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How to Instantly Save Print Screen Screenshots as an Image on Windows


Do you often take screenshots using the Print Screen shortcut but have to paste them into another app before you can save them? Would you like all screenshots captured via the Print Screen key to be saved directly to a folder rather than on the Windows clipboard? Windows allows users to bypass the clipboard and save Print Screen screenshots directly to a folder.


In this article, we’ll demonstrate how to do that and save the screenshots in the format of your choice. Also, we will discuss some tips for taking better screenshots.


Why Does the Print Screen Key Save Snapshots to the Clipboard?

By default, when you take a screenshot with the Print Screen key, the screenshot is immediately copied to the Windows clipboard. Here are some of the primary reasons for this:

  • Users can paste the captured screenshots into their image editing app directly, edit the images, and save them in their desired format.
  • Screenshots can be directly shared via Windows apps or the browser without having to be uploaded separately.

Print Screen is quite handy if your situation fits the ones above, but if you intend to save snapshots directly to your computer, Print Screen saving images to a clipboard can be pretty annoying.

If that’s the case for you, too, don’t worry. Windows allows you to save Print Screen screenshots directly to your screenshot folders. Let’s see how you can do that.

How to Save Print Screen Images Directly to Your Device

You have to use a different key combination to save Print Screen snapshots directly to your device. Instead of pressing Print Screen alone, you must press both Print Screen and Windows (Win) keys simultaneously. Doing so will save a screenshot of your current screen to your device, but where are these screenshots stored, and how can you access them?

To access the screenshots taken using PrntScn + Win key combination, open File Explorer and navigate to This PC > Pictures > Screenshots.

Accessing the Saved Screenshots in the Screenshot Folder by Navigating to the Path in Windows File Explorer

You can also access these screenshots through the Recent files section in Quick access.

Accessing the Saved Screenshot by Going to the Recent Files Section in Quick Access of Windows File Explorer

How to Change the Location of Saved Snapshots on Windows

To change the location of screenshots captured using the PrntScn + Win key combination, follow the below steps:

  1. Open File Explorer and navigate to This PC > Pictures.
  2. Then, right-click the Screenshots folder and select Properties.
  3. Navigate to the Location tab in the Properties window.
  4. Click on the Move button.
    Clicking on the Move Button after Navigating to the Location Tab in the Properties Window of the Screenshot Folder in Windows File Explorer

  5. Navigate to the folder where you want to save new screenshots and click Select Folder.
  6. Next, click Apply, select Yes in the pop-ups, and click OK.

That’s it. Every screenshot you capture from now on using PrntScn + Win keys combination will be saved to the new location.

If you prefer to save screenshots captured with the Print Screen shortcut to the Downloads folder, select the Downloads folder as the target location when following the above instructions. This way, every new capture will be saved to the Downloads folder.

How to Save PrtScn Screenshots in Either PNG or JPEG Format

Screenshots taken with the Print Screen key or combinations are saved in the PNG format by default. Therefore, if you want to get the final output of snapshots in the PNG format, there is no need to make any changes. On the other hand, you can’t directly capture screenshots in the JPEG format using Print Screen, so you’ll need to rely on a workaround.

If you want to save screenshots in JPEG format, follow these steps:

  1. Use the Print Screen button to capture the window you want.
  2. Launch the Windows Paint app.
  3. In Paint, press CTRL + V to paste the captured snapshot.
  4. Navigate to the File tab in the top-left corner of the Paint app.
  5. Go to the Save as menu and select JPEG picture.
    Clicking on the JPEG Option by Going to the Save As Menu in the Files Tab of the Windows Paint App

If you don’t want to use this method, you can also use other Windows tools to take screenshots, such as Windows Snipping Tool, which will allow you to save captured screenshots in your preferred format, take delayed screenshots, edit captured screens, and do much more.

Tips to Take Print Screen Screenshots More Efficiently

The Print Screen feature in Windows makes it easy to capture screenshots, but there are a few ways you can make it more efficient. The following tips will help you be more productive when taking snapshots with Print Screen:

  • Use the Lightshot tool to enhance your screenshot-taking experience with Print Screen. Using this tool, you can capture snapshots of selective screen areas, edit them using the features it offers, and save them in the desired format after you’re done.
  • When capturing too many screenshots for a separate project, change the location where the images are saved. This way, screenshots won’t get mixed up with previously saved images, and you will have no trouble zipping the folder and sharing it.
  • Don’t limit yourself to taking screenshots with the Print Screen key only. Instead, check out how to use other hotkeys Windows supports to take screenshots.
  • Use Print Screen to capture screenshots directly with the Windows Snipping Tool more efficiently. For that, right-click the Windows Start button and select Settings. Navigate to the Accessibility tab and click Keyboard under Interaction.
    Clicking on the Keyboard Under Interaction Settings by Navigating to the Accessibility Tab of Windows Settings App

    After that, turn on the toggle next to Use the Print screen button to open screen snipping.

    Turning on the Toggle Next to Use the Print Screen Button to Open Screen Snipping Option in Windows Settings App

Aside from the tips above, we have a guide on more modifiers that speed up the screenshot-taking process on Windows. Don’t forget to check it out and see how to make the screenshotting process even faster.

What If the Print Screen Key Doesn’t Work Properly?

While it’s unlikely that Print Screen will stop grabbing the screenshots for you, it can stop working if there are problems with the Print Screen keyboard key, the F-lock key is disabled, there’s third-party interference, or you’re using outdated keyboard drivers.

If this happens to you, you can quickly resolve the problem by following a few steps. In our guide on fixing the Print Screen key not working on Windows, we have covered all the fixes you can use to resolve the problem.

Save Print Screen Screenshots More Efficiently on Windows

Capturing screenshots is one of the most common tasks users perform throughout the day. We hope our tips will help you capture screenshots on Windows more efficiently. Also, you should now be able to save them in the format of your choice.

Furthermore, try third-party screenshot apps to take your screenshot experience to a whole new level. Several popular choices, including Snagit, PicPick, and ShareX, are worth checking out.

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