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In Windows 10 you can press Win ⊞ + Print Screen 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.

3
  • 3
    Adding Alt- to the key combination will copy the foreground window.
    – AFH
    May 4 '18 at 21:56
  • i think i've seen Dropbox offer screen capture features, but i never tried it out.
    – drudge
    May 5 '18 at 0:21
  • 2
    Win Shift+S now captures a selection, but only to the clipboard, not to disk.
    – Jacktose
    Nov 8 '18 at 19:49
32

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 '19 at 1:58
  • 1
    Unusable on windows with a mac keyboard. Can't assign keybindings properly.
    – A__
    Aug 1 '19 at 14:49
  • 1
    Incredible this isn't built in... Macs, Fedora, Ubuntu, Android and iOS all save the snip before you edit
    – Ray Foss
    Apr 18 '20 at 15:49
  • 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 '20 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 '20 at 21:08
3

Ever since the introduction of "Screen Clip", this has been built into Windows.

  1. Use win+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 dir inside your user accounts's local appdata folder. To find out where:

  1. open cmd or powershell
  2. cd C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Local
  3. dir ScreenClip /s

That'll find you the location of the screenshots dir (the current location as of April 2021 is C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Local\Packages\MicrosoftWindows.Client.CBS_cw5n1h2txyewy\TempState\ScreenClip, but it's changed a few times over the years). You can now do whatever you like with it...

  • create a shortcut on your desktop named "screenshots" for that folder
  • open it in windows explorer and favorite it
  • add a bookmark for it in your preferred file manager
  • etc. etc.
2
  • This is the most "Windows" solution to to screen captures possible... buried in AppData with no option to reconfigure it... Nov 23 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 at 15:57
1

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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  • 3
    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 '20 at 16:32
  • 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 Apr 24 at 3:33
0

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.
    – Scott
    Jul 10 '19 at 21:06
  • 7
    That would be perfect if instead of copying to clipboard it auto saved to a specific folder
    – bortao
    Jul 11 '19 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 at 18:58

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