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.

  • I strongly recommend using FSCapture.
    – Prasanth
    Nov 2, 2012 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? Nov 2, 2012 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, 2012 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? Nov 2, 2012 at 7:01
  • 6
    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, 2012 at 8:39

18 Answers 18


As of Windows 10 Creators Update SHIFT + Windows Key ⊞ + S. Will open the snipping tool in rectangular select mode, the selected region will then copy to your clipboard.

10 wasted seconds a day now retrieved, thanks Microsoft.

  • 6
    WOW! MS finally made something people actually need :D This is exactly what the OP asked for.
    – Superole
    Mar 15, 2018 at 12:12
  • @Superole, I had completely missed this answer. Thanks for pointing it out. Sorry QFDev for taking so long to acknowledge. Mar 16, 2018 at 19:47
  • 1
    Better than nothing, but it would be nice to have an option to save it automatically to the desktop. May 1, 2018 at 0:48
  • 2
    Any way to save the snip to disk like Win+PrtScr ?
    – bortao
    May 4, 2018 at 21:33
  • @bortao : see answer from sant14 below on how to set a shortcut key to open the snipping tool application Feb 8, 2019 at 19:15

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

  • +1 -- This is helpful but still doesn't let me copy a selected region of the screen. Nov 2, 2012 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, 2012 at 6:53
  • 3
    "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, 2012 at 11:34
  • @Karan Yeah! It also worked on Windows 7 as well.
    – avirk
    Nov 2, 2012 at 11:35
  • 3
    And Windows Vista, and XP, and ME, and 98, and 95... :)
    – Karan
    Nov 2, 2012 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...

  • Weird when I right click SnippingTool.exe I don't see the shortcut tab. Nov 2, 2012 at 6:56
  • but its working for me..
    – Sant14
    Nov 2, 2012 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, 2012 at 7:01
  • 1
    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, 2012 at 16:12
  • @ernie I have updated my post...Please check
    – Sant14
    Nov 2, 2012 at 16:45

A lot of good answers here, but I don't see any that directly answer the OP (some mention 3rd party tools, which are great, but it's good to know defaults on a bare system, as asked, so to answer the OP using default key options in Windows ("Is there a way to launch a default snipping action"), here are the options available using just OS hotkeys (except for one, creating a hotkey for Snipping Tool has to be done manually as noted above). Note: Mouse Keys (a function in the Ease of Access tools, as noted above by Peter Pompeii above), are not in any way required for this, and will not help with any of the below.

Create hotkey for Snipping Tool. Quicker way than above: Just open Start, type "snip" to see the Snipping Tool, right-click on it in Start menu then select "Open file location" which will open Explorer in the folder where the Snipping Tool Start menu shortcut is located, right-click on that and in Properties adjust the shortcut key (I just used F5 here in line with Sant14's post above).

Note the default OS screen capture options, quite a lot can be done with these, particularly the OneNote specific Win + Shift + S ("Take screen clipping" function).

  • PrintScreen Saves entire screenshot to clipboard (Ctrl-V to paste somewhere as normal).
  • Ctrl + PrintScreen If Snipping Tool is currently open, will start a Snipping Tool operation, otherwise, acts as a normal PrintScreen above.
  • Win + PrintScreen Save a Full-screen to an image in the Screenshots folder: C:\Users\\Pictures\Screenshots.
  • Alt + PrintScreen Capture current Window or dialogue to clipboard (Ctrl-V to paste somewhere as normal).
  • Win + Shift + S This is the OneNote "Take Screen clipping" function. Opens a rectangular screen capture (use mouse or cursor keys) to grab a selected area of screen to clipboard (Ctrl-V to paste somewhere as normal).

