Snipping Tool in Windows 10 / 8 / 7: Tips & Tricks to capture screenshots

Like Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 too includes the Snipping Tool which lets you take screenshots in your Windows computer. This Snipping Tool or SnippingTool.exe is located in the System32 folder but it (shortcut) can also be accessed via the following location:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Accessories

Snipping Tool for Windows

Lets us have a look at ways to use the Snipping Tool in Windows 8 or Windows 7, effectively.

Capture screenshots in Windows

When on the Metro UI or Start Screen, you can click on the Snipping Tool tile to open it. The tool will open and you will find yourself immediately on your desktop. When in the Desktop mode, you can open it by typing Snipping Tool in the Charms Bar Search. If you use it regularly, you can also create its desktop shortcut to access it easily.

To pin it as a Tile, when on the Windows 8 Start Screen, right click on the screen (not the tile). Click on the ‘All App’ option. In the bar that pops up at the bottom of the screen, you will see Snipping Tool in All apps. Simply right-click on it and choose the ‘Pin to Start’ option to put it on your Start screen as a Tile.

Open Snipping Tool using Hotkey

If you are a frequent user of the Snipping Tool, you can create a hotkey for it. To do so open the System32 folder and right-click on SnippingTool.exe (or on its shortcut in the Program/Accessories folder). Select Properties. Here, you can set a hotkey for it. I have as an example selected F5. So to open the snipping tool, all I have to do next time is press F5.

Snipping Tool for Windows

The Snipping Tool allows you to take 4 different types of screenshots:

  1. Free-form Snip lets you draw and captures any irregular part of the screen
  2. Rectangular Snip will allow you to drag the cursor around an object to form a rectangle
  3. Window Snip will let you select an open window, such as a browser window or dialog box and let you capture it
  4. Full-screen snip will capture the entire screen when you select this type of snip.

Once you have changed the Settings to your requirements, you can click on New or Ctrl+PrtnScr to take captures.

Win+PrntScr in Windows 8

Clicking on Win+PrntScr in Windows 8 will let you capture the screenshot as per your settings. The image is automatically saved in your Pictures folder.

Disable white overlay

When the Snipping Tool is open and active, a white overlay appears. If you want to turn it off, you can do so via its Options. Uncheck the option to Show screen overlay when Snipping Tool is active.

To save the image, you have to click on the Save Snip button An extra feature in Windows 8 is that the full screen shots are automatically saved in your Pictures folder.

If you wish to share a snip, you can click the Arrow on the Send Snip button, and then select an (email) option from the menu.

The Snipping Tool will not normally work on the start screen. You will be able to only capture the full start screen using the Win+PrntScr buttons and not a part of the start screen. If you click your allotted hotkey when on the start screen, your windows will automatically switch to the desktop mode with the snipping tool opened. But there is a trick to do so, which we will see a bit later!

Capture Context Menu using Snipping Tool

If you wish to capture screenshots of your context menu  start Snipping Tool and click on Esc. Next right-click on the desktop, file or folder and then press Ctrl+PrntScr. This will let you capture the right-click context menu. In Windows 7 you can also capture the start menu using this trick.

Capture parts of Windows 8 Start Screen

In Windows 8, to capture a part of your start screen, open Snipping Tool, press Esc. Next, press Win key yo switch to Start Screen and then press Ctrl+PrntScr. Now move your mouse cursor around the desired area. This will let you capture a part of your Windows 8 start screen. To capture the entire Start Screen, you can of course, press Win+PrntScr.

NOTE: Windows 10 lets you set time delays to capture screenshots.


If you are aware of any more tips or tricks for the Snipping Tool, please do share them in the comments section.

You may also want to check out our freeware Windows Screen Capture Tool that allows you to capture full screen, selected screen area, windows, webpages and more. You can also add watermarks to your captured screenshot or edit the image using its basic image editor.

UPDATE: Check out the new Microsoft Snip Screen Capture Tool.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse aka HappyAndyK is an end-user Windows enthusiast, a Microsoft MVP in Windows, since 2006, and the Admin of Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.
  • Thrifty, Frugal Mom

    Thanks for a great tutorial. We just got a new computer and it has Windows 8 and honestly, I am going crazy with it! I do not like it at all so far. Anyway…that’s now what I was going to say here.

    Actually I can’t figure out how to access the Systems 32 folder in Windows 8. I want to set the Snipping Tool as a hot key but can’t figure out where the folder is with this new Windows. Thanks!!

  • Rgreen45

    I just succeeded and I went to computer OS (C:) then Program Files. Go down to Windows. When you open this you will find the System32 file. Go down and you will find the Snipping Tool. Once there if you right click and save it to your desktop as an Icon it will be there. I hope my instructions are clear and it this will help you.
    My thanks to the initial poster for the suggestion and the location of this tool. I like to take small pics with my genealogy research.

