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

Like Windows 7 and Windows 8, 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

Clicking on Win+PrntScr in Windows 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 is the Admin of and a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows for the period 2006-16. 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.