How to take a screen shot of a single window?
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Joined: 11 Mar 2005
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I've been trying to figure out how to take a screenshot in Windows of just a single window, not the whole screen. When I use the PrtScn button, that takes a screen shot of my whole desktop, but I want to be able to take a screen shot of just the active window. Any ideas of how to do this? Thanks, Jason
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Joined: 30 May 2004
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Hi Jason, welcome to the forums. What you want to do is very easy, although if you don't know the trick, it's hard to figure out.

How to take a screen capture of an individual window on your desktop
In Windows, to take a screenshot of a single open Window, so you don't have to trim off all the other stuff afterwords in your image processing program, all you have to do is make the window active, by clicking on it. Then you hit alt + prtscn. PrtScn is one of the top row of buttons on your keyboard, usually in the upper right corner area. That puts the image into your clipboard, from where you can cut and paste it where you like.

You can read more about Windows screen print shortcuts here. Here's some information on General Windows keyboard shortcuts. And here's some more. Here's the Microsoft shortcuts page.

Processing the screen capture image
In Windows I usually use photoshop for screen shot processing, but it works the same in other image programs like Fireworks or The Gimp Open Source image manipulation program. That one is free, and also works quite well for this task.

Whichever program you use, all you need to do is start it up, select 'new' from the file menu, in photoshop, the gimp, or fireworks the new image will be sized to fit the image that is currently active in your clipboard [same place 'cut' and 'copy' stuff goes]. Click on the new window, then hit ctrl + v, that will copy the screen shot into the graphics new image. Resize it to suit your needs.

[ ctrl + c copies, ctrl + x cuts, and ctrl + v pastes ]

That's it, pretty easy. good luck, Erik Z.

Try the GIMP !!
By the way, if you haven't checked The Gimp out yet, and don't want to pay a fortune for photoshop, check it out, it will do most of the things you need to do, and since it's a free open source application, it doesn't cost a penny. You can read a review of the Gimp at or at

Commercial screen capture applications
There is also a commercial product that makes taking screenshots easier, SnagIt, but I can't really see much reason to buy something when it's this easy to do it with your existing tools. Here's a review of some Windows screen capture tools if you're interested.
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