It's faster for me to open a new Windows Explorer instance with Windows + E than it is to find an open one, and I really wish that when I have Snipping Tool running, I could hit Ctrl + Alt + S and either open a new Snipping Tool instance or at least make the existing one the active window.

Can I do either of these things?

  • What have you researched about this? – CharlieRB Jan 8 '14 at 18:09
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    I haven't found a way to open multiple instances either. Chances are what you want to do is hold multiple images at once. I usually just WIN+R, "pbrush" and paste the contents into a blank MSPaint window. You can lots of those open. – Wally Jan 8 '14 at 18:51
  • ShareX which is a free and open-source tool can do what the Snipping tool can do, just much better. Set your own hotkeys. Set actions after capture, upload pictures if you'd like that etc. ShareX Preview from ShareX – IndentationFaulter Mar 15 '17 at 23:47

I have not found a way to get multiple instances open. At least I can't find a way natively.

Getting it to be active is another story.

Pin it to your taskbar, and then use Win plus the number (key) that represents where it is on the taskbar.


enter image description here

In this example I'd hit Win+5

If you hit that shortcut while it's already open it switches to the already open instance.

  • 1
    +1 On a side note, Shift + Win + 5 will usually open a second instance of the fifth program, but the Snipping Tool appears to be a one-hit wonder and doesn't allow that. It also disallows the normal shift + left mouse and right click -> Snipping Tool to start a new instance of it. – panhandel Jan 8 '14 at 21:36

Coupled with Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007's response to be able to quickly launch and return to Snipping Tool, I like to use an application to stage my captures. I chose this method since there is not a way to launch multiple instances of Snipping Tool yet.

paint.net uses image previews at the top of its window to act like tabs. I like to stage my snipped images this way:

Screenshot of paint.net 4.0.13

paint.net will evaluate the contents of the clipboard when creating a new image. If the contents of the clipboard is an image, it will use the dimensions from it for the canvas size. I accept these default dimensions, and paste in the image.

Note: this only works when creating a new image after Paint.NET is already open. See below regarding this.

When launching paint.net with an image already in the clipboard, I still paste it into the mismatched size. It will prompt to expand the canvas. The default, selected command is Expand Canvas; so I just press Enter. The image that was just pasted is still selected by paint.net. I then run the Image → Crop to Selection tool, and I'm left with just my screen capture from Snipping Tool.

Useful, relevant keyboard shortcuts for Paint.NET:
Ctrl + N         = New Image
Ctrl + Shift + X = Crop to Selection

I re-verified this behavior on the most recent, public version as of 2017-03-15: paint.net (Final 4.13.6191.1824)

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    Excited to try paint .net - be warned that site it is hosted on has some pretty heinous fake download buttons. I realize this could have changed after you posted your answer. Maybe as a public service announcement but a boldface warning near your external link. – user1445967 Oct 4 '18 at 17:20
  • Holy cow, you're right. They are hidden by uBlock Origin on my browser. Disabling it showed what you're talking about. That's pretty bad. Screenshot: i.imgur.com/o5SDvzf I'll edit post for warning and to give direct link to the Windows Store version(not free) – PeterFnet Oct 4 '18 at 20:15
  • Edit is done. Thanks user1445967! – PeterFnet Oct 4 '18 at 20:28

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