HomeWinBuzzer TipsHow to Take a Screenshot on Chromebooks / ChromeOS / CloudReady

How to Take a Screenshot on Chromebooks / ChromeOS / CloudReady

We show you how to take screenshots and to screen record on your Chromebook using different hotkeys and tools.


Taking Screenshots on laptops is very useful. You may use them to demonstrate how to utilize a new app, just like we do in every tutorial.
Capturing a screenshot on a Chromebook is a simple yet essential skill, whether you’re sharing a snippet of information, saving a digital receipt, or guiding someone through a process. Chromebooks, known for their simplicity and cloud-based efficiency, offer various methods to take screenshots, catering to different needs and preferences.

The screenshot function of Chromebooks used to be limited and only accessible using a weird keyboard shortcut. That changed a year ago when Google released a dedicated tool to capture screenshots and videos of what is visible on your Chromebook.

This tutorial shows you two methods for starting the screen capture tool, how to utilize it, and where to find your captured images and videos on your device.

There aren’t as many choices for third-party screenshot programs for Chromebooks as for Windows or macOS. Although there are many Chrome add-ons, using the built-in features of Chrome OS is the easiest method to record what is on your screen. Here’s how you can use it for a quick and easy screen capture.

How to Take Screenshots on Chromebooks Using a Hotkey

For a quick and efficient way to capture your entire screen on a Chromebook, the hotkey method is your go-to solution. Simply pressing the “Ctrl” + “Show Windows” keys will instantly take a snapshot of your full screen. This method is ideal for when you need to quickly capture and save everything visible on your screen, making it perfect for saving information or sharing what you see with others.

  1. Press the “Ctrl” + “Show Windows” Keys
    Simply hold down the “Ctrl” key and press the “Show Windows” key (which looks like a rectangle with two trailing lines on the side) to instantly capture a full-screen screenshot.
    Chromebook - Keyboard - Ctrl Key+Show Windows Key

  2. Access Your Screenshot
    Immediately after taking it, your screenshot will briefly appear in a notification at the bottom right of your screen, and it will be saved automatically to your “Downloads” folder.
     Chromebook - Screenshot Hotkey

How to Take a Partial Screenshot on Chromebooks Using a Hotkey

When you only need to capture a specific area of your screen, the partial screenshot hotkey offers precision and flexibility. By pressing “Shift” + “Ctrl” + “Show Windows“, you can select and capture just the portion of the screen you need. This method is particularly useful for focusing on important information without cluttering your screenshot with unnecessary background elements.

  1. Press “Shift” + “Ctrl” + “Show Windows”
    Initiate the partial screenshot mode by pressing these keys together.

    Chromebook - Keyboard - Ctrl Key+Shift Key+Show Windows Key

  2. Drag to Select Area
    Click and drag to highlight the area you want to capture, then release to take your screenshot.
    Chromebook - Keyboard - Partial Screenshot Hotkey - Click&Drag

  3. Access Your Partial Screenshot
    The captured image will show up at the bottom-right corner of your screen.

    Chromebook - Keyboard - Partial Screenshot Hotkey - Click&Drag - Result

How to Take a Screenshot of a Window on Chromebooks Using a Hotkey

To capture a single window without any background distractions, Chromebooks allow you to take a window screenshot using a hotkey. This method is perfect for creating clean and focused captures of applications or dialog boxes, ideal for tutorials, documentation, or sharing specific app interfaces.

  1. Press “Ctrl” + “Alt” + “Show Windows”
    Activate the window capture mode with this shortcut.

    Chromebook - Keyboard - Ctrl Key+Alt Key+Show Windows Key

  2. Choose a Window
    Hover over the window you wish to capture until it’s highlighted, then click to take the screenshot. Your cursor will be switched to a camera icon after these steps. Click the icon when it is over the window you wish to take a screenshot of. Instead of capturing the entire screen, this will capture one window. ChromeOS will save screenshots in the “My Files” folder – see below where to find them.

    Chromebook - Screenshot Toolbar - Windows Screenshot Icon

How to Take a Screenshot on a Chromebook Using “Quick Settings”

For those who prefer a more visual approach, the “Quick Settings” menu provides an intuitive way to take screenshots. Accessible with a simple click, this method allows you to choose from full-screen, partial, or window capture options without memorizing keyboard shortcuts, catering to users who favor a point-and-click interface.

  1. Open Quick Settings
    Click the clock at the bottom-right corner to reveal the Quick Settings panel.

  2. Select “Screen Capture”
    Find and click on the “Screen Capture” option to open the screenshot and recording toolbar.

    Chromebook - Quick Settings - Screen Capture

How to Use the Chrome OS Screenshot Toolbar

The Chrome OS Screenshot Toolbar is a versatile tool that offers comprehensive screenshot and screen recording options. Whether you need a full-screen capture, a specific area, or a particular window, the toolbar provides an easy-to-use interface with additional functionalities like screen recording, making it a powerful tool for all your screen capture needs.

