You should definitely know how to take a screenshot in Windows or capture in-game shots. There are a multitude of tools to take shots on your desktop or in-game. I reviewed various tools to capture high-quality shots and where some games typically store screenshots.
Capturing shots in applications, on your desktop or in-game:
|Application Name||Screenshot Location||Special Features|
|Snipping Tool (Windows Feature)||Asked After Taking It (Save As)||Freeware / Built-In Windows Tool|
|WinSnap – Best Paid Capturing Tool||Asked After Taking It (Save As)||Delayed Screenshot, Annotations, Highlights|
|Greenshot – Built-In Screenshot Editor||Asked After Taking It (Save As)||Freeware / Built-In Editor / Context Menu Integration / OCR|
|Fraps / GameCam||Automatically||In-Game Screenshots / Recordings|
Capturing shots in various popular video games such as CS and Skyrim:
|CS:GO||F5 Or Assigned Key – Location: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Counter-Strike Global Offensive\csgo\screenshots|
|Skyrim||PrtScn – Location: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\skyrim|
|Aion||Built-In (PrintScreen) – Location:Game Folder|
|Oblivion||Oblivion.ini / Built-In (PrintScreen) – Location:Game Folder|
|Minecraft||F2 Or Assigned Key – Location:%appdata%\.minecraft\screenshots|
Taking a simple screenshot in Windows 7 or 8/8.1
Note: This option is for everyone who does not NOT need high-quality screenshots and also does not want to download any tools.
The easiest way to take a screenshot in Windows 7,8 or 8.1 is to use the Snipping Tool.
If there’s one Windows feature that I totally love then it’s the Snipping Tool. You can take a screenshot of your desktop in less than 3 seconds.
The Snipping Tool can either be found in C:\Windows\system32\SnippingTool.exe or open it via Start Menu/All Programs/Accessories.
Windows 7/8: Open the Snipping Tool, then click on “New”. The area behind the snipping tool will be greyed out and you can now draw a rectangle to make your screenshot. The rectangle defines the size of your screenshot. Draw a large one if you want to take a screenshot of the whole desktop.
If you need it regularly, you should pin it to the taskbar!
Of course you can also simply press “PrintScreen” and then paste the screenshot into Paint or Photoshop, but the Snipping tool is so much faster. It also allows you to highlight things and save the image as a JPG file.
Taking High-Quality Screenshots
There are many dedicated programs for taking screenshots. Some allow you to add captions, annotations, arrows, text, cursors, shadows, reflections, watermarks and even colorize them. One tool I frequently use is called WinSnap.
WinSnap is capable of all of the above and is the cheapest tool around. However, it is only capable of taking screenshots on your desktop, not within video games or full-screen applications. A special feature called delayed screenshots however allows you to take screenshots after a X seconds, which comes in very handy every now and then whenever you first have to perform an action before capturing a screenshot, e.g. show a dropdown menu. After that you can add annotations to your screenshots with just one click or add large arrows. You will find examples on our site, many are taken with WinSnap.
Greenshot With Built-In Screenshot Editor
If you don’t want to spend any money but still need to take high-quality screenshots for your technical articles and instructional guides, you should get Greenshot. The built-in editor is flexible enough to add all sorts of highlights and add instructions.
Greenshot also has a OCR plugin, Office plugin, Jira plugin, Confluence plugin, Box and Dropbox support and supports various other programs and platforms such as imgur.
In a nutshell, the best free tool.
Capturing Screenshots Ingame (Fraps Alternative)
If you want to take a screenshot ingame you are either lucky and the game has a built-in screenshot function (most games nowadays have one) or you need a tool like Fraps or GameCam. Below I listed two examples that might help you to find out how you can capture screenshots ingame.
If you are looking for a free alternative to Fraps, you might want to try out GameCam to capture your screenshots ingame:
Capturing shots in Minecraft
Minecraft is one of the most popular games of our time and taking screenshots is incredibly easy to share your Minecraft builds, shots of your castles and buildings and what not. Simply hit F2 to start taking shots and copy and paste the following address into your Windows explorer:
Screenshot Location: %appdata%\.minecraft\screenshots
Enter this into the address bar in your Windows explorer (Windows key + E)
How to take a screenshot in Aion
Aion has a built-in screenshot function: Press “PrintScreen” (PrtScn) and paste it into your favorite photo editing tool.
How to take a screenshot in Oblivion
The Elder Scroll’s Oblivion also has a built-in function to take screenshots, but you will have to activate it first.
- Open Oblivion.ini, to do that go to C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Games\Oblivion\Oblivion.ini
- Find bAllowScreenShot=0
- Change to bAllowScreenShot=1
- Save (Strg+S)
Now you can take screenshots in Oblivion, they will automatically be saved to C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\Oblivion