When it comes to taking a screenshot in Windows, there is no shortage of options. But the most flexible and versatile method has always been the Windows Snipping Tool. From taking slow-motion screenshots to editing the captured images, the built-in tool boasted of a ton of useful features.
And while Microsoft had planned to phase the tool out for a while, it has now changed track and instead merged it with the Snip & Sketch tool. The resulting app has a cleaner user interface and is packed with more features than ever before, making it the best way to take snapshots of your screen.
What happened to Snip & Sketch?
When Windows 10 came in, Microsoft announced a new replacement for the Snipping Tool: Snip & Sketch. This app allows users to take screenshots faster and draw on top of those clippings, such as circling key features, etc.
The thing is, it never really took off. While people liked the new functionality, the lack of non-features — such as delayed snapshots — limited its usefulness. As a result, most of the users had to resort to the outdated Snipping tool or install a third-party app to take screenshots on their Windows computers.
So with Windows 11, Microsoft has finally decided to merge the two tools. The combined app is called the Snipping Tool and has a rework of the old interface. Snip & Sketch features are still available and can even be activated by the previous shortcut.
Using the Windows 11 Snipping Tool via the Keyboard Shortcut
Like Snip & Sketch, the snipping tool can also be invoked via a keyboard shortcut. While this approach misses out on advanced features like annotations and delayed snips, it’s a great way to quickly take a screenshot.
- To take a screenshot with the Snipping Tool using a keyboard shortcut, press Shift † Windows key † s. The screen darkens and a small bar appears at the top.
- You can select a shape from the bar and use a selection tool of that shape to snap a screen. The default value is a rectangle, which you can drag to the size you want.
- The second option is more reminiscent of the Snip & Sketch tool and allows you to draw free shapes. In this mode you can make snips of any shape you want, cutting out the unimportant parts of the screen.
The clippings captured through this method are copied to the clipboard. You must paste them into a program that accepts images, such as a word processor or image editing tool. You can even paste them into things like emails.
While this makes the shortcut method a quick way to paste a snip into a document, another method is required to save screenshots directly. For that, we open the Windows 11 Snipping Tool app.
Take screenshots with the Snipping Tool app
Using the snipping tool directly is the best way to take permanent screenshots because the hotkey only copies the snips to the clipboard. The app allows you to save the screenshots with a custom name, take slow-motion photos, and even annotate the clippings by drawing over them.
- First open the Home menu† Icons of important apps are displayed, along with a search bar.
- Look for the Snipping Tool through the bar to find the app. Press Enter to open it.
- The Snipping Tool’s interface has been reworked from the previous iteration. Windows 10 users will find that most unnecessary options don’t clutter the user interface, in favor of a minimalistic window that takes up very little screen space.
- You get access to three types of options. New, is of course for taking a screenshot. The second button is for selecting the Mode† The Rectangle Mode is enabled by default, as is the hotkey. You can change it in the Window mode to take a snip from the active window, or Full screen mode to easily take a screenshot of the whole screen. The free-form mode can also be used to draw and cut a custom shape.
- The third and most powerful option is to set a Delay† With this option it is possible to set screenshots a few seconds in advance. It allows you to make snippets of things like drop-down menus or highlighted items, which is otherwise impossible. And unlike a shortcut, you can also save these snips with custom names.
- After the options are configured, use the New button to actually launch a screenshot. Depending on how much delay you have set, the screen will go dark immediately or within seconds. The effect is identical to what you get by using the keyboard shortcut, so the method should be familiar. You can change the selection shape using the buttons in the top bar.
- Once you’ve made a snip, you’ll be taken back to the tool, where you can view the screenshot and make any changes. You can use the Pen tools or the Highlighter to take notes, or the Ruler to measure and crop the image.
- You can also select the color with the pen or highlighter. The Gum can be used to erase the strokes – don’t worry, it won’t erase the screenshot itself. This mode can be used with a drawing tablet to draw smooth lines or also write on the clipping.
- To save your work, press Ctrl † s or use the floppy button at the top right. You will be prompted to select a destination for the image to be saved. By default, it’s named by date and time, but you can change it to enter anything you want.
Is the New Snipping Tool Worth It?
The Snipping Tool has always been the best way to take screenshots on Windows. The decision to replace it never went down well with the community, and the Snip & Sketch never matched the classic experience.
Fortunately, you no longer have to choose. The Windows 11 Snipping Tool has returned in a more polished form, borrowing the new design elements from Windows 11, along with some of the features from the other tool.
Now you can set delayed snapshots, draw custom selections, and even annotate the snippets, all from one interface. Go on, give it a try. Taking screenshots on Windows has never been easier or more powerful.