Any Microsoft Surface device can be a fully functioning laptop or a handy tablet. Wondering which style – laptop or tablet – suits you best may be difficult but taking screenshots on Surface devices is pretty easy. Let’s learn how you can capture screenshots on Microsoft Surface devices for free.
How To Take a Screenshot on Surface Laptops/Tablets
- Use the Power and Volume Buttons
- Print Screen (Use the PrtScn Key on the Keyboard)
- Snipping Tool (For Windows 10)
- Snip & Sketch
- Snipping Tool (For Windows 11)
- Use the Surface Pen
- Xbox Game Bar
- Third-Party Apps
- Web Browser Extensions
1. Use the Power and Volume Buttons
If you don’t have time to read the whole guide and you want to take a screenshot immediately, use the power button and volume button of your Surface.
1.1 Surface Models with the Windows Logo Button
Older Surface devices have a Windows button on the screen. It’s used for taking screenshots.
- Go to the screen you need to capture.
- Press the Windows logo button and the Volume Down button at once. If this doesn’t work, press the Windows logo + Volume Up button together.
- The screen will flash, denoting that you’ve taken a screenshot.
- Go to the Screenshots folder (This PC > Pictures > Screenshots) to find the snapshot.
1.2 Surface Models without the Windows Logo Button
For these Surface models, taking screenshots is as easy as on any smartphone or tablet.
- Bring up the screen you want to take a screenshot of.
- Press the Power button + Volume Up button together.
- Your screen will flash, meaning a screenshot has been taken of your entire screen.
- Screenshots are saved to a subfolder of your Pictures folder (This > Pictures > Screenshots).
1.3 Does This Method Work?
Pressing the physical buttons is the fastest capturing screenshots on Microsoft Surface devices. This is because you don’t need to attach your keyboard or open any app.
But there are many things that you can’t do with this option:
- It doesn’t allow you to select a portion of the screen for taking a screenshot.
- You can’t choose the image’s name, location, and format.
- It would help if you pressed the physical buttons every time for screenshots, so you can’t take multiple screenshots quickly. Taking multiple screenshots is possible but not as fast as other methods such as Print Screen (Method 2).
- Pressing the side buttons of the tablet every time for a screenshot is tedious for some users.
- There aren’t any editing options right after taking a screenshot.
2. Print Screen (Use the PrtScn Key on the Keyboard)
Using the Print Screen has been a popular method for capturing screenshots on Windows computers for decades. On Surface devices, you take a screenshot by pressing the PrtScn key on your Type Cover or in combination with any other key.
Although you can perform this by using the on-screen keyboard, this method is efficient if you use Surface with a keyboard. Some older Surface models don’t have a PrtScn button, so check out the top-most row of your Type Cover. However, if you’re using a keyboard from another brand, it will have the Print Screen key.
The Print Screen method allows two types of screenshots.
- A screenshot of the entire screen
- A snapshot of an active window.
2.1 Capture a Screenshot of the Entire Screen
- Stay on the screen you need to capture.
- Press the Windows logo + PrtScn keys together on your Surface keyboard or the Fn + PrtScn keys simultaneously.
- The screen may or may not flash. Either way, navigate to This PC > Pictures > Screenshots to see if the screenshot was saved or not.
- If not, press the shortcut keys again. You should also try pressing the Windows key + Fn + PrtScn keys together.
2.2 Take a Screenshot of the Active Window Only
- Keep the window you need to capture in the front.
- Press ALT + PrtScn together.
- Confirm with the Pictures library (This PC > Pictures > Screenshots).
2.3 Use the On-Screen Keyboard
Use the on-screen if you don’t have a Surface keyboard and want to take screenshots with the Print Screen method. However, there are better ways to take screenshots without a keyboard (Snip & Sketch for Windows 10 and Snipping Tool for Windows 11).
- Open the Start menu, type ‘onscreen keyboard’, and launch the app.