  1. Open the Screenshot Toolbar
    Press the “Ctrl” + “Shift” + “Show Windows” keys simultaneously to bring up the Chrome OS Screenshot Toolbar at the bottom of your screen. Click on the toggle at the left corner of the Screen Capture Toolbar to switch to screen recording.

    Chromebook - Screenshot Toolbar - Video

  2. Using Full-Screen Screenshot Mode
    For a full-screen screenshot, click the “Full-Screen” icon.

    Chromebook - Screenshot Toolbar - Full Screenshot

  3. Using “Partial Screenshot” or “Windows Screenshot” Mode
    For a partial screenshot, select the “Partial Screenshot” icon and then click and drag to select the area you want to capture. To capture a specific window, click the window icon, then click on the window you wish to capture.

    Chromebook - Screenshot Toolbar - Partial Screenshot

  4. Recording Audio
    You can easily add voiceover to video screen captures by using the settings button on the toolbar to switch on or off the microphone.

    Chromebook - Screenshot Toolbar - Turn Mic On Off

How to Take a Screenshot on CloudReady (ChromeOS for PC/Mac)

CloudReady is an installable version of ChromeOS which can be used to turn any PC/Mac into a Chromebook. CloudReady users can enjoy the familiar ChromeOS screenshot functionality on their PCs or Macs. This method ensures that transitioning from a traditional Chromebook to CloudReady doesn’t compromise on the ease and convenience of taking screenshots, maintaining consistency across devices.

  1. Fullscreen Screenshot
    Press “Ctrl” + “F5” on your keyboard to capture the entire screen on CloudReady devices.

    Windows 11 - CloudReady - Screenshot Hotkey

  2. Partial Screenshot
    Use “Shift” + “Ctrl” + “F5” to select and capture a specific screen area.

    Windows 11 - CloudReady - Partial Screenshot Hotkey

Where to Find Saved Screenshots on Your Chromebook

Once you’ve taken a screenshot, knowing where to find it is crucial. Chromebooks automatically save screenshots in the “Downloads” folder, but they can also be accessed quickly from the Clipboard or the Tote area for immediate use. This system ensures that your screenshots are easily retrievable for editing, sharing, or organizing.

  1. Open the Files App
    Click the Launcher button, then “Files” to open the file manager.

    Chromebook - Menu - Files

  2. Navigate to Downloads
    Find your screenshots in the “Downloads” folder, ready for any action you wish to take.

    Chromebook - Menu - Files - Downloads - Screenshot

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Taking Screenshots on Chromebooks

Can I edit screenshots directly on my Chromebook after taking them?

While ChromeOS doesn’t come with built-in advanced image editing tools specifically for screenshots, you have several options for basic editing tasks. You can open your screenshots with the built-in image viewer and use simple editing features like cropping. For more advanced editing, such as adding text or filters, you can use Google Photos, which offers a range of editing tools. Additionally, the Google Play Store on compatible Chromebooks provides access to a plethora of image editing apps like Adobe Lightroom, Snapseed, or Pixlr, offering extensive editing capabilities from simple adjustments to complex photo manipulations.

How do I take a screenshot on a Chromebook if my keyboard is malfunctioning?

If you’re facing issues with your keyboard, you can still take screenshots using your mouse or touchpad through the ChromeOS user interface. Click on the clock area in the bottom-right corner of your screen to open the system tray and “Quick Settings.” From there, select the “Screen Capture” option, which opens a toolbar at the bottom of the screen. This toolbar allows you to choose between full-screen, partial, or window screenshots without needing the keyboard. For touch-enabled Chromebooks, you can tap on these options directly on the screen.

Is it possible to change the default location where screenshots are saved on a Chromebook?

By default, ChromeOS saves all screenshots to the “Downloads” folder. Currently, ChromeOS does not offer a built-in feature to change this default save location directly. However, you can manually move your screenshots to a different folder after taking them. To automate this process, consider using a file management app from the Google Play Store that can monitor your “Downloads” folder and automatically move screenshots to a designated folder based on file type or name rules you set.

Can I use voice commands to take screenshots on Chromebooks?

Yes, Chromebooks with Google Assistant enabled allow you to use voice commands for various tasks, including taking screenshots. Activate Google Assistant by saying “Hey Google” or pressing the Assistant key on your keyboard (if available), and then say “take a screenshot.” This command should capture the current screen content. However, availability and functionality might vary based on your Chromebook model and the version of ChromeOS it’s running. Ensure your device’s microphone is on and Google Assistant is set up correctly in your Chromebook’s settings.

How do I share a screenshot immediately after taking it on a Chromebook?

Immediately after capturing a screenshot, a notification will appear at the bottom right of your screen. Clicking on this notification opens the screenshot, where you’ll find a share icon. Clicking this icon presents various sharing options, including social media platforms, email, and connected apps. You can also save the screenshot directly to Google Drive for easy access from other devices. If you miss the notification, you can still share the screenshot by navigating to the “Downloads” folder, right-clicking the file, and selecting the “Share” option.

