How to screenshot on a Chromebook

We show you how to take screenshots on a Chromebook

How to screenshot on a Chromebook
(Image: © Shutterstock)

Learning how to screenshot on a Chromebook properly is a great skill that will aid you in both work and school. Taking a screenshot is a basic function integrated into nearly any system or OS, and a traditional PC’s keyboard even has its own function key for taking print screens. 

However, taking a screenshot on a Chromebook isn’t as intuitive. In order to use the best Chromebook to its fullest potential, it’s important to learn the various options available for screengrabbing. 

Below, we've covered everything from full screenshots, cropped grabs, window capture, and what to do if you don’t have access to the keyboard at all. There’s even an option for capturing them onto the clipboard, and we've noted where Chromebook screenshots are stored. 

We can help you use the best laptop to their full potential, whether it’s the best student laptops or the best thin and light laptops, so keep reading to find out how to screenshot on Chromebook. 

Don't have a Chromebook? Check out our guides for how to screenshot on Windows and how to screenshot on a Mac.

Steps for how to screenshot on a Chromebook

  1. Find which method your Chromebook uses
  2. Take your screenshot
  3. Find your screenshot file to edit and share 

Step by step guide for how to screenshot the whole screen on a Chromebook

1. Find the screenshot shortcut keys

(Image: © Future)

Depending on what form factor you're using, your Chromebook might use different keys to trigger a screenshot.

If you have them, press the Ctrl + show windows key (this is the function key with the rectangle and two trailing lines, positioned between the full-screen and reduce brightness keys. If it was a traditional function key it would be F5).

Have a Chromebook that doesn't have those function keys? Don’t worry, just press the power button and volume down keys at the same time.

2. (Optional) Use the browser menu

(Image: © Future)

If you don’t have this access to a keyboard or even the power button then you can take a grab via the Chrome browser menu by selecting Menu > More tools > Take screenshot. 

3. Find and edit or share your screenshot

(Image: © Future)

Once you’ve pressed these keys, ChromeOS (the operating system Chromebooks run on) pops up a notification displaying the grab that has been taken. This will stay visible for around 10 seconds before it clears itself.

Your screenshot will automatically save with a filename containing the date and time. You can also enable Clipboard saving if you're used to the easy copy-paste method from Windows.

Check out the FAQs of this article to find where these are saved and how to enable saving to Clipboard.

Step by step guide for how to screenshot part of the screen on a Chromebook

Chromebooks offer two more built-in screenshot modes: cropped to an area and the current window, though this last one isn’t a documented feature so we’re not sure how wide support is. 

1. Screenshot a cropped area of your screen

(Image: © Future)

To grab a cropped area press Ctrl + Shift + show window keys. The mouse cursor will change to a crosshair, this enables you to draw a rectangle around the area you would like to capture.

2. (Optional) Screenshot a specific window

(Image: © Future)

We discovered you can also easily capture select windows by pressing the Ctrl + Alt+ show window keys. The next window you click on will be captured in a screenshot.

3. Find and edit or share your screenshot

As with the first method, a notification will pop up in the bottom-right of your Chromebook screen, and the file will automatically save with the date and time as the filename.


Where are Chromebook screenshots saved?

If you’ve gone on a screen grab frenzy and stacked up a loads of Chromebook screenshots in a row and now want to go back and peruse them to root out all the bad ones and select the ones you want to keep, then head to the Downloads folder. Your screenshots will be saved here as as PNG files.

If you’re not sure how to find those tap the Search button, type 'files', open the Files app and click Downloads in the left-hand shortcut list.

How to screenshot on a Chromebook

(Image credit: Future)

How do you screenshot on a Chromebook using the clipboard?

If you’re used to how Windows 10 handles screenshots, wherein screenshot captures are copied directly to the clipboard rather than being saved automatically, then you can mimic this behavior with your Chromebook... to an extent.

When you take a screenshot on a Chromebook, take a close look at the notification that pops up showing the screengrab. At the bottom of this is a 'Copy to clipboard' button.

Click this and the grab is now available to paste into any documents you’re working on or for manipulating in any image editor you’re using.

With contributions from