- On the keyboard, press the Windows logo key + PrtScn key or the Fn key + PrtScn key for taking a screenshot.
2.3 Is This Method Good?
The physical buttons method explained in the first section is the modern alternative to the Print Screen method. Because both methods do the same thing – take the screenshot of the whole screen and save it in the Pictures folder. But if we compare the efficiency, the Print Screen method is still better. Because:
- Pressing the Print Screen key is easier than pressing the physical button on the tablet (Surface).
- You can take multiple screenshots without delays. Just keep pressing the shortcut keys, and the screenshots will be saved automatically without interrupting what you’re doing.
- It’s the fastest and most reliable method of using Surface with a keyboard.
But, like the physical button’s method, its quickness comes with a price.
- You can’t select a portion of the screen for taking a screenshot,
- No editing tools right after taking the screenshot. You can go to the folder and open the screenshot with any editing tool you want.
- It doesn’t let you choose your screenshot’s location, format, and name.
For tools that allow you the above things, look into Methods 3, 4, 5, and 7.
3. Snipping Tool (For Windows 10)
Snipping Tool is pre-installed on Windows 10 and is an overall decent screenshot tool. In this section, we’re talking about the Snipping Tool on Windows 10, not the updated Snipping Tool on Windows 11 (go to Method 5 for that).
Let’s learn how to use Snipping Tool on Windows 10 Surface devices:
- Click/tap the Start menu, type.’
snipping tool‘, and open the app.
- It has a few modes of capturing screenshots: Free-form Snip, Rectangular Snip, Window Snip, and Full-screen Snip.
- Free-form Snip lets you select any part of the screen in any shape, whereas the Rectangular Snip mode enables you to select a portion of the screen for screenshots in variations of a rectangle.
- With Window Snip, you can screen capture any active window.
- When you select Full-screen Snip, it instantly takes a snapshot of the full desktop.
- We’ll choose Rectangular Snip.
- Select ‘New.’
- Now, click and drag the mouse cursor to select a portion of the screen for the screenshot.
- The screenshot will open in the Snipping Tool, where you can perform several tasks.
- Edit and annotate the screenshot with Pen, Highlighter, and Eraser.
- The screenshot is copied to your clipboard so you can paste it to any chat. For copying the edited version, click the copy icon (two pages icon) on the toolbar. For sending the email with your default email client, click the email icon on the toolbar.
- If you want to print it, click File > Print.
- Select the floppy disk icon to save the screenshot or go to File > Save.
- Choose any location, name, and format for the screenshot and save it. Images are saved in PNG by default, but you can also choose JPG, GIF, and MHT. If it’s confusing, click ‘Save’ and find your screenshot in the Pictures folder.
3.1 Take Screenshots of Drop-Down Menus with the Delay Option
Some menus and lists are hard to take screenshots of because they disappear once you open your screenshot tool. On Snipping Tool, you use the Delay feature to capture screenshots of these tricky menus.
- Open the Start menu, type.’
snipping tool‘, and open the app.
- Select ‘Delay’ and choose ‘5 Seconds’.
- Now, choose ‘New’ and quickly open the screen you want to take a screenshot of.
- Wait for Snipping Tool to freeze the screen.
- When the screen is frozen, select the portion of the screen or the active window to capture a snapshot.
- It’ll open with Snipping Tool, where you can edit and save it.
3.2 Is Snipping Tool the Best Screenshot App on Windows 10?
No, it isn’t. The Snipping Tool of Windows 10 has many benefits, but it still lacks in some areas. The good things about it are:
- Choose any part of the screen without capturing the entire screen.
- Edit or markup the screenshot before saving.
- Paste the screenshot anywhere as any taken screenshot is copied to the clipboard.
- Select the folder, name, and format of the screenshot.
- Take screenshots of drop-down menus with the Delay option.
But it has some shortcomings:
- The Delay option is good for capturing drop-down menus, but Snip & Sketch and Snipping Tool (of Windows 11) can do that without the Delay option.