You can change the default action when you double-click on the OneNote tray icon by right-clicking on that and going to OneNote icon defaults. Changing this to "Take screen clipping" will make that the default when you double click on this tray icon. You can optionally change the key used for this here: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/descapa/2006/11/17/changing-the-onenote-screen-clipping-and-new-side-note-keyboard-shortcuts/

Note the Snipping Tool specific shortcut keys (not easily found, but are referenced on a Microsoft page):

  • Alt + M Choose a snipping mode
  • Alt + N Create a new snip in the same mode as the last one
  • Shift + cursor keys  Move the cursor to select a rectangular snip area
  • Alt + D Delay capture by 1-5 second
  • Ctrl + C Copy the snip to clipboard
  • Ctrl + S Save the snip

I believe that this covers everything that the OP is asking for, you can now do everything from the keyboard alone. So, putting this all together, it gets quite simple, when you just remember F5 (if using that as shortcut key for Snipping Tool) to start Snipping Tool (or Alt + Tab to tab to it if already open), then Alt + M (select Mode), then Cursor Keys to move tool around screen, then Shift + Cursor Keys to start the capture (for Rectangular and Free-form). If the tool is already open, Alt + N allows to take another Snip of the same type last made, and that's it! Note also that holding **Ctrl* while moving the cursor keys will make the pointer move much faster. To detail this for each option (again, noting that F5 could be something else as above):

  • Full-screen Snip: F5 to start Snipping Tool then Alt + M then hit s for Full-screen (see the underlined 's' in the pulldown): Screenshot is taken automatically. The Snip is added to the clipboard, ready to Ctrl + V paste elsewhere and use Alt + N will take another Snip of the same type.

  • Window Snip: F5 to start Snipping Tool, then Alt + M then hit w for Window (see underlined 'w' in the pulldown). Desktop dims apart from current Window and finger pointer appears. You do not need the mouse(!): a) Move the finger pointer around the screen with cursor keys (note: additionally hold down Ctrl to make the cursor move faster!), different windows will be highlighted with a red border as the finger passes over them then, b) Press Shift to immediately capture the highlighted Window (or select a Window with Enter then Enter again to confirm). The Snip is added to the clipboard, ready to Ctrl + V paste elsewhere and use Alt + N will take another Snip of the same type.

  • Rectangular Snip: F5 to start Snipping Tool, then Alt + M then hit r for Rectangular (see underlined 'r' in the pulldown): Desktop dims and crosshairs tool appear. You do not need the mouse(!): a) Move the crosshairs tool using cursor keys (note: additionally hold down Ctrl to make the cursor move faster!), then, when ready to capture, b) Hold down Shift and move the mouse to capture what you need (again, hold down Ctrl also for much faster movement). c) On releasing the Shift key, the capture will be taken. The Snip is added to the clipboard, ready to Ctrl + V paste elsewhere) and use Alt + N will take another Snip of the same type.

  • Free-form Snip: F5 to start Snipping Tool, then Alt + M then hit f for Free-form (see underlined 'f' in the pulldown): Desktop dims and scissors tool appears. I have found no way as yet to do this with keys only, and mouse will be required for step b): a) Move the scissors tool around the screen with the cursor keys (note: additionally hold down Ctrl to make the cursor move faster!), then when you are ready to capture, b) Shift and then move the cursors to select an area does not work here, and you must use the mouse to hold down the left mouse button to draw out a region. c) On releasing the mouse key, the Snip is added to the clipboard, ready to Ctrl + V paste elsewhere) and use Alt + N will take another Snip of the same type.


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!

  • 4
    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. Sep 26, 2015 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:

  • 1
    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) Nov 2, 2012 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, 2012 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, 2012 at 6:47
  • @nhinkle: +1 for helping clarify my question. Cheers. Nov 2, 2012 at 6:51
  • @HeadofCatering can I have a nice catered meal instead? :P
    – nhinkle
    Nov 2, 2012 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!

  • 2
    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. Nov 2, 2012 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.
  • +1 for keyboard mouse technique and answer variety.
    – crokusek
    Feb 9, 2016 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.

  • 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? Jun 14, 2015 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, 2015 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). Sep 26, 2015 at 20:06

You can use the following AutoKey snippet to bind Snipping Tool with mouse middle click.

