To take Screenshots on a Chromebook may differ slightly from what you're used to on a Windows laptop or MacBook. However, the process remains just as simple. Regardless of whether you want to capture the entire screen or just a specific window, the keyboard commands are easy to use and remember.
Read on to find out how to take a screenshot on a Chromebook using keyboard shortcuts or a pen. You will also find additional tips and tools to help you capture your Chromebook’s screen.
- Hold down the Ctrl + Switch keys to take a full screenshot.
- Hold down the window keys Ctrl + Shift + Switch to take a partial screenshot.
Take a full screenshot
Simultaneously press the following buttons to take a screenshot of everything on your screen:
Ctrl + switch window
The latter button is usually in the top row between the Full Screen and Brightness buttons, as shown above. It resembles a rectangle, followed by two lines, and replaces the typical F5 key from standard keyboards.
As soon as you press both buttons, a notification with a thumbnail of your screenshot will appear in the lower right corner. Clicking on the thumbnail will take you to the "Downloads" folder. By default, all screenshots are displayed here so that you can access them offline. You can also access this folder by clicking the blue folder icon on the taskbar.
Chrome OS labels all screenshots with the date and time they were taken.
Since Chrome OS stores screenshots locally on your device, they are only available on Google Drive if you manually upload them to the cloud. To do this, perform the following steps:
Step 1: Switch to the thumbnail and select the screenshot you want to upload. If there are multiple uploads, click the "Review" icon in each screenshot.
Step 2: Click the "Share" button in the upper right corner.
Step 3: Select the Save to Drive option from the drop-down menu. For more useful tips, see our guide to using Google Drive.
If you have a Chromebook with a 360-degree hinge like a Pixelbook, go to the "Screenshots in tablet mode" section of this guide for an alternative touch-based method.
Capture a specific window
Based on the latest version of Chrome OS, you can no longer create a window to capture a subscreen. Instead, you can capture a specific window or Chrome OS component, such as the system clock. Here's how:
Ctrl + Shift + switch window
Step 1: Simultaneously hold down the Ctrl + Shift keys and then press the Shift window key.
Step 2: The screen darkens and the cursor temporarily changes into a crosshair. Use the crosshairs to select an open window or Chrome OS component. Click the mouse or tap the touchpad to take the picture.
The captured window is saved in the "Downloads" folder, just like a full screenshot.
Screenshots in tablet mode
PhotoMIX-Company / Pixabay
Use the buttons
Many 2-in-1 devices and tablets with Chrome OS may not have instant keyboard access. Don't worry: there is a simple screenshot short form that you can use in tablet mode. Simultaneously press the following physical buttons:
Power + Volume Down
Your screen registers the screenshot and takes a picture of the entire screen.
Use a pen – full coverage
You can also take a screenshot of your entire screen with a pen. Here's how:
Step 1: Tap pen.
Step 2: Use the stylus to tap the Capture screen option. This will bring up a screenshot of your entire screen.
Use a pen – partial capture
Would you like to capture only part of your screen? Follow these steps:
Step 1: Tap pen.
Step 2: Use the stylus to tap the Region capture option.
Step 3: Touch and hold your starting point on the screen with the stylus.
Step 4: Drag your pen to the end point and create a box.
Step 5: Let go to take your screenshot.
Other tips and tricks
Chrome OS does not automatically send screenshots to the clipboard, such as pressing the Print Screen button in Windows.
If you want to copy a screenshot (e.g. for pasting in a picture editor), pay attention to the notification that is displayed above the system clock when taking a screenshot. Click the Copy to Clipboard button as shown above, then press Ctrl + V if you want to paste it.
Alternatively, you can find the screenshot on your Chromebook, select it, and just press Ctrl + C to copy it to the clipboard, and Ctrl + V to paste, just like Windows.
Screenshots taken from Chrome OS can be shared. However, if you need to edit them first, you should familiarize yourself with the built-in image editor. How to access it:
Step 1: Click the blue folder icon on the taskbar to open the "Downloads" folder.
Step 2: Double-click your screenshot to open it in the image viewer.
Step 3: Click the pencil icon in the upper right corner to enter edit mode.
Tools for cropping, rotating and adjusting the brightness are displayed in a toolbar above the taskbar (see below):
Step 4: When you're done, click the pencil icon again to complete your changes, or click Exit just above the system clock.
You cannot save copies with the built-in editor. Therefore, you may want to manually copy the image first to keep the original raw image.
Use external keyboards
If you're using a Chrome OS-based desktop (Chromebox) or an external keyboard connected to your Chromebook, the keyboard is likely to use a standard function key row instead of Chrome's dedicated row of keys. Here are the Chrome OS commands that replace the typical function key commands:
- F1 – Previous page
- F2 – Next page
- F3 – Refresh
- F4 – full screen
- F5 – change window
- F6 – decrease brightness
- F7 – increase brightness
- F8 – Mute
- F9 – decrease the volume
- F10 – increase volume
To take a screenshot, type Ctrl + F5 on a standard keyboard. For a partial capture, press Ctrl + Shift first, followed by F5.
Other screenshot tools
The built-in image tools for Chrome OS are somewhat anemic, but luckily there are numerous apps and extensions in the Google Chrome Web Store that allow you to add additional features. Here are some helpful tips:
Light shot: Lightshot is a great option for beginners that allows you to drag and drop a screenshot over any area of the screen. You can edit the screenshot in place, then download it or send it to the cloud. It is easy to use and widely used for most purposes.
FireShot: Save an entire page as an image without multiple screenshots. You can save in multiple formats and send them directly to OneNote or email.
Great screenshot: For those who want a wider and more powerful tool, Awesome Screenshot lets you choose between screenshot and screencasting, so you can record videos anytime. The app also supports annotations and easy blurring.