- Snipping Tool isn’t for capturing multiple screenshots in a short amount of time. The Print Screen method is better for it.
4. Snip & Sketch
Snip & Sketch is the best pre-installed app on Windows 10 for taking screenshots. If you don’t find it installed on your Surface, open Microsoft Store, search ‘Snip & Sketch,’ and install it.
4.1 Capture a Portion of the Screen with Snip & Sketch
- Open the Start menu, type.’
snip & sketch‘, and launch the app.
- Click ‘New’ or press the Windows logo + SHIFT + S keys together.
- The screen gets a dark overlay with a few screenshot options at the top center of the screen.
- Select Rectangular Snip for selecting any part of the screen in a rectangular shape, or choose ‘Freeform Snip’ to choose any area of the screen in any shape.
- Click, hold, and drag the crosshair cursor to select the area for the screenshot.
- Once done, you’ll see a notification of the screenshot.
- When you access the notification, the screenshot will open in Snip & Sketch.
- For annotations, use the editing tools in the toolbar, including the touch writing tool, ballpoint pen, pencil, highlighter, eraser, and crop tool.
- To copy or send the screenshot, select the arrow button in the toolbar or copy the image by clicking the two-page icon.
- To save the screenshot, select the floppy disk icon.
- Choose any location for the screenshot, write any name if you want, and select any desired format. You can also leave it as it is. Click ‘Save.’
4.2 Take a Screenshot of an Active Window
You can take a screenshot of an active window with the rectangular snip mode, but you have a faster method with the Windows Snip mode.
- Open Snip & Sketch and select ‘New.’
- Choose the Windows Snip option from the top center when the screen is frozen. It’s the third from the left.
- Click/tap the window you want to capture.
- The screen will be taken, which you’ll see in a notification.
- When you open it, it’ll show editing options before saving.
- Edit and save the screenshot.
4.3 Capture a Screenshot of Full Screen
- Press the Windows logo + SHIFT + S to open the Snip & Sketch options.
- Select the Fullscreen Snip option right before the close (X) button.
- On selecting the option, a screenshot of the entire will be taken.
- Edit the screenshot with the available tools and then save it by pressing CTRL + S.
4.4 Open Snip & Sketch from the Notification Center (Windows 10)
If you don’t want to search for Snip & Sketch every time, access the app from the Notification Center.
- Tap the far-right corner of the taskbar or if you’re using Surface as a tablet, swipe left from the right corner to see Notification Center.
- Select ‘Screen Snip.’
- It’ll freeze the screen with a black overlay, and you’ll see the Snip & Sketch screenshot options at the top of the screen.
- Take a screenshot, edit it, and save it as mentioned in the above sections.
4.5 Is Snip & Sketch the Best Tool for Screenshots?
Snip & Sketch has many good things going for it.
- You can take a screenshot in any way you want. Select a portion of the screen, capture an active window, or screenshot the entire screen.
- It lets you choose the image’s folder, name, and format.
- You can edit the image before saving it.
- The screenshot is copied to your clipboard for instant sharing online.
- Snip & Sketch enables you to capture screenshots of drop-down menus and lists. Simply open the menu, press the keyboard shortcut key to open Snip & Sketch, and freeze the screen. Select the area of the screen for the screenshot.
The only thing Snip & Sketch fails to do is take multiple screenshots instantly. Using the Print Screen method or Xbox Game Bar to capture second-by-second screenshots of something.
5. Snipping Tool (For Windows 11)
On Windows 11, Microsoft merged Snipping Tool and Snip & Sketch and named it Snipping Tool. This is because the name Snipping Tool is more popular even though Snip & Sketch is a better app.
5.1 Update Snip & Sketch
If you open Snip & Sketch and the same app that resembles the Snip & Sketch of Windows 10, your app isn’t updated.
Update the app to get the new Snipping Tool app.
