How to use print screen on a laptop

Written by anna roberts
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How to use print screen on a laptop
Modern Windows software has made it easy to print the contents of your laptop screen. (laptop image by jedphoto from

The "Print Screen" command is a useful function of your PC if you know how to use it. Before graphics were common on the Internet, DOS systems would print the screen that you were actually viewing. However, it didn't work right with anything except plain text. Eventually, the growing use of graphics made that system impractical. Modern Windows systems simply make a duplicate of the screen that you are viewing and copy it to the clipboard.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Locate the "Print Screen" key on the keyboard. The key may be labelled with an abbreviation, such as "PrtSc", and is usually found in the top row of keys.

  2. 2

    Copy the content you are viewing to the clipboard by pressing "Print Screen." If your "Print Screen" or "PrtSc" command is located inside a small box on the same key as "Insert" or another command, press "Function" or "Fn" and the key at the same time. Otherwise, just press the "PrtSc" key.

  3. 3

    Copy the screen from the clipboard into another program, such as Microsoft Paint or WordPad, by pasting. Any text or image editing software will do.

  4. 4

    Print the screen you have just copied.

Tips and warnings

  • If this sequence does not work on your particular laptop, remember that there may be different key commands.
  • If your "Print Screen" key shares a button with another command, "Ctrl" may be the activator, rather than "Fn".
  • Hitting the "Ctrl" key and the letter "V" at the same time is a shortcut for pasting.
  • These instructions apply to the Windows operating system. If you use a Macintosh, you will need directions for the "Screen Grab" key command.

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