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Quick Tip: Snip & Sketch Is Windows 10’s Built-In Powerful Screenshot Tool

an image of the Snip & Sketch tool.

If you constantly need to take screenshots on your computer, you might have sought out something better than Windows’ default fullscreen (Win + PrtSc), or single-window (Alt + PrtSc) screenshot tool. Did you know that there’s a more powerful option already installed as of the late 2018 update? It’s called Snip & Sketch (formerly “Screen Sketch”), and it’s surprisingly well-integrated into the system.

Welcome to Quick Tips, a series where we offer tips and tricks that aren’t necessarily new but may have gone under the radar or otherwise not be well known. 

To try it out, just press the Windows key or click the “Start” button, and search for “Snip & Sketch.” Then, click “New” to start a new screenshot. This will minimize the tool’s window, and let you begin a screenshot of whatever’s underneath.

an image of the Snip & Sketch freeform capture tool.

The toolbar at the top of the screen allows a surprising amount of variety when it comes to grabbing images. From left to right: you can draw a rectangle with your mouse, free-form draw a shape to capture (the remainder will be transparent), grab just a single window, or grab the entire screen. By default, these selections are copied, and can be placed in any graphics program like Paint or Photoshop with Ctrl+V.

Best of all, you can set this tool up as a replacement for your standard Print Screen function, activated by the dedicated button on your keyboard. (On some smaller laptops, this is a secondary key activated with the “Fn” button.) This will activate the Snip & Sketch capture action each time you press the button.

an image of the Windows 10 keyboard settings menu.

To set this up, go to the main Windows Settings menu, click “Ease of Access,” then scroll down to “Keyboard.” Alternatively, you can just search for “Snip & Sketch” in the Settings search bar. In the Print Screen Shortcut area, toggle the “Use the PrtScn button to open screen snipping” toggle to the “On” position. You’re ready to go. If you ever want to go back to the simpler Print Screen function, or just want to use a different tool, toggle it back to “Off.”

If for some reason you don’t have Snip & Sketch installed on your PC, you can get it directly from Microsoft here. It’s free.

Michael Crider Michael Crider
Michael Crider has been writing about computers, phones, video games, and general nerdy things on the internet for ten years. He’s never happier than when he’s tinkering with his home-built desktop or soldering a new keyboard. Read Full Bio »