4. Snipping Tool is better than the “PrtSc” key way, but also has limited functions. I’d rather use this free screenshot tool which provides more annotation options and instant image sharing function.

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