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I'm able to launch the snipping tool, select an option and then copy based on my selection. Is there a way to launch a default snipping option so that I can create partial screen screenshots without using a third-party tool?

Essentially, I'm looking for winkey+S without having to use OneNote.

Both OneNote and SnagIt implement this perfectly. If OneNote is running, pressing winkey+S allows me to click and drag any portion of the screen, including pop-out menus with selections that are active. SnagIt does almost the exact same thing, invoked by the prt screen key.

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I strongly recommend using FSCapture. – Prasanth Nov 2 '12 at 6:55
That may be a nice option -- besides being lightweight (which is a big plus), how does it compare to OneNote or Snagit? – Jon Crowell Nov 2 '12 at 6:56
I have always used this, and not others. But, you can just have a look at the features this has. It's really wonderful. – Prasanth Nov 2 '12 at 6:58
I'll check it out if nobody knows how to do this without 3rd party tools. Are you affiliated with the company that makes it? – Jon Crowell Nov 2 '12 at 7:01
May I point you to Greenshot, which is an excellent free and open source screenshot taking program that has most features you'd want out. – Ivo Flipse Nov 7 '12 at 8:39

12 Answers 12

If you don't want to run the snipping tool then there is a shortcut to take a shot of active window in Windows 8. Press the Alt+PrtSc, but it will copy the current windows screen shot to clipboard(it will not save it directly like Win+PrtSc) if you want to save it you need mspaint windows open and just paste it there and save it.

IIKC there is no built in way to capture a region with shortcut you have to use a third party tool like GreenShot which is freeware and has ability to capture the screen with keyboard shortcuts.

PrtSC will let you choose the region on desktop.

Ctrl+PrtSc will let you capture full window/screen.

Alt+PrtSc will let you capture focused window among many windows.

You can also set the image saving folder destination and output format of image in preferences.

For more about screenshot shortcuts see wikipedia

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+1 -- This is helpful but still doesn't let me copy a selected region of the screen. – Jon Crowell Nov 2 '12 at 6:50
No it will not as it will only take the shot of active window on the screen and leave the other part as well. Without using sniping tool you can't select a region on the screen. – avirk Nov 2 '12 at 6:53
"there is a shortcut to take a shot of active window only in Windows 8" - Alt+PrtScr has been around for ages now, it's most certainly not new to Windows 8. – Karan Nov 2 '12 at 11:34
@Karan Yeah! It also worked on Windows 7 as well. – avirk Nov 2 '12 at 11:35
And Windows Vista, and XP, and ME, and 98, and 95... :) – Karan Nov 2 '12 at 11:36

What you can do is just go to Snipping Tool properties and then provide the shrtcut to a Function key.Steps shown Below

  1. Find your Snipping Tool shortcut (what you use to start the Snipping Tool manually). If you can not find the shortcut, you can make a shortcut from SnippingTool.exe (in theSystem32 folder).
  2. Right-click the shortcut and select properties.
  3. Select the Shortcut tab.
  4. Click inside the Shortcut key box, then hit the hotkey(s) you want. Note that you can not type the key you want.

enter image description here

As per the previous post also Snipping Tool has 4 different types of Screenshots

1)Free-form Snip
2)rectangular Snip
3)Windows Snip
4)Full-screen Snip

The other way to find the Shortcut would be

Type Snipping Tool in Windows 8 Mainscreen. Just Right Click or Select it,and from the APPBAR you can go to the Open File Location and there you have the Snipping Tool. create your Shortcut.After that the Steps are the same...

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Weird when I right click SnippingTool.exe I don't see the shortcut tab. – Matthew Wong Nov 2 '12 at 6:56
but its working for me.. – Sant14 Nov 2 '12 at 6:57
@MatthewWong same for me, but you can create a shortcut on the desktop and then it will provide you that option. – avirk Nov 2 '12 at 7:01
You'll notice from the screenshot that Sant14's editing a short cut to Snipping Tool, so there's obviously something wrong with this answer - maybe Sant14 has a shortcut to the EXE in the system32 folder - which would be a bit odd . . . – ernie Nov 2 '12 at 16:12
@ernie I have updated my post...Please check – Sant14 Nov 2 '12 at 16:45

I have a partial answer and a partial comment with more information. Since I am new to this forum, I hope that is acceptable.

I have used the "shorctut" mechanism specified by Sant14 in Windows 7 for some time, and the result is as "Head of catering" is asking for. The Snipping tool opens using the shortcut key (in my case Ctrl+Shift+S, and immediately opens "rectangular select" mode.

I have recently moved a desktop to Windows 8, and setting the same shortcut key only opens snipping tool, and does not automatically start a "snip".

I am yet to discover if there are any differences in settings, but a cursory look yields nothing. If I figure it out, I will post back!