  • Kim

    Thank you, I was able to figure it with your help. Much appreciate!

  • Metsis

    In order to make a shortcut key to SnippingTool in MS Windows 8, you have to go to the start screen, type “snipping”, select the tool with secondary click and select Open file location to get the OS shortcut to the tool and first there open “Properties” in the context menu. If you go directly to the System32 folder, you won’t see Shortcut tab in the properties.

    But, this shortcut key only opens SnippingTool, it doesn’t capture any part of the screen, i.e. you have to click once more to capture… Not good. What is again so difficult here for MS? Mac has had a built-in key combination for partial capture (and for capture of the active window and for the whole screen) at least a decade. You have to resort to a third party tool to get the same functionality in MS Windows.

  • Anand Khanse

    You could consider setting a hotkey for opening the Snipping Tool.

  • Kira Auriell

    Thank you so much for this! I just purchased a Dell laptop last night with Windows 8 and it is extremely frustrated to say the least.

  • Kira Auriell

    Thank you!

  • Peter Addor

    Interesting, but on the Surface there is no PrntScr key

  • ph

    Thanks for a helpful and informative entry about the snipping tool. Nicely written. I had assumed the snipping tool was completely bare-bones. But has some very handy features I didn’t know about.

  • Juicy Foruit

    Like the “Prnt Scrn” button?
    Or possibly the “Alt + Prnt Scrn” option for capturing the active window?
    Or perhaps the “Windows Key + Prnt Scrn” option to capture the entire screen and save it to the Pictures folder?
    ***note you may need to hold down the “Fn” button to get it to work on a laptop***

  • Anand Khanse

    Try the WinKey+Volume down keys on Windows 8 / Surface tablet!

  • CoolblueIce

    I can’t speak to other computer models, but my new Windows 8.1 “Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus” (way too long of a name for a computer model) requires the inclusion of the Fn key in order to access the “Prt Sc” (print screen) button…

    What that means is if I want to capture a screen shot, including a drop-down menu, I must take the following steps:

    1. Open the window I want to capture.
    2. Open the snipping tool.
    3. Press the “Esc” (escape) button on the keyboard.
    4. Physically drop down the menu I want to include in the capture.
    5. Simultaneously press the Ctrl – Fn – Prt Sc buttons (three buttons in total).

    This will leave the drop-down menu visible and will create the Snipping Tool “cross hairs”. I then have only to drag the cross-hairs where I want them (as normal for the Snipping Tool)

    Again, this is only for this particular Samsung “Ultrabook” running Win 8.1. These steps may or may not apply to other Samsung models or computers from other manufacturers.

  • Pooka780

    I recently purchased an HP Envy printer. Since then, when I use the snipping tool and paste it in a Word document, the imagine only partially prints. It looks fine in the print preview. Any suggestions?

  • Gget Pattaraporn

    How to snip 3 pages of document?

  • Ivy

    Snipping Tool is better than the keyboard shortcut way, but lacks annotating options. So I use Free Screenshot Capture to take screenshots on me Win 8.

  • dDude777

    Is Gmail part of the email option when clicking the arrow on the send snip button in Windows 7 or 8?

  • dDude777

    I think you can only snip what visible at any given time.

  • nasdaq

    Some screenshot tools can do this. As far as I’m concerned, FastStone, Apowersoft Free Screen Capture are two options. Their “Window” capture mode enables you to capture all the contents within a window, including the parts that are not visible on the screen. Choose the Window capture mode, and click a window, then the contents in the window will scroll down, indicating that the contents are being captured.

  • AlekseyShi

    In win8 after pressed hotkey to call SnippingTool is ready to snip with no need press New in menu. But in Win7 needs to be press New button in menu to start capture.

  • crewman

    (I know this is years old, but in case anyone else comes across it….)

    The first 10 programs on your taskbar automatically have hotkeys assigned to them. Push the windows key + a number 1 – 0. This will open the program at that position in your taskbar. GIven that, you could move the Snipping Tool program to one of those spots.

  • Elin Tate

    Very nice! Thank you!!!
    It may be old… but, it is new to me – and works with the new W10 :)

  • Elin Tate

    Again… this may be old, but it still works today (with W10 on a Dell laptop)!

  • Wendy Maariyah Palfreyman

    Help please. I happily use and send Snipping Tool items at my work, so do know how to use it.
    Problem at home is that my home desktop system says that I need to link an email programme to the snipping tool programme. How do I do that?

  • Anand Khanse

    This shouldn’t be happening. SnippingTool.exe is an executable file/tool that is located in the System32 folder.

  • dDude777

    You could save then paste the snip job into an email composed separately if no email client is linked or if you rather not link one.

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