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How to capture, edit and send screenshots on Windows or Mac like a pro

Learn how to capture a screenshot on your Windows PC or Mac, both with built-in tools on your device and purpose-built screen capture apps like Dropbox Capture for additional features.

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A photograph of a creative professional using their laptop to capture and share a screenshot.

When you’re trying to explain something, there’s nothing quite like including an image to help bring your message to life. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words – the same could be said for screenshots, which can be especially helpful when you need to show something you’re doing on your computer.

But how do you capture a screenshot?

In this guide, we’ll explain how to capture a screenshot using built-in tools on your Windows PC or Mac. We’ll also highlight how a purpose-built application like Dropbox Capture can take your screenshots to new heights.

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What is a screenshot?

A screenshot, sometimes referred to as a screengrab or snip, is an image that captures the contents of the screen on a computer, phone or any capable device with a display. Screenshots will often include either the entire screen, multiple screens, an individual window or a selected portion of the screen.

The ability to capture what you see on screen as an image has been around in some shape or form since the early days of computing, with a ‘print screen’ key being a common feature on most keyboards.

Today, the number of options and methods for capturing a screenshot is vast and can vary, depending on the device you’re using and what you want to do with your screenshot.

What are screenshots used for?

Screenshots are generally used to share – or store a record of – anything that might be on a computer screen.

This could be something as simple as taking a screenshot of a conversation in a messaging app to share with a friend or colleague, to capturing a detailed workflow with multiple windows open on the screen.

Depending on the type of information visible on your screen, you might want to edit – or omit entirely – specific elements. Say you’re capturing a screenshot of your online banking account, for example – you’d likely want to edit the screenshot to remove any personal information for security. 

How to capture a screenshot using basic, built-in tools

If you just need the absolute basics, you can use functionality built into your computer without the need for additional tools.

Capture a screenshot on Windows

To capture a screenshot on a Windows 10 or 11 device, simply press Windows Key + Shift + S to open the screenshot tool.

Once open, you can choose from the following capture methods at the top of the screen:

  • Rectangular snip
  • Freeform snip
  • Window snip
  • Fullscreen snip

With your option selected, click – and drag, if required – the desired area of the screen to capture your screenshot. The image will then be automatically added to your clipboard, ready for you to then hit Ctrl + V to paste into the app of your choosing.

If you want to save your screenshot as an image, either paste it into an image editing app like Paint3D or MS Paint and save it. You can also use a built-in legacy tool like the Snipping Tool, or the newer Snip & Sketch app.

Capture a screenshot on Mac

To capture a screenshot on a Mac, the keyboard shortcut will depend on the type of screenshot you want to capture:

  • Capture the entire screen – press Command + Shift + 3
  • Capture a section of the screen – press Command + Shift + 4
  • Capture a window or menu – press Command + Shift + 4, followed by the space bar
  • Record your screen – press Command + Shift + 5

After completing this step, your screenshot will either be captured automatically or you’ll be able to click – or click and drag – the desired portion of the screen.

Your screenshot will then pop up as a thumbnail in the corner of your screen, which you can click to edit or leave, after which it will automatically be saved to your desktop by default.

The limitations of built-in screenshot tools

While both Windows and Mac devices come with built-in screenshot functionality, these come with some limitations.

For instance, your options are limited to a few basic screen capture methods – what happens when you need to capture multiple steps in quick succession? You’ll also have to use multiple apps, or jump into a less user-friendly workflow, if you want to edit or share your screenshots.

Thankfully, there’s a better way to capture screenshots, along with screen recordings, GIFs and more – Dropbox Capture.

Introducing Dropbox Capture – the better way to capture your screen

With Dropbox Capture, it’s easy to make your point however you like, with the ability to take screenshots, record your screen or record GIFs and instantly share them with a link.

Feature-rich editing tools built into Dropbox Capture make it easy to quickly annotate your screenshot by drawing on it, adding shapes, blurring sections or even adding text.

If a screenshot isn’t making your point clearly enough, you can record your screen or create an animated GIF. You can even record audio from your microphone and video from your webcam if you want to add a voiceover or your smiling face.