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I have windows 10 and as you the shortcut key only opens snipping tool and does not automatically start a snip. I'm looking for a arguments to put into in front of target box: "%windir%\system32\SnippingTool.exe" in order to open it in snip mode. – kami Sep 26 '15 at 20:01

I'm not sure I understand your question, but if you're just trying to get rectangular regions or individual windows using the snipping tool, just click the down arrow next to the "new" button to choose different selection methods:

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What I'm trying to do is get to that functionality via a hotkey rather than launching the snipping tool first, making the selection, and then selecting the region to copy. Essentially, I'm looking for winkey+S without having to use OneNote. (edited question to clarify) – Jon Crowell Nov 2 '12 at 6:41
Ohh. I've been wondering the same thing, actually. I don't know of any way to do that without 3rd party tools. – nhinkle Nov 2 '12 at 6:42
@nhinkle check out my answer without 3rd party tool, but it need additional program to save it like mspaint. – avirk Nov 2 '12 at 6:47
@nhinkle: +1 for helping clarify my question. Cheers. – Jon Crowell Nov 2 '12 at 6:51
@HeadofCatering can I have a nice catered meal instead? :P – nhinkle Nov 2 '12 at 7:23

If you would like to have a shortcut to bring up the snipping tool you can do this:

  1. Go to the Desktop. (Optional, doesn't have to be Desktop but has to be a folder)
  2. Right click, go to New, and create a shortcut.
  3. The location would be: C:\Windows\System32\SnippingTool.exe
  4. Then right click on your SnippingTool shortcut, and go to properties.
  5. Go to the shortcut key textbox and type in whichever keys you want.

And follow what nhinkle said...

Edit: Tested and worked!

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This is close and would work if I didn't have to click the drop-down each time the snipping tool launched. I want to enter a hotkey and be able to immediately copy a region, exactly like winkey+S does with OneNote running. – Jon Crowell Nov 2 '12 at 6:46

To capture a region of the screen without using the mouse using Snipping Tool in Windows 7/8:

  • Press Alt+Left Shift+Num Lock to turn on Mouse Keys which allows you to use your numpad to move the mouse pointer
  • Press the hotkey to launch Snipping Tool (you can either set a shortcut key in the properties window of the Snipping Tool shortcut icon, or add it as one of the first 10 items on your taskbar and press Win+0-9)
  • Move the crosshairs to the starting position using your numpad
  • Hold down the 0 (Ins) key on your numpad and move the pointer to select the area of your screen
  • Press 5 on your numpad to click and capture


  1. You can adjust the pointer speed in Ease of Access Center.
  2. It's probably a lot easier to just use your mouse.
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+1 for keyboard mouse technique and answer variety. – crokusek Feb 9 at 23:25

i figured it out after a few minutes or toying with it.

step 1: find snipping tool and move it to your desktop

step 2: right click it and select properties

step 3: go to shortcuts and set a key of your choice but it will always require ctrl + alt + (your hotkey)

step 4: press the hot key to open snipping tool then ctrl ptr scren ( which is normally located near the top right).

or you can also pin snipping tool to the taskbar and press the windows key and a the number where it is on the task bar. after its open pess ctrl ptr screen.

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Welcome to Super User.  This looks quite a bit like a couple of the previous answers.  Do you think you are contributing new information here? – G-Man Jun 14 '15 at 8:57
Welcome to Super User! This duplicates another answer and adds no new content. Please don't post an answer unless you actually have something new to contribute. – DavidPostill Jun 14 '15 at 9:42
<Ctrl> + <Prt Screen> after opening the snipping tool is for starting snipping. But the issue pressing those keys changes what you want to capture (sometimes). – kami Sep 26 '15 at 20:06

While not perfect, if you know that OneNote's Clipping tool isn't running, you should be able to press Windows+N to start it, switch back to your previous app and then Windows+S to snip a selection.

You can configure OneNote to "Always take the following action: Copy to Clipboard" so you never see the "What do you want to do with it?" dialog.

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In Windows 7, the hotkey AltGr+A works for me. I don't know if windows 8 still maintains that, so you could test it.

If not, you could follow the suggestions above, trying to set up a hotkey for the snipping tool, or you could install IrFanView and use its snapshot tool.

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What is the Gr in your hotkey? – Jon Crowell Nov 2 '12 at 13:11
Thanks deizel. Sorry, I don't know why, but this hotkey isn't working anymore here, at least on the virtual machine. I know that before this was working here, but I can't remember if it was because of a program or if it was because of Windows itself. Maybe it was Alt Gr plus another key other than A, but I retried some combinations and nothing has happened. – thiagowfx Nov 3 '12 at 2:01

If you pin the snipping tool to your taskbar, you can use the windows key+the number of the position it is in.

Steps: Launch the snipping tool Right click on the icon in the taskbar and choose "pin this program to the traskbar" Drag the icon to be the first on the bar (farthest left) Win+1 will now launch Snipping Tool

If the snipping tool icon is the first icon in the list, then press Windows+1 and it will launch that program. Same goes for any program pinned to your taskbar. Win+2 or 3 etc would open the next programs pinned.

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To use PrintScreen key as the shortcut, download AutoHotkey and add the following to your script:

Windows 7:

PrintScreen::Run, "C:\Windows\Sysnative\SnippingTool.exe"

Windows 10:

PrintScreen::Run, "C:\Windows\system32\SnippingTool.exe"

In Windows 7 the Snipping selection aka "New" kicks off right away. In Windows 10 you still have to hit "New" button when the SnippingTool.exe GUI appears.

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The Snipping Tool contains a shortcut by default which enables the capture of popup menus. Here's how it can be used:

  1. Open the Snipping Tool
  2. Hit ESC (to 'disable' the screen capture selector)
  3. Open up the popup menu that you want to capture
  4. Hit CTRL + PrtScn

Most important of all this is that the Snipping Tool needs to be in 'cancelled capture' mode. Otherwise the CTRL + PrtScn shortcut won't work as expected.

Found on

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