- Open Microsoft Store.
- Type ‘Snip & Sketch.
- Select ‘Snip & Sketch from the list.
- Press the ‘Get’ or ‘Update’ button.
- After the update, whether you open Snipping Tool or Snip & Sketch, it’ll open the new Snipping Tool.
5.2 Take Screenshots with Snipping Tool
- Open the Start menu, type.’
snipping tool‘, and launch the app.
- When the app opens, click the button that says ‘Rectangle mode’ to open a small list of screenshot modes.
- Take screenshots of anything in rectangular shapes with Rectangle mode. Use the Window mode to capture the snapshot of active windows. Select the Full-screen mode when you need to take a screenshot of the full screen. Lastly, the Free-form mode enables you to select a portion of the screen in any shape.
- After selecting the mode, click ‘New.’
- Select the area of the screen for the screenshot.
- The screenshot will open in the Snipping Tool, where you have many options.
- Edit the screenshot with the tool in the toolbar at the bottom of the window.
- Select the two pages icon next to the magnifying icon at the top-right of the window to copy the screenshot to your clipboard.
- You can also share the screenshot by selecting the three dots at the top right corner and choosing ‘Share.’
- To save the screenshot, press CTRL + S or click the three dots at the top right and select ‘Save.’
5.3 Use the Shortcut Keys
The fastest capturing screenshots with the Snipping Tool is by pressing the shortcut keys.
- Open the screen you want to capture.
- Press the Windows logo + SHIFT + S keys together.
- The screen will get a dark overlay.
- Take a screenshot.
- It’ll open with Snipping Tool, where you can edit, copy, share, print, and save it.
Snipping Tool on Windows 11 is an excellent screenshot tool that does everything a good screenshot app should do. It’s useful for both Microsoft Surface laptops and tablets.
- Select a portion of the screen, an active window, or the full screen.
- Choose the location of the screenshot along with its name and format.
- Edit the screenshot before saving.
- Paste the screenshot to anything before saving it because it is copied to your clipboard when you take the screenshot.
- Take screenshots of difficult drop-down menus and lists by freezing the screen (Windows logo + SHIFT + S) or using the Delay option.
Like Snip & Sketch, the only flaw we could find is that it can’t take screenshots uniformly every second. For example, taking screenshots of every second of a video or a game isn’t possible with Snipping Tool.
6. Use the Surface Pen
Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro devices come with a Surface Pen. If you frequently use the Surface Pen, you can also make use of it for taking screenshots.
- Bring up the screen to be captured.
- Press the eraser button on the Surface Pen twice to take a screenshot of the entire screen.
- The screenshot will open with Snip & Skitch or Snipping Tool, where you can edit and save it.
6.1 Edit Surface Pen Options
You can edit the options if you want to save the screenshot to OneDrive or select any other option. Note that the options you see depend largely on which Surface model you’re using:
- Open the Start menu and go to Settings.
- Go to ‘Devices.’
- Select ‘Pen and Windows Ink.’
- Choose what happens when you click the Surface Pen once and twice.
7. Xbox Game Bar
Xbox Game Bar is for gamers as it lets you take screenshots and record your screen during a game. It’s also pre-installed on your Surface, Surface Pro, and Surface Book.
- Go to Settings > Gaming > Xbox Game Bar to check if it’s enabled.
- Now, open the Start menu, type.’
game bar‘And select the app.
- If you see only one widget at the top of the screen, click the camera icon on it.
- It’ll open the ‘Capture’ widget. Select the camera icon on it to take a screenshot.
- You’ll see a notification that a screenshot has been taken.
- Screenshots through Game Bar are saved to This PC > Videos > Captures.
Taking screenshots with Xbox Game Bar is instant, similar to the Print Screen method. It only takes screenshots of the entire screen and saves them automatically to a folder. It’s useful for gamers who want to capture screenshots without interrupting the game.