An animated GIF demonstrating the core capabilities of Dropbox Capture

How to take a screenshot with Dropbox Capture

To get started, simply download the Dropbox Capture application to your Windows or Mac computer.

With the app installed and ready to go, let’s walk through what Dropbox Capture has to offer.

How to capture a screenshot on Windows or Mac

To capture a screenshot, open the Dropbox Capture app on your computer.

If you’re on Windows, you can do this by clicking the Dropbox Capture icon in your system tray – usually found in the bottom-right corner of your taskbar – or by opening the application from your Start menu.

On a Mac, you can open Dropbox Capture from your Dock, via the Launchpad icon in the Dock or by opening Finder and navigating to the Applications folder to find the icon for Dropbox Capture.

With the app open, click Screenshot from the list of options and the screenshot dialogue will open.

An animated GIF demonstrating the menu tray for Dropbox Capture and the screen capture options available

You can then follow the on-screen instructions to capture the entire screen, a section of the screen or a specific window.

After you’ve taken your screenshot, you’ll see a thumbnail of your screenshot pop up in the corner of your screen. You can then click the thumbnail or pencil icon to edit your screenshot, or click the link icon to copy a link to your clipboard for sharing.

How to take a screenshot of your entire screen

To take a screenshot of your entire screen, open Dropbox Capture and select Screenshot from the menu.

Once the screenshot dialogue appears, you can either click anywhere on the screen or press Enter to capture a screenshot of your entire screen.

How to take a screenshot of a window

To take a screenshot of a specific window, open Dropbox Capture and select Screenshot from the menu.

Once the screenshot dialogue appears, press Space and click the window you’d like to capture.

How to take a screenshot of a part of your screen

To take a screenshot of your entire screen, open Dropbox Capture and select Screenshot from the menu.

Once the screenshot dialogue appears, click and drag to select an area of your screen, then release your click to capture a screenshot of the chosen area.

How to edit a screenshot

Once you’ve captured your screenshot, click the pencil icon in the pop-up that appears to enter the editing screen.

Here, you can edit your screenshot in a number of ways using the options at the top of the window:

  • Text: add text annotations to your screenshot
  • Draw: draw on top of your screenshot
  • Highlight: draw transparent colouring on your screenshot 
  • Line: add a line shape to your screenshot
  • Arrow: add an arrow shape to your screenshot
  • Circle: add a circle shape to your screenshot
  • Square: add a square shape to your screenshot
  • Blur: cover a section of the image with a blurred filter, perfect for hiding sensitive information
  • Crop: remove any unwanted areas from the edges
  • Emoji: add a resizable emoji to give your screenshot a little personality
  • Colour: select a colour for the current editing tool
  • Stroke width: where applicable, adjust the line width for the current tool

If you’d like to change something at any point, you can click on anything you’ve added to resize it, move it, rotate it, change its colour or stroke width or delete it entirely.

Once you’re happy with your edits, click Save.

Need to use the image right away? You can select Save and copy image or Save and copy link from the drop-down options.

How to copy a screenshot

Once you’ve taken a screenshot using Dropbox Capture, it will be automatically saved to the cloud in a dedicated folder.

To access this folder, head to

From here, you can find your screenshot and hover over the thumbnail to select a copy option from the icons displayed:

  • Copy image – copy the image itself to your clipboard, perfect for pasting into a presentation
  • Copy link– copy a link to the image, ideal for scenarios where you want to send someone the image file

How to send a screenshot from a computer

If you need to send a screenshot taken with Dropbox Capture on your computer, you have a number of simple options available to you:

An animated GIF demonstrating how to share a link to a screenshot or screen recording using Dropbox Capture

If you’ve chosen to record a video or GIF instead of capturing a screenshot, you can see how many times it’s been viewed when sharing with a link.

Capture it better, with Dropbox Capture

Whether you’re looking for advanced customisation features, easy sharing or simply a way to save yourself time, there’s no better way to capture screenshots than with Dropbox Capture.

Save time and make your point clearly.

Save time and make your point clearly.