How to Capture a Screenshot in Windows With the Snipping Tool

Numerous screenshot apps exist for Windows users. But did you know that you don’t have to install an app at all? There’s a “Snipping Tool” app, which is incorporated in Windows. You can use it to capture screenshots, and also edit and comment on them.

Let us show you in detail how to use the Snipping Tool. Keep reading for directions on how to capture screenshots, and also how to save, edit, email them and make comments. Also, learn how to customize the Snipping Tool settings.

First of all, to access this tool, click on “Start” and type “snipping tool.” When you see the result, click on it. Also, you can right-click on it on the Start menu and select “Pin to taskbar” or “Pin to Start menu” if you want to be able to access it easily next time.

Snipping tool


Before doing any actual work, you should set this tool’s options. There are a couple of basic features only. For example, taking a screenshot, canceling the one you have started, and taking a delayed one (available only for Windows 10). We’ll get to those shortly, but now let’s look at the settings behind the “Options” button.

You can choose how the app looks and behaves in the Options window.

The section labeled “Application” allows you to modify the following settings:

  • Hide instruction text. Conceals the text that you can spot under the butto
    ns in the app’s window.
  • Always copy snips to the Clipboard. Makes a copy of all screenshots to the Windows clipboard, letting you paste them into multiple other applications (such as image editors or word processors).
  • Include URL below snips (HTML only). Saves the screenshots you take as Single File HTML or MHT documents. Taking a screenshot in an Internet Explorer window will result in the URL of the webpage included in the screenshot.
  • Prompt to save snips before exiting. Once you have closed the Snipping Tool, the app will allow you to save images you still haven’t saved.
  • Show screen overlay when Snipping Tool is active. Normally, a white layer will be displayed on the area that is going to be captured while you are taking a screenshot. You can turn this off if you don’t wish for the overlay.

The section labeled “Selection” allows you to modify these settings:

  • Ink color. Makes changes to the color of your selection border, which can be seen once you make a snip. A drop-down list will offer colors.
  • Show selection ink after snips are captured. If you select this option, you will be able to see the selection border, with the ink color you chose, around the snip.

Snipping tool options

When you finish choosing your options, click on the “OK” button and return to the main window.

How to Take a Basic Screenshot

Click on the down arrow, on the right side of the “New” button.

Following choices will appear:

  • Free-form Snip. With this snip, you’ll be able to draw shapes with your mouse and take a screenshot of your selected area.
  • Rectangular Snip. You can draw a rectangle with your mouse and take a screenshot of that rectangular selection.
  • Window Snip. With this snip, you can click on any open window in order to take a screenshot of the visible part of that window. If some content of the window is off-screen, that portion won’t be captured.
  • Full-screen Snip. You can take a screenshot of the whole display with this type of snip. Even if you have multiple monitors, all of them will appear in the screenshot.

Snipping tool optionsWhen you open the menu, you will see a black dot next to one of the selections. If you just click on the “New” button and don’t open its drop-down menu, the Snipping Tool will take the default type of screenshot. The default choice is always the last type of screenshot that you took.

If you select a type of snip and then change your mind, just click on the “Cancel” button before taking the screenshot. That will take you back to the Snipping Tool window.

How to Take a Delayed Screenshot

Before Windows 10, this tool was exactly the same as when it was first introduced in Windows Vista. Now, it still has all the exact features (in Windows 10) as before, with the addition of a delayed screenshot option. You will see the “Delay” button. Click on the down arrow next to it, and you will see numbers between 0 and 5. The number you choose indicates how many seconds the tool will wait between the moment you click on the “New” button and the time a screenshot will be taken.

Snipping tool options

With this option, you will have the time to open some menus in your window and include them in the screenshot.

How to Edit a Screenshot That You Captured

Screenshots that you take with the Snipping Tool will open in the editing window. The app’s editor lets you edit and add comments to the screenshots. You will also notice a few new options on the toolbar. Buttons “New” and “Delay” will take you back to the basic Snipping Tool window if you want to take additional screenshots.

To save your screenshot, click on the “Save” icon, and on “Copy” to copy your image to the clipboard. Also, click on the “Email” icon and a new email message will open, with the screenshot attached to it.

On the right side of these icons, you will see a couple of annotation tools. With the Pen, you can draw on your screenshot in various colors. Click on the “Pen” icon, and you can draw. If you wish to change the color of the Pen, click on the down arrow on the “Pen” icon and choose a color you like.

There is also a drop-down menu where you can select “Customize” in order to access even more colors. You can also change the style and thickness of your pen.

Notice the “Highlighter” icon as well; with it, you can highlight any part of your screenshot, using a thick see-through yellow line. That is the only color offered.

Finally, there is an Eraser tool which will make an eraser out of your cursor. With it, you can remove the comments you’ve made. This eraser doesn’t work like most erasers in other apps for editing images. No parts of your original screenshot will be erased. Also, you won’t be able to erase only some pieces of your annotations. You can erase a whole annotation by clicking on it with the eraser (for example, a line you drew).

Although there are definitely more powerful apps for taking screenshots and editing images, this built-in Snipping Tool is pretty convenient. If you take a screenshot every now and then, or you use a system which doesn’t have any other image editing apps installed, this tool is everything you will need. The Snipping Tool’s features are kind of limited, but overall, the app is great for taking basic screenshots.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here