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In Windows 10 you can press Windows Key + PrtScn and it will save a screenshot of the whole desktop to disk. This works great.

What I'm looking for is this exact functionality but being able to choose a region using the mouse.

What I've found so far:

  • Snipping tool: Either brings an editor after capture, or saves to clipboard. Haven't found a way to automatically save to disk.
  • Lightshot: Also bring an editor, or automatically generate a link. Can't automatically save to disk

The solution can rely on a third party software that runs in background, or also AutoHotkey script.

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  • 3
    Adding Alt- to the key combination will copy the foreground window.
    – AFH
    May 4, 2018 at 21:56
  • i think i've seen Dropbox offer screen capture features, but i never tried it out.
    – drudge
    May 5, 2018 at 0:21
  • 3
    Win Shift+S now captures a selection, but only to the clipboard, not to disk.
    – Jacktose
    Nov 8, 2018 at 19:49

7 Answers 7

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Since you mention Win ⊞ + Print Screen specifically, I am assuming you wish to save in the same location each time (e.g. C:\Users\Username\Pictures\Screenshots).

I would highly recommend Greenshot in this case. Greenshot is a free, open source screenshot tool. It's light-weight and currently supports Windows and Mac OS.

By default, it allows selection of a region to capture, though it can save full screenshots and the currently active foreground window as well (all through configurable shortcuts). Importantly, while it normally allows for a large number of potential output options once a screenshot is captured, it can be configured with both a static output path and a set number of automatic export options (which can include that path).

To configure Greenshot to save to a specific path automatically after a screenshot is captured:

  1. Right-click the Greenshot icon in the System Tray and select Preferences... from the menu. This should bring up the Settings dialog.

  2. Under the Output tab, specify your Preferred Output File Settings. In particular, enter your desired path to automatically save screenshots to in the Storage location field.

Greenshot Output Settings - Screenshot

  1. Under the Destination tab, uncheck Select destination dynamically and check Save directly (using preferred file output settings). Leave the other options unchecked (unless you want one or more of them to run automatically as well).

Greenshot Destination Settings - Screenshot

  1. Once finished, click Ok at the bottom of the Settings dialog to apply your changes.

With these settings, any time you capture a selected area (i.e. as soon as you release the mouse button after clicking and dragging with Greenshot active), the captured area will be saved (without prompting or dialogs) to the path specified.

Notes

  • As a personal preference, I dislike mouse pointer capture and the magnifier reticle for region selection being turned on by default. These can be disabled in Settings.

  • Per the comment by AFH, Win ⊞ + Alt + Print Screen is available in Windows 10 v.1703 (Creators Update - April 2017) and beyond (though regular Alt + Print Screen should still be available in all current versions of Windows 7+). That said, this digitalcitizen.life article puts it squarely in realm of capturing screenshots in video games. In context, this would be the current foreground window, but you may simply want to test its behavior (out of game) yourself.

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    Incredible, Greenshot finally does everything I want: 1. Uses the dedicated Print Screen button by default, 2. Can copy to your clipboard (same as Windows + Shift + S), 3. - You can set the output folder, 4. It also shows your mouse cursor in the screenshot, 5. File names can be customized, eg date-windowname.jpg, 6. It can also auto-upload to Imgur, 7. You can even set the destination as an auto-synced Google Drive folder that is shared with anyone with the link. I can't believe I've only just discovered it, I used at least a dozen screenshot tools all lacking one feature or another.
    – Maurice
    Aug 1, 2019 at 1:58
  • 1
    Unusable on windows with a mac keyboard. Can't assign keybindings properly.
    – A__
    Aug 1, 2019 at 14:49
  • 1
    @A__ You can remap the keybindings. I set it to alt-S since my keyboard also doesn't have a PrintScreen key.
    – intuited
    Jun 1, 2020 at 11:50
  • Greenshot was great until I turned on Nvidia DSR to render 4k then downsample to 1080p for my monitors. Greenshot started to act wonky immediately. Now I have 2 options. Suffer from the super small text, or lose the ability to capture 3/4 of all my screens. (the region select canvas zooms in by 2 times and 3/4 of all my desktop goes out of the monitor area.)
    – TeaCrab
    Jul 8, 2020 at 21:08
  • Note that Windows 10 has had win+shift+s for this for quite a while now. Fire up cmd, cd to C:\Users\YOUR_USER_NAME_HERE\AppData\Local` and run dir ScreenClip /s, then do whatever you want with that location: create a shortcut called "screenshots" on your desktop, bookmark it in explorer, add it as named location in Total Commander, what have you. Apr 4, 2021 at 18:48
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Ever since the introduction of "Screen Clip" this has been built into Windows.

