How to Printscreen

The printscreen function in Windows can be useful for several reasons, including making a copy of an error screen for troubleshooting, and making a copy of a specific window for illustration purposes, such as creating a helpfile or technical manual. For example, most of the screenshots on these Solutions pages were made using the printscreen function.

To make a copy of the screen on your monitor, simply press the "Print Screen" button on your keyboard. This will copy the entire screen to the clipboard, and you can then paste the screen copy into an application such as Word or the Paint program using the CTRL-V key combination. Another way to paste the screen copy into an application is, after hitting the Print Screen button, open the application, then click on FILE, then on PASTE.

If you want to copy just one specific window on your screen, click the heading of the window once to select that window, then use the keyboard combination of ALT-PRINTSCREEN. This will copy the window to the clipboard, and you can then paste the window into Word or Paint as above.

One common use for the printscreen function is for troubleshooting errors. Many Windows errors involve long strings of seemingly random numbers and letters, such as the error example below. Manually writing these error messages down can be time-consuming and inaccurate, but getting the exact error message can be extremely useful in assisting a technician to solve the problem.

Using the printscreen function allows you to get an exact copy of the error message, which can then be saved, printed, or emailed to a technician for assistance.