If you’re looking for an option that lets you edit the screenshot before saving, select any part of the screen, and pick a folder for the screenshot, then use Methods 3, 4, 5, and 6.
8. Third-Party Apps
Some users need more options that aren’t present in the aforementioned tools. If you’re one of them, find some apps online.
8.1 Installing Screenshot Apps from Microsoft Store
- Open Microsoft Store.
- On the search box, type ‘screenshot.’
- Find free apps and install them.
8.2 Install Android Apps on Your Window 11 Surface Device
Android apps are focused on touch screens. So, if you mostly use Surface as a tablet, then look for Android apps. Here’s how to install Android apps on Windows 11:
- Open Microsoft Store.
- Type ‘Amazon Appstore’ in the search box.
- Install it and run it.
- The Amazon Appstore has Android apps. Search any app on it you want and install it.
8.3 Get Screenshot Apps from the Web
You can also install screenshot programs with the traditional method – searching on Google and installing applications. But if your Surface has Windows 10 S Mode or Windows 11 S Mode, you can’t install apps from anywhere except the Microsoft Store. You may need to switch out of S Mode to install applications from the web.
Note: Switching out of S Mode is permanent.
- On Windows 10, go to Settings > Update & Security > Activation > Go to the Store (if you see a Windows upgrade option, don’t click on the ‘go to the store’ option under that one). For Windows 11, navigate to Settings > System > Activation > Go to the Store.
- Microsoft Store will open with the Switch Out of S Mode app.
- Click ‘Get.’
- Once the app is installed, S mode will be turned off.
Now, to install apps from the web:
- Open your web browser and go to Google.
- Search ‘free screenshot tools for Windows.
- Install a few of them to check them out.
9. Web Browser Extensions
Taking screenshots on a web browser is more convenient with extensions because screenshot apps don’t let you capture the whole web page. At the same time, many web browser extensions enable you to screenshot a full web page.
9.1 Install a Screenshot on Google Chrome, Opera, Microsoft Edge, and Other Chromium-Based Browsers
- Open your web browser and go to Google.
- Search ‘Chrome web store.’
- Open the store and search for ‘screenshot’ on it.
- Click ‘More extensions’ to see more.
- Find different screenshot extensions and install a few.
If you’re on Microsoft Edge, perform these steps before installing extensions:
- Navigate to the three dots menu > Extensions > Manage extensions.
- Toggle on ‘Allow extensions from other browsers at the side pane.
9.2 Find Screenshot Add-ons on Firefox
- Open Firefox and visit Google.
- Search ‘Mozilla addons.’
- Open the Mozilla web store and find screenshot add-ons.
You have many options for taking screenshots on Microsoft Surface devices. Give the above guide a read and use a method that suits your style.
How Do I Take A Screenshot On My Microsoft Surface?
Take a screenshot on Microsoft Surface with these options:
– Press the Power button + Volume Keys or Windows button + Volume keys.
– Use Snipping Tool or Snip & Sketch.
– Press the Windows key + PrtScn key together.
How Do You Take A Screenshot On A Surface With The Keyboard?
With the Surface keyboard, the best option is to use the PrtScn key if your keyboard has it.
– Press the Windows logo key + the PrtScn key or the Fn + PrtScn keys to take a screenshot of the entire screen.
– The screenshot will be saved to This PC > Pictures > Screenshots.
Can You Screen Capture On A Surface Pro?
You can screen capture on a Surface Pro with Xbox Game Bar.
– Go to Settings > Gaming > Xbox Game Bar to enable it.
– Open the Start menu, type ‘game bar,’ and launch the app.
– On the widget at the top of the screen, click the camera icon.
– A widget on the left will open. Select the recording icon (filled dot) to begin screen capture.
How Do I Take A Screenshot On My Surface Tablet?
On Surface tablets, you can take screenshots by pressing the Power button + Volume up or down buttons. If your Surface has a Windows logo, press the Windows logo + Volume up or down buttons together.