How to Use the Snipping Tool in Windows 11

If you need to take screenshots often, the snipping tool can be an essential utility to use. Whether for work or gaming, it allows you to take a quick picture of something on your screen. It also allows you to quickly annotate and share the screenshot online. This guide shows you how to use the snipping tool to take screenshots in Windows 11.

The first and most common way to launch the snipping tool is using the search bar.

  1. Open the Search icon. You’ll find it in the taskbar. 

    Click on the search icon
    Click on the search icon
  2. Type in “snipping tool.”

    Type in "snipping tool" in the search bar
    Type in “snipping tool” in the search bar
  3. Click on the Snipping Tool icon that appears in the search results.

    Click on the snipping tool icon
    Click on the snipping tool icon
  4. Select a screenshot mode from the drop-down menu
    Select a screenshot mode
    Select a screenshot mode

    There are four screenshot modes available in the Snipping Tool:

    Free-form mode: Draw any shape you want on your screen.

    Rectangular mode: Drag the cursor to select a rectangular area on your screen.

    Window mode: Select a specific window, such as a web browser or document.

    Full-screen mode: Take a screenshot of your entire screen.

  5. The screen will dim once you select a screenshot mode, so you can draw or pick the area you want to screenshot.

    Select the area you want to screenshot
    Select the area you want to screenshot
  6. When you finish, release the mouse button.
  7. Once you have completed the steps, the Snipping Tool editor will appear; this is where you can crop, annotate, save and share your screenshot. 

    The snipping tool editor interface
    The snipping tool editor interface

Launch Snipping Tool from Keyboard Shortcut (Windows key + Shift + S)

You can also launch the Snipping Tool from a keyboard shortcut – this method is much faster and can save you a few clicks.

  1. Press Windows key + Shift + S on your keyboard
  2. Once you press the shortcut keys, your screen will dim, and you will see a small toolbar appear at the top of your screen.

    snipping toolbar
    snipping toolbar
  3. Select the mode you want to use from the toolbar.

    Select the mode you want to use
    Select the mode you want to use
  4. Drag the cursor to select the area you want to screenshot.

    Select the area you want to screenshot
    Select the area you want to screenshot
  5. When you finish, release the mouse button, and the snipping tool will save your screenshot to your clipboard.
  6. To open the screenshot on the snipping tool, click on the “snipping tool” message in the bottom right corner of your screen.

    A message appears in the right corner of your screen
    A message appears in the right corner of your screen

How to Edit Screen Captures with the Snipping Tool

After taking a screenshot, you can edit it with the Snipping Tool. The editing options are fundamental, but they are enough to make simple changes to your screenshot.

1. Ballpoint Pen

The ballpoint pen is for adding annotations to your screenshots.

Click on the Ballpoint Pen button and then start drawing on your screenshot.

Add annotations to your screenshots using the Ballpoint Pen
Add annotations to your screenshots using the Ballpoint Pen

2. Highlighter

If you want to call attention to a specific part of your screenshot, the highlight tool is perfect for you.

Click on the Highlighter button and then drag the cursor over the area you want to highlight

Call attention to a specific part of your screenshot using the "Highlighter"
Call attention to a specific part of your screenshot using the “Highlighter”

3. Eraser

The eraser tool will erase any annotations you don’t want.

Just click on the Eraser button and start erasing.

Erase any annotations you don’t want
Erase any annotations you don’t want

4. Ruler

The ruler tool adds straight lines to your screenshot or measures distances.

Click on the Ruler button and drag the cursor over the area you want to measure.

If you want to rotate the ruler, move your mouse over the degree number (0° by default) in the center of the ruler and use the scroll wheel or two fingers to rotate it.

Use the ruler to add straight lines to your screenshot
Use the ruler to add straight lines to your screenshot

5. Protractor

The protractor is similar to the ruler tool, but it’s for adding angles to your screenshot.

To use the protractor, click on the Protractor button and drag the cursor over the area to which you want to measure or add an angle. Also, you can change the scale of the protractor by scrolling the mouse or utilizing two of your fingers to make it smaller or bigger.

Use the protractor to draw angles
Use the protractor to draw angles

6. Touch Writing

The touch writing tool is for adding handwritten annotations to your screenshot. Select the Touch Writing button and start writing on your snapshot.

Add handwritten annotations to your screenshot using the "hand writing' button
Add handwritten annotations to your screenshot using the “hand writing’ button

7. Crop

The crop tool is a feature that allows you to choose the portion of your image you would like to keep. Click on the “Crop” button in the toolbar and select the area you want to keep.

Select the area you want to keep using the "crop" button
Select the area you want to keep using the “crop” button

8. Undo (Ctrl + Z)

If you make a mistake while annotating your screenshot, hit Ctrl + Z on your keyboard, and you can undo your last action.

