How To Take A Screenshot on Macs, PCs, iPads, Androids and Chromebooks!

Screenshots are a useful, if not essential, skill for both students and teachers to have, but with so many devices out there, it can be hard to remember how to take a screenshot on an iPad, a Chromebook, a Mac or whatever else you might be using in your classroom. So, here is a quick rundown of all the native methods to do this, as well as a couple of recommendations for third-party services that will give you even more options.


The native screenshot tool on Macs is based around a number of keyboard shortcuts, but once you learn the ones you like best, you will be screenshotting all over the place. So, here is a rundown of what you need to know to take a screenshot on Macs:

  • Command+Shift+3: Takes a full screen screenshot and saves it to the desktop.
  • Command+Shift+4: Lets you select the area to capture, then saves to the desktop.
  • Command+Shift+4+Space: Click an active window to save it to the desktop.
  • Command+Control+Shift+3: Takes a screenshot of the screen, and saves it to the clipboard.
  • Command+Control+Shift+4: Lets you select the area to capture and saves it to the clipboard.
  • Command+Control+Shift+4+Space: Click an active window to save it to the clipboard.

Mac Desktop

Windows 7 & Windows 8 Desktop Mode

Many keyboards will still have the PrtScn (Print Screen) button. Pressing this will copy a full screen screenshot to the clipboard where you can paste it into another application. However, a much more versatile tool is the Windows Snipping Tool. It lets you capture all, or part, of your screen and save or email the capture right from the app. It comes free with all Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers. Learn more here.

Windows 8 “Metro Mode”

If you prefer the tiled interface of Windows 8 to the desktop version, and many do, then you have a number of options.

  • Windows key+PrtScn: Takes a full screen screenshot and saves it to your Pictures folder.
  • Windows key+Volume Down button: As above, but for Windows 8 tablet users.
  • PrtScn button: Copies a full screen screenshot to paste into another app.
  • Alt+PrtScn button: Captures a copy of the active to paste into another app.

iPads, iPod Touches and iPhones

iOS screenshots are quick and easy to take. Simply press the power and home button for a second, and then release. The screen will flash and you will hear a camera shutter sound (if your volume is loud enough). The image is saved to the Photos app. Just be sure not to hold the buttons on for too long or you will restart your device 🙂

iPad Screenshot


Android devices running Android 4.0 or later have a very similar method for screenshots as iOS and Windows 8 tablets. To take a screenshot on an Android device, simply press and hold the power button and the volume down button simultaneously for about a second or two. The screen will flash and you will see your screenshot disappear off into the top of your screen. This works best in pure versions of Android and when you don’t have other apps that assign additional functions to your volume control buttons.


To take a full screen screenshot on a Chromebook press the Ctrl + chromebook key keys. To capture a select area of the screen, use Ctrl+Shift+ chromebook key and click and drag to select the area you want to capture. Where do the screen captures go? Look in the Files app. Each screenshot is time stamped with the date and time it was taken. More Chromebook tips like this are right here.

chromebook screenshot

Multi-Platform Third Party Tools

Are there other ways to take screenshots on all these devices? Yes. LOTS! I will not be attempting to make an exhaustive list here because there are numerous apps and extensions available, but two I have grown to love are Snagit and Skitch.

I am a big fan of TechSmith’s Snagit app. I have the Mac, PC, and Chrome version of the app and use it often to take screenshots for tutorials and websites like this one! The Mac and PC versions are paid apps, but they are great value for money and let you annotate, crop and edit your images with ease. The Snagit for Chrome app is free in the Chrome Web Store and works well on all Chrome browsers, including Chromebooks. It also integrates nicely with Google Drive and their support team is first class.

Skitch is now owned by Evernote and is available for free for Mac, PC, Android and iOS devices. This cross platform availability is great for schools. The mobile apps do not take screenshots on Android or iOS, but they will let you annotate screenshots you have already taken with text, arrows, freehand drawings and more.

12 thoughts on “How To Take A Screenshot on Macs, PCs, iPads, Androids and Chromebooks!”

  1. I love this post! I did not know how to screen shot on my iBook. I kept looking for a print screen button.
    I had no idea all of the options to screen shot. I need this often on my ipad, for all kinds of daily school tasks.
    Thank you very much! Your posts are very helpful, and current!

  2. Evernote Web Clipper! It was quite a search and I’ve tried them ALL –TechSmit Snagit (too less editing), Awesome Screenshot (clumsy blur, no highlight marker), Nimbus (clumsy blur, no highlight marker), Lightshot (no blur, no eclipse) Screen Capture by Google (no longer available), qSnap (clumsy blur, no highlight marker) FireShot (no editing) – but there is fortunately the perfect Chromebook replacement for Microsoft Snipping Tool and this is called “Evernote Web Clipper”. Try it yourself!

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