  Run, %systemroot%\System32\SnippingTool.exe
  WinWait, ahk_class Microsoft-Windows-Tablet-SnipperToolbar
  WinActivate, ahk_class Microsoft-Windows-Tablet-SnipperToolbar
  Send, ^{N}
  • I based my answer on yours so you get an upvote. Thank you for posting.
    – Noumenon
    Jan 29, 2017 at 4:37
  • Thanks for adding and enhancing the solution. It would help others =]
    – Rashy
    Jan 31, 2017 at 5:32

Other solutions here just print the entire screen or launch Snipping Tool but don't start a snip. This AutoHotkey script exactly replicates the Windows 7 behavior: you hit Win+S, your crosshairs come up, you click and drag, your snip is copied to the clipboard and Snipping Tool is closed. You do need to enable the Snipping Tool option "Always copy snips to keyboard".

  closeSnipper()  ; Snipper won't launch a new snip if it's already open
  Run, %systemroot%\System32\SnippingTool.exe
  WinWait, ahk_class Microsoft-Windows-Tablet-SnipperToolbar
  WinActivate, ahk_class Microsoft-Windows-Tablet-SnipperToolbar
  Send, ^{N}

  ; I never edit my snips, comment this out if you want Snipper to stay open
  Hotkey, ~LButton Up, closeSnipperFinal, on 

    Sleep 200
    Hotkey, ~LButton Up, Off

closeSnipper() {
    DetectHiddenWindows, On  ; Snipper won't be the front window
    if WinExist("ahk_class Microsoft-Windows-Tablet-SnipperToolbar") {
        ClipSaved := ClipboardAll  ; Snipper empties clipboard when it closes
        WinClose, ahk_class Microsoft-Windows-Tablet-SnipperToolbar
        Sleep 200
        Clipboard := ClipSaved

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.


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.

  • What is the Gr in your hotkey? Nov 2, 2012 at 13:11
  • 2
  • 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, 2012 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.


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 http://windows.microsoft.com


You can do this using PhraseExpress.

Create a new phrase and use simulate keypresses; something like this:

{#sleep 100} 
{#FOCUS Snipping Tool}
{#sleep 100} 
{#CTRL -chars N}

Copy & Paste the above lines into the 'Phrase content' box. In PhraseExpress, assign a Hotkey (for instance F8) to the phrase, so when you press F8 it will run the above sequence. The 'sleep' lines are to cover any delays opening/focus on the SnipTool app. As CTRL + N open a new snip area, this'll save the need to press these when Snip opens.

You'll need to have set up a windows Shortcut key on the SnippingTool.exe (the above example uses the F7 key) for the above to work. I have mine pinned to the Taskbar.

I had the same problem on Windows 10 (you no longer appear to be able to trigger a snip with keyboard shortcuts, only open the SnipTool app)

Hope this helps.


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.

  • The question pertains Windows 8, not 7 or 10.
    – user477799
    Jan 23, 2017 at 5:48
  • 1
    @FleetCommand Works into Windows 8 as well I just was adding details for Windows 7 and 10 because that is my experience, the OP tags Windows and Windows 8, never mentions Windows 8 specifically in his question, your markdown is not a good use of a markdown newbie Jan 23, 2017 at 17:10
  • It is called a "downvote" not "markdown". You can edit your answer to write a solution specifically for Windows 8 and I will rescind it.
    – user477799
    Jan 24, 2017 at 5:37
  • The solution is for Windows 8 as well, you are just overly critical Jan 25, 2017 at 4:09

windows shortcut with cropping - tried on windows 10

Windows + Shift + S

It enables cropping mode in screen

  • Please add reasons for downvotes
    – vijay
    Feb 2, 2021 at 8:24
  • You haven't explained what pressing these keys does. Adding information on Windows versions that support this would be great too.
    – gronostaj
    Feb 2, 2021 at 10:49

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