  1. Use Windows Key + Shift + S
  2. Create a screenshot.

And you're done. This will have been copied into your clipboard and will have been written to file in a special directory inside C:\Users\<your username>\AppData\Local. The trick is finding that directory name.

As of May 2022 on Windows 10 that path is:

C:\Users\USER\AppData\Local\Packages\MicrosoftWindows.Client.CBS_cw5n1h2txyewy\TempState\ScreenClip

Find ScreenClip directory in AppData\Local with cmd.exe

  1. Start -> Search "Run" -> Enter cmd.exe
  2. cd \Users\yourusernamehere\AppData\Local
  3. dir ScreenClip /s

Using cmd.exe to locate ScreenClip folder in AppData\Local

Find ScreenSlip directory in AppData\Local with Windows PowerShell

  1. Start -> Search "Power Shell"
  2. Get-ChildItem . -Recurse | Where-Object {$_.PSIsContainer -and $_.Name.Contains("ScreenClip")}

Using Windows Power Shell to locate ScreenClip folder in AppData\Local

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  • 6
    This is the most "Windows" solution to to screen captures possible... buried in AppData with no option to reconfigure it... Nov 23, 2021 at 11:56
  • You know it. It's the classic "hey let's add X", followed by only adding X, and then not even going "should this need, I don't know, some kind of decent UI and some settings?" There's a registry, right? Good enough, next "feature". Nov 23, 2021 at 15:57
  • Thanks for the Teminal CLI instructions... can't believe windows has done a 360 and it's now the operating system that requires a Terminal to do BASIC tasks.
    – Ray Foss
    Jun 8, 2022 at 21:36
  • It hasn't. This has always been the case, you only just discovered it for something you need to do rather than something other folks need to do =) Jun 9, 2022 at 1:34
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Found this article that sent me in the right direction.

https://www.minitool.com/news/win-shift-s.html

For me the files were saved in the following location:

C:\Users\<USERNAME>\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ShellExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\TempState\ScreenClip

Need to see how to change that now....

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    Welcome to Super User! Please quote the essential parts of the answer from the reference link(s), as the answer can become invalid if the linked page(s) change.
    – DavidPostill
    Dec 24, 2020 at 16:32
  • 1
    in my case it was in C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Packages\MicrosoftWindows.Client.CBS_cw5n1h2txyewy\TempState\ScreenClip. in case you cant find it, go to packages folder and thn search for screenclip
    – 0xB00B
    Apr 24, 2021 at 3:33
  • 1
    To go to "Packages" folder, use %LOCALAPPDATA%\Packages
    – fmnijk
    Jan 14, 2022 at 0:10
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This is an extension to @pomax's answer (I can't comment yet).

To actually change the location of the built in "Screen Snip" tool (win+shift+s), you can hard link the original folder. Remove/rename the original ScreenClip folder, then run the following command in cmd (not PowerShell). Rename C:\YourScreenshots to the folder you want to use.

Careful: This breaks the notification-center feature (image). When you click the tile, the image is not found...

mklink /J %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Packages\MicrosoftWindows.Client.CBS_cw5n1h2txyewy\TempState\Screen
Clip C:\YourScreenshots
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  • Also note that windows has changed this location several times so far, so this is also quite likely to break in future updates. Aug 22, 2022 at 19:11
1

One can use ShareX (gratis, open-source) to automatically save a snipped screenshot to disk.

ShareX shortcuts:

enter image description here

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Pressing the Windows Key + Shift + "s" will activate the Snipping tool. Allowing you to select the area you wish to "snip" and auto-saving your capture to the pictures folder of your user profile. Hope this helps. :)

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    The OP knows about the Snipping tool and says “Haven't found a way to automatically save to disk.”  So please explain exactly how to do that.  Please do not respond in comments; edit your answer to make it clearer and more complete. Jul 10, 2019 at 21:06
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    That would be perfect if instead of copying to clipboard it auto saved to a specific folder
    – bortao
    Jul 11, 2019 at 21:04
  • Note that the Snipping Tool is not the same as Screen Snip. The Win+Shift+S key combination does not open Snipping Tool at all, it opens Screen Snip, and the OP suggests that the poster was not familiar with that hotkey (but also, Screen Snip does not save to the Pictures folder at all, it saves to an extremely hard to locate dir in AppData) Apr 4, 2021 at 18:58
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Update for Windows 11

Since Windows 11 Build 25211, the captured images (not only screenshots of the whole desktop) from Screen Snip (Windows Key + Shift + S) / Snipping Tool are automatically saved to C:\Users\Username\Pictures\Screenshots. The setting for this can be set in the Snipping Tool under Settings and is on by default.

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