How to take a screenshot on a Chromebook
Screenshots are a convenient way to take a picture of your screen and save it for later use. To take a screenshot on a Chromebook press the ctrl + show windows buttons at the same time. Read on for more details and important Chromebook screenshot features you won't want to miss.
What is a screenshot?
Screenshots are a quick snapshot of what is on your screen at any given time.
This comes in handy for information you want to access that might not be there the next time you look for it. Things like a tweet or Instagram post that might be deleted; a recipe you want to reference for later; or a still shot of a videogame, TV show, or movie that you want to send to your friends.
Screenshots are a basic and important tool available right at your fingertips.
What are the different types of screenshots?
There are several different types of screenshots you can choose from—all of which are available on your Chromebook.
- A full screenshot is a screenshot of the entire screen
- A window screenshot is a picture of the window you are currently working in
- A partial screenshot captures a part of the screen
- A screen recording takes a video of your desktop
What's different about taking a screenshot on a Chromebook?
If you're used to MacBooks or Windows laptops, there's a different trick for taking a screenshot on a Chromebook.
The first thing to keep in mind is that Chromebook keyboards don't have numerical function keys (F1, F2, etc.), so you'll have to familiarize yourself with the unique Chromebook keys located on the top row of your keyboard.
Pay special attention to the show windows button. It looks like a rectangle with two vertical lines on the right side, and it's located in the middle of the top row. The show windows button is the key to nearly all of the shortcuts we'll look into below.
How do you take a full screen screenshot?
A full screen screenshot takes a picture of everything on your screen. To take a full screenshot press the ctrl + show windows buttons at the same time.
How do you take a partial screenshot?
A partial screenshot captures a portion of the screen.
- Press ctrl + shift + show windows.
- Click and drag the crosshair icon to select the area you want to capture. If you're not happy with the area you selected, drag the small dots at the corners and edges of the window until you get the sized box you want.
- Click Capture.
How do you take a window screenshot?
This captures the window you are currently working in—without including the shelf, desktop, or other windows you have open.
Keep in mind that there isn't a keyboard shortcut to capture a window screenshot. Instead, follow the instructions below for using the Quick Settings panel, and select the window icon in the last step.
How do you take a screenshot by using Quick Settings?
The Chrome OS 89 update gives users an option to take a screenshot from the Quick Settings panel on your shelf. The Quick Settings menu is located on your desktop. It's the group of icons that show you the time, battery life, and WiFi connection.
- Click on the Quick Settings panel
- Click Screen capture
- Choose one of the icons for full screen, partial screen, or window
How do you take a screenshot in tablet mode?
Using your 2 in 1 device in tablet mode and don't have immediate access to a keyboard? There's a handy screenshot shortcut for you too. Press the power button and volume down button at the same time to automatically take a full screen screenshot.
Note: This won't allow you to take a partial screenshot, but you can always crop your screenshot later using a photo editor.
How do you take a screenshot with an external keyboard?
There's also an easy work-around for anyone using an external non-Chrome OS keyboard. Since your keyboard layout, specifically Chrome's top row keys, will differ slightly, the keyboard shortcuts mentioned above won't work. Do this instead:
- For a full screenshot press ctrl + F5
- For a partial screenshot press ctrl + shift + F5
I have an older version of Chrome. How do I get the same built-in screen capture tool?
If you have an older version of Chrome (OS 88 or earlier), you can enable Chromebook's screen capture tool by using Chrome Flags.
Flags are Chrome's experimental features. While they may cause some glitches in your user experience, many Flags are in the testing stages before being rolled out in future updates.
- Open Chrome
- Copy and paste this into your browser: chrome://flags#screen-capture
- Select Enabled from the drop-down menu
- Restart Chrome
- Take a screenshot using any of the methods listed above
Where are Chromebook screenshots saved?
All Chromebook screenshots are saved as PNG files. You can access screenshot files in your downloads folder, in the notifications pop-up tab, or in your tote.
How do you access screenshots in the downloads folder?
To find your screenshots by using the downloads folder, follow these steps:
- Open Launcher. This is on your desktop shelf, and it looks like a dot inside a circle.
- Select Files.
- Go to My Files > Downloads.
All screenshots are automatically saved to your downloads folder. The file name will be "Screenshot" followed by the date and time the screenshot was taken.
If you can't find it, select "Date Modified" so that the most recent file is on top. If you recently took your screenshot, it should be the first file listed.
How do you access screenshots from the notifications tab?
Alternatively, you can access your screenshot by clicking on the notifications tab. It's a small pop-up window that appears in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen for ten seconds after a screenshot is taken. You can choose to edit, delete, show in folder, or copy to your clipboard.
Note: With the Chrome OS 89 update, screenshots will automatically copy to your clipboard. That means you can simply paste the image wherever you need it by pressing ctrl + v.
How do you access screenshots from the tote?
The tote is a new storage space in the Chrome OS 89 update. You can find it on your shelf right next to your Quick Settings panel. You'll find a small preview of your most recent screenshots waiting for you there. Just click and go.
How do you upload a screenshot to Google Drive?
Need to share or save your screenshot? Upload it to Google Drive just like you would any other file. You can use one of the following two methods.
- Open Launcher.
- Select Files.
- Click My Files > Downloads.
- You'll see your screenshot image file listed on the right, and a Google Drive tab listed on the left. Drag the screenshot to the Google Drive tab.
- Go to your Google Drive.
- Click New in the upper left-hand corner.
- Select File Upload. This will automatically open your Downloads folder.
- Choose the image file you want to upload, then click Open.
How do you copy and paste a screenshot?
With the Chrome OS 89 update, your last screenshot will automatically be copied to your clipboard. All you need to do is press ctrl + v to paste the image where you need it.
How do you paste multiple screenshots from the clipboard?
Since the clipboard manager can now store up to five files, you have the ability to paste any one of the last five screenshots you've taken. While working on a new document, press the search key + v for a list of files currently in your clipboard. Click the file you want, and voilà!
How do you copy and paste using older versions of Chrome?
Working with a Chromebook that doesn't have the OS 89 update? Then wait for the notification tab to pop up immediately after taking a screenshot. Click copy to clipboard, and then ctrl + v to paste.
How do you edit a screenshot?
Easy. You can make basic changes to your screenshot by using your Chromebook's built-in photo viewer and editor called Gallery. To access the editor:
- Click Launcher
- Click Files
- Go to My Files > Downloads
- Double-click on the screenshot you want to edit
This will automatically open your screenshot in Gallery. On the top panel, you'll see options to crop, rotate, rescale, apply lighting filters, and annotate. After making your changes select, done > save.
What about other screenshot apps and extensions?
If you need even more functionality than Chrome's built-in screen capture has to offer, then you can choose from one of the following apps. These will allow you to save screenshots in multiple file formats and edit screenshots using a bigger selection of features.
Chromebook screenshot cheat sheet
Don't want to forget what you just read? Here are the Chromebook screenshot shortcuts you need, all in one place.
- Full screenshot: ctrl + show windows
- Partial screenshot: ctrl + shift + show windows
- Quick Settings shortcut: Click Quick Settings, then Screen capture
- Tablet mode: power + volume down
- External (non-chrome OS) keyboard: ctrl + F5, or ctrl + shift + F5