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How do you take a screenshot on Chromebook

by George Mensah
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Chromebooks are hybrid devices that provide the usability of the Android ecosystem in the form of a laptop; they run Chrome OS and have access to nearly all of the apps available on the Google Play Store. While there are several methods for taking a screenshot on your Chromebook, knowing the keyboard shortcuts and the screenshot menu will save you time. Chromebooks weren’t as popular a few years ago, but thanks to the pandemic, their sales increased exponentially in Q2 2021 (via Canalys). As more consumers invest in affordable yet capable Chromebooks, several mainstream manufacturers, including Lenovo, HP, and Dell, are focusing on the category.

How to screenshot using Chromebook

However, using a Chromebook may be intimidating for some users, particularly if they are unfamiliar with basic tasks such as taking a screenshot. There are several ways to grab what’s on the screen, depending on the type of Chromebook (tablet or laptop) and the devices it’s connected to (external keyboard or stylus). The screenshot options on a Chromebook are similar to those on an Apple MacBook in some ways. You can, for example, take a screenshot of the entire screen, a specific window, or the area you want to capture as a screenshot. You can also specify where you want your screenshots to be saved.

Take screenshots using the screenshot menu in Chrome OS

The Screen Capture tool is the simplest way to take a screenshot on a Chromebook, whether it is a tablet or a laptop. Google added the Screen Capture tool to Chrome OS 88, which allows users to take various types of screenshots. To open the Quick Settings menu, press Shift + Ctrl + show windows or tap on the section that displays the battery and time. Now, select or click the Screen Capture icon. A rectangular box with seven options will appear near the bottom of the screen. The steps for taking a partial screenshot are as follows.

Head to the Quick Settings menu and click/tap on Screen Capture.

Ensure the camera icon is highlighted and select the partial screenshot icon as shown above. 

You’ll notice that the screen dims. Now with your finger or the touchpad, drag and select the area you wish to capture. 

Once done, click/tap on Capture on the screen.

However, there are other screenshot options available within the rectangular box. The camera/video toggle, on the left, allows users to switch between taking screenshots and recording their screen. To the right are three options for capturing a fullscreen screenshot (everything on the screen), a partial screenshot (a specific area), or a window screenshot (active or selected window). There is also a cog icon for changing related settings and a cross icon to close the menu (via Google).

Keyboard shortcuts and other ways to take a screenshot on a Chromebook

Let’s look at some other ways to capture your screen now that you know how to take a screenshot and record it with the Screen Capture tool. If you’re not using an external keyboard with your Chromebook, you can take an all-screen screenshot by pressing Ctrl + show windows. This will immediately take a screenshot and save it to the Downloads folder in My Files. However, if you have a Chromebook with an external keyboard, it may have a dedicated screenshot button. By pressing the screenshot button, you should be able to access the Screen Capture menu and take a screenshot on your Chromebook. If your external keyboard lacks a screenshot button, pressing Shift + Ctrl + F5 will bring up the screenshot toolbar.

Because Chrome OS is based on Android, the classic power button + volume down combination can also be used to take screenshots on Chromebooks. Those who use a stylus on their Chromebook can capture a screenshot using stylus tools. To do so, navigate to the Settings section, select Device, and check the box next to “Show stylus tools in the shelf.” Now, in the bottom right corner, tap the small pencil icon and choose an option. The “Capture region” option captures a portion of the screen (drag and select with the stylus), whereas the “Capture Screen” option captures the entire display.

Where to find the screenshots on a Chromebook

When you take a screenshot on your Chromebook, it appears for a few seconds in the bottom right corner of the screen. To edit it, click the Edit button at the bottom of the thumbnail. Screenshots taken on your Chromebook are saved in the Downloads folder by default. You can open the Downloads folder by tapping the search key (if your Chromebook has one) and typing Downloads, or by clicking the circular icon in the bottom left corner (via Google). Alternatively, open the app tray on your Chromebook and select Files, then Downloads from the menu on the left. You can view screenshots alongside other items you’ve downloaded in this section.

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To change the location of your Chromebook’s screenshots, launch the Screen Capture tool by pressing Shift + Ctrl + show windows, and then tap on the settings icon. There are a few options under “Save to,” including Downloads and Screenshots. You can select one of these options or specify a specific folder to save your screenshots to. Another thing to keep in mind is that when you take a screenshot, it is automatically saved to your clipboard. As a result, you can paste the screenshot into several apps, including Gmail, Google Docs, and some photo editing apps, by pressing Ctrl + V.

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