How to photograph the PC screen

How many times have we happened to want to capture a part of the screen or the entire desktop of the PC, perhaps to be able to quickly share it on social networks, in chats with friends or for work needs (especially if we work for an online site or for a technology magazine ). In this case we can rely both on an integrated tool within the Windows operating system (very simple and functional) called Microsoft Snipping Tools (in Italian Capture Tool ), and use one of the many programs designed to photograph the PC screen and beautify shots with arrows, text, numbers, indications, boxes etc.
The programs that we are going to list are provided free of charge, so that you can use them without any limit both at home and in the workplace (in particular those distributed with open source licenses).

How to capture computer screen

Whatever our needs, below we can find the free tools to use to be able to accurately capture every part of the screen, so as to create excellent images for guides or to show information or passages to a friend in chat or on social networks. Obviously these tools can also be used to capture the whole computer screen and not just a portion of it.

Integrated tools in Windows

Without having to install anything, we can use the Microsoft Snipping Tools or Capture Tool, a simple tool integrated since Windows 7 and also present on Windows 10.
To open it, simply go to the Start menu at the bottom left, then type on the keyboard Capture or Capture Tool and finally open the program.

We can capture a part of the screen by clicking on New and pointing with the mouse to the part we want to acquire; alternatively we can use the Mode button , to choose how to capture the screen, or the Delay button, to add seconds of delay to the capture (useful if we have to capture a part of the menu or an "elusive" window).
The tool is very simple and has no advanced options, so it is suitable for occasional use.
On Windows 10 we can alternatively use the Capture and annotate app, which will take the place of this tool in a future edition of the system (as the message in the Capture Tool tool also warns).

This app is much more complete than the old tool and allows, in addition to capturing any portion of the screen, to add annotations, signs, numbers and to precisely cut out the parts of the image that do not interest us. It may not be as perfect as some rivals, but it is definitely a big step forward compared to the Capture Tool tool.
To learn more about the use of these integrated tools we can read our guide on how to take screenshots and screenshots in Windows .

Screenshot (Mozilla Firefox)

If we use Mozilla Firefox as a web browser on our computer, we can also avoid installing apps or extensions, since the open source browser offers an integrated capture tool.

To be able to capture a screen from a website, simply press on the three dots at the top right of the address bar and then click on Capture screen . A dark patina will appear on the page on which we recalled the tool: with it we can highlight only a part of the site to be photographed or proceed directly freehand, drawing a rectangle or square by holding down the left mouse button from the vertex from which we want to capture the screen. To capture the whole screen, all we have to do is press Save the entire screen at the top right, so we can photograph what appears inside the browser.
Once the desired image is obtained, simply use the buttons below to copy the shot to the clipboard or download it to a folder of your choice within the system. Unfortunately, the tool does not offer any other option, so we will have to limit ourselves to using it only when we are looking for a fast screen, since it needs a dedicated editing tool (for example GIMP or one of the programs seen in the guide to The best free programs for photo editing and graphics ).


One of the best programs to photograph the PC screen and customize the capture is without a doubt ShareX.

This free program offers countless capture options (free, window, delayed, entire desktop) and allows, by setting the various options, to choose what to do after shooting.
For example, we can open the integrated editor, with which to obscure sensitive information, add arrows and numbers or cut out unnecessary parts, compress the images to a precise size and, once the changes are complete, immediately share the images on the cloud, on the Images or on social media (by setting the various sharing plugins) or simply saving them as JPG or PNG files in a specific folder on the computer (we can also choose which one to use by default or what names the generated files must have). The possibilities are truly endless and ShareX can become the definitive solution to photograph the PC screen both at home and in the office!
Using it at first glance can be difficult, but once you get your hand you will immediately notice the extraordinary flexibility and completeness of this tool, which make it one of the best for those who work a lot with images and manage a blog.


If ShareX is the most complete program but for some "confusing", we can focus on the simplicity offered by Lightshot.

This tool makes simplicity its strong point: it starts in a second, allows you to photograph large portions of the screen and offers all the editing and sharing tools on the edge of the frame, so that you can immediately make the necessary improvements for the image we intend to capture. A tool to be taken into consideration to replace those integrated in Windows without the complexity of ShareX (which certainly requires a little experience to be able to use it at its best). In addition to being a stand-alone program for Windows and Mac, Lightshot can be integrated into the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers as extensions, so that it can be used on any location (even in the case of restrictive user-level permissions by the operating system). Lightshot extensions can be downloaded from here -> Lightshot (Chrome) and Lightshot (Firefox). The program and the various extensions can be used in any area, personal and commercial.


Among the most complete programs that we can try to photograph the PC screen we also recommend PicPick.

This program comes with an interface that resembles the Office menus and allows you to capture every portion of the screen, choosing between various types of modes (full screen, window, selection, freehand etc.).
Among its additional accessories we point out the color capture system (to understand the color code that we indicate with the dropper), the color palette system, the magnifying glass for a precise point on the screen, the pixel ruler (for measure the size of a photo or a selection in pixels), the coordinate detection system, the virtual protractor and the blackboard, where it is possible to paste the screen fragments captured previously and draw freehand.
A complete program, very simple to use and with various graphic tools that can make the happiness of bloggers or graphic designers of a site.
The free version can be used without limits for personal use (therefore at home) and is also available in a portable version (i.e. we can install it on a stick without the installer, the executable will start immediately) but it does not have automatic updating and support ; if we wanted to use this program in the office it is better to buy a user license of 30 dollars.

Evernote Web Clipper

If we need a tool to capture only portions of text, to extract only some content from a Web page or to save the whole page, we can rely on the Evernote Webclipper browser extension .

With this extension active on our browser, saving interesting web pages or photographing only a part of them (with the possibility of adding highlighter marks, arrows and text), all synchronized with the notes saved on Evernote, can really change your life to those who write a lot on blogs or look for inspiration for their creation (a book or newspaper article).
This extension is downloadable for all the most popular browsers from the following list.
  • Evernote Web Clipper (Chrome)
  • Evernote Web Clipper (Firefox)
  • Evernote Web Clipper (Edge)
  • Evernote Web Clipper (Safari)
We install the appropriate extension for our browser and start capturing and preserving the parts of the screen that interest us.


Capturing the screen of our PC is vital for those who work with blogs, those who provide news, indications and guides or in general for those who work with websites; at home we will hardly use the most complex tools, but knowing them will help you choose the one that best suits our needs in case of need. To capture the screen sporadically it can be sufficient to use the tools integrated in Windows or the capture tool present in Firefox.
If, on the other hand, we wanted to capture the screen on the smartphone or tablet, we invite you to read our screenshot screenshots guides on PC, Mac, Samsung, Huawei, iPhone and photograph the screen on Android (Samsung Galaxy and Huawei) .
Want to record a screen video? In this case we can find our favorite program by reading the Program guide to record the screen .

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