9. Redo (Ctrl + Y)

If you change your mind again, you can hit Ctrl + Y to redo the last action. 

Redo your last action using the "redo" button
Redo your last action using the “redo” button

How to Delay the Snipping Time

Windows 11 added a new feature that allows you to delay your snip for up to 10 seconds. This feature can be helpful if you want to snip a popup or if you want to take a screenshot of something that you need to open first.

  1. Select the mode you want to use from the toolbar.

    Select the mode you want to use
    Select the mode you want to use
  2. Set the “Delay snip to a specific time after which you would like to snap a photo.

    Set the Delay snip to a certain time
    Set the Delay snip to a certain time
  3. After choosing one of three pre-defined time delays: Snip in 3 secondsSnip in 5 seconds, or Snip in 10 seconds, click New.
  4. When the delay is up, the snipping tool will pop up. Use your mouse to select the area you want to snip and release the mouse button to start the process.

Note: This option is not available in the Full-screen mode.

How to Save, Share, Print, and Copy Your Screenshot

When you finish editing your screenshot, you might want to save it, share it with someone, or print it out. Windows 11 makes it easy for you to do all of that!

Save Screenshot

To save your screenshot, click on the “Save as button. You can also press Ctrl + S on your keyboard.

Click on the "Save as" button to save your screenshot
Click on the “Save as” button to save your screenshot

After selecting Save, a window will appear, allowing you to select the location and name for your screenshot.

Select the location and name for your screenshot
Select the location and name for your screenshot

Share Screenshot

If you want to share your screenshot, select the Share button and choose how you want to share it. For example, you can share it as a link, an email, or even a social media post.

Share your screen shot using the "share" button
Share your screenshot using the “share” button

You can print the snipped photo by clicking on the Print button.

You can find it by selecting the three-dots icon in the upper right corner of the app. Once you hit the three-dot menu button, a drop-down menu containing the Print option will appear. Click on it, then pick the printer connected to your device to print the photo.

Print your screenshot using the "Print" button
Print your screenshot using the “Print” button

Copy Screenshot

If you only need a copy of your screenshot and don’t want to save the whole file, click on the Copy option or hit Ctrl + C on your keyboard. This method will copy your screenshot into your clipboard, so you can paste it into another document, app, or even a social media chat.

Copy your screenshot to the clipboard using the "Copy" button
Copy your screenshot to the clipboard using the “Copy” button

How to Adjust the Snipping Tool Settings

This new version of the Snipping Tool also allows you to adjust the settings to work better. There are a lot of settings to choose from. We will discuss them to allow you to use your snipping tool like a pro!

First, to open the settings menu, you need to click on the three-dot icon and select SettingsA new window will appear with different options.

Open the settings menu
Open the settings menu

Auto copy to clipboard

After taking a screenshot, the “Auto copy to clipboard” setting copies it to your clipboard. It can be helpful if you want to quickly paste your screenshot into another document or an email or chat.

Auto copy to clipboard
Auto copy to clipboard

Save snips

The Save snips feature asks if you want to save the capture when you close the editor.

Save snips
Save snips

Multiple windows

You can use this feature to open several snipping windows, if you wish to take numerous screenshots simultaneously or compare screenshots.

Multiple windows
Multiple windows

Snip outline

The snip outline adds borders to each snip. If you want to alter the border thickness and color, click on the downward arrow. Then, under Color and Thickness settings, you can select a new color or change the thickness of the outline.

Snip outline
Snip outline

Appearance

The Appearance setting allows you to adjust the theme of your snipping tool. There are three options:

  1. Light – light mode
  2. Dark – dark mode
  3. Use system settings – snipping tool will use the theme that is already on your computer.
Adjust the theme of your snipping tool
Adjust the theme of your snipping tool

How to Enable Print Screen Key to Launch the Snipping Tool

If you want to launch the snipping tool with just one button, Windows 11 gives you this functionality.

  1. Go into your Snipping Tool settings and select Change in Settings under the “Shortcuts” section. 

    Click on the "Change in settings" button
    Click on the “Change in settings” button
  2. A window that asks you if you want to switch apps will appear. Select Yes.

    A window that asks you if you want to switch apps
    A window that asks you if you want to switch apps
  3. The previous step will open the Windows 11 Settings page. Scroll down until you find the “Use the Print screen button to open screen snipping option. 

    The Use the Print screen button to open the screen snipping option
    Use the Print screen button to open the screen snipping option
  4. Click on the toggle switch to turn it on.

    Click on the toggle switch to turn it on
    Click on the toggle switch to turn it on.
  5. That’s it! Now you can take snippets by pressing the Print Screen key on your keyboard.

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