Screen capture overlay on Chromebooks

Chromebooks and Chromeboxes are intended to be easy-to-use computers, but that simplicity can lead to confusion. Taking screenshots is one feature that isn’t super well explained, and there are several different ways to do it in Chrome OS. We’ll show you all of them.

Chrome OS 89 introduced a screenshot and screen recorder tool for Chromebooks and Chromeboxes. Before this, you had to know specific keyboard shortcuts—which still work—to take a screenshot. This is a much nicer solution, especially when using a Chromebook in tablet mode.

RELATED: How to Screen Record on Your Chromebook

Use the Screen Capture Tool

First, we’ll show you how to use the Chromebook’s built-in Screen Capture tool. This tool can do both screenshots and video screen recordings.

To get started, click the clock on the taskbar—a.k.a. “Shelf”—in the bottom-right corner to open the Quick Settings panel.

click the clock to open settings panel

Select the arrow in the top-right corner of the menu if it’s not fully expanded.

expand the panel by clicking the down arrow

Next, click the “Screen Capture” button.

select the screen capture button

To take a screenshot on a Chromebook, make sure the screenshot tool that looks like a camera icon is highlighted.

You have three different screenshot methods. You can capture the full screen, partial screen, or a specific window. Select one of the options to proceed.

screen capture tools include options for full screen, partial screen, and windows

Each one of these methods works slightly differently:

  • Full Screen: Click anywhere on the screen to take a screenshot of the entire screen.
  • Partial: Click and drag your mouse or trackpad pointer to select an area or portion of the screen you want to screenshot, then select “Capture.”
  • Window: Click the window or area of the screen you want to screenshot.

Here’s what that looks like for a full screenshot…

…a partial screenshot…

…and a window screenshot.

When you take the screenshot, it will appear in the bottom-right corner of the screen and automatically be copied to your Chromebook’s clipboard. You can immediately “Edit” or “Delete” the screenshot from the preview thumbnail.

RELATED: How to Access the Clipboard Manager on a Chromebook

Use a Keyboard Shortcut

The Screen Capture tool is pretty easy to open, but you may want an even quicker option if you take a lot of screenshots. That’s where keyboard shortcuts come in.

There are three keyboard shortcuts associated with the three screenshot methods mentioned above. The shortcuts all use the Window key, which is the key on the top row of the keyboard that looks like three rectangles:

The Window key on Chromebook keyboards

Below are the three keyboard shortcuts to screenshot on a Chromebook:

  • Ctrl+Window: Immediately takes a full-screen screenshot.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Window: Opens the Screen Capture tool and allows you to select and take a partial screenshot.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Window: Opens the Screen Capture tool and asks you to select a window to screenshot.

For the partial screenshot, you will need to drag your mouse cursor over an area to select what you want to screenshot, then click “Capture.”

For the window screenshot, click the window or area of the display you want to screenshot.

After using one of the three methods, the screenshot will appear in the bottom-right corner of the screen and be copied to your Chromebook’s clipboard. You can then “Edit” or “Delete” the screenshot.

Use a Stylus

If your Chromebook supports stylus input, you can use the pen to take screenshots as well. There are two methods for doing this.

Full-Screen Screenshot

With your stylus paired with your Chromebook, tap the pen icon in the taskbar.

Google

Next, select “Capture Screen” from the pop-up menu.

select "screen capture"
Google

The screenshot will appear in the bottom-right corner of the screen and be copied to your clipboard. You can then “Edit” or “Delete” the screenshot from the preview thumbnail.

Partial Screenshot

Tap the pen button in the taskbar.

Google

Select “Capture Region” from the menu.

Choose the "Capture Region" option from the pop-up menu
Google

Use the stylus to select the area of the screen you want to capture. Lift the pen off of the display to take the screenshot.

select area of the screen that you want to capture
Google

The screenshot will appear in the bottom-right corner of the screen and automatically be copied to your Chromebook’s clipboard. You can immediately “Edit” or “Delete” the screenshot by selecting either button.

Where Are Screenshots Saved?

Screenshots are strangely saved to the Chromebook’s “Downloads” folder. Unfortunately, you can’t change where screenshots are stored by default.

To access the Downloads folder, click the App Launcher icon in the bottom-left corner to see all of the apps installed on your Chromebook. From there, open the “Files” app.

Now select “Downloads” in the sidebar, and you’ll see all your screenshots on the right.


As you can see, there are many options for taking a screenshot on a Chromebook. It just depends on which method works best for your situation. Now you know!

RELATED: How to Copy Files to a USB Flash Drive on a Chromebook

Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has close to a decade of experience covering consumer technology and previously worked as a News Editor at XDA Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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