What is the quickest way to take a screenshot of a specific app window on a Chromebook?

To quickly capture a specific application window, press “Ctrl + Alt + Show Windows“. Your cursor will change to a camera icon, and as you hover over open windows, each will be highlighted. Click on the window you wish to capture. This method is efficient for isolating content from a single app, especially when you need a clean capture without background distractions. This feature is particularly useful for creating tutorials, presentations, or documentation where clarity is key.

How can I annotate a screenshot on my Chromebook?

After taking a screenshot, you can use various tools to annotate it. For basic annotations like drawing, adding text, or highlighting, you can use the built-in Gallery app by opening the screenshot and selecting the edit option. For more advanced annotations, consider using Google Keep, which allows you to import the screenshot and add notes, drawings, and labels. Additionally, the Google Play Store offers numerous annotation apps like Squid, Xodo PDF Reader & Editor, and others that provide a wide range of annotation tools from simple doodles to complex note-taking.

Is there a way to assign custom keyboard shortcuts for taking screenshots on a Chromebook?

ChromeOS does not currently support the customization of keyboard shortcuts natively for system actions like taking screenshots. Users are encouraged to utilize the default shortcuts provided by ChromeOS. For users seeking more flexibility, third-party extensions or apps available through the Chrome Web Store or Google Play Store might offer alternative methods or workflows for taking screenshots, including the potential for custom triggers or shortcuts within the constraints of the app’s functionality.

Can I take a screenshot during a video playback on a Chromebook?

Yes, you can take screenshots during video playback on a Chromebook using the standard screenshot shortcuts. However, be aware that some content, especially on DRM-protected platforms like Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+, may block screenshots or result in a black image due to copyright restrictions. For non-protected content, simply pause the video at the desired moment and use any of the screenshot methods to capture the frame. This can be useful for educational purposes, creating content, or saving a particular scene for personal use.

How do I ensure my screenshots are backed up on a Chromebook?

To ensure your screenshots are backed up, you can manually move them to Google Drive by dragging them into the Google Drive folder in the “Files” app or by right-clicking the screenshot and selecting “Save to Google Drive“. For automatic backup, enable Google Photos backup in your Google Drive settings. This will sync images from the “Downloads” folder, including screenshots, to Google Photos, providing an easy and automatic backup solution. Remember to check your Google Drive and Google Photos storage limits to ensure you have enough space for your backups.

What formats do Chromebook screenshots save in, and can this be changed?

Screenshots on Chromebooks are saved in PNG format, known for its lossless compression and clarity, making it ideal for capturing screen content. Currently, ChromeOS does not offer an option to change the default screenshot format directly. If you need the screenshot in a different format, such as JPEG, you’ll need to use an image conversion tool or app. Many online tools and apps available through the Google Play Store can convert PNG files to JPEG or other formats, allowing you to choose the format that best suits your needs for sharing or storage.

Can I set up a Chromebook to take screenshots with a stylus or touch gesture?

On Chromebooks that support stylus input, you can often take a screenshot using the stylus. This might involve pressing a button on the stylus (if available) or using a specific gesture. For touch-enabled Chromebooks, touch gestures for screenshots are not natively supported in ChromeOS, but some apps available through the Google Play Store may offer this functionality. Check your Chromebook’s manual or settings for stylus options, and explore the Google Play Store for apps that enhance touch and stylus interactions, including taking screenshots.

How do I take a screenshot on an external monitor connected to my Chromebook?

When using an external monitor with your Chromebook, screenshots will capture the content based on your display settings. If your display is set to “Mirror“, a screenshot will capture the same content shown on both screens. If it’s set to “Extend“, pressing the screenshot keys will capture the content of the primary display by default. To capture content on the secondary (external) monitor, you’ll need to move the window or content you want to capture to that monitor and then use the screenshot function. Some third-party screenshot tools may offer more flexibility in selecting which monitor to capture.

Is there a limit to the number of screenshots I can take on a Chromebook?

There is no specific limit to the number of screenshots you can take on a Chromebook, but the available storage space on your device will ultimately determine how many screenshots and other files you can store. Chromebooks often come with limited internal storage, but you can manage your space by regularly transferring files to Google Drive, using an external storage device, or deleting unnecessary files. Keeping an eye on your storage usage through the “Files” app will help you manage your screenshots and other data effectively.

How do I delete multiple screenshots at once on a Chromebook?

To delete multiple screenshots simultaneously, open the “Files” app and navigate to the “Downloads” folder or the folder where your screenshots are stored. Press and hold the “Ctrl” key while clicking on each screenshot you wish to delete to select multiple files. Once you’ve selected all the desired screenshots, right-click on one of the highlighted files and choose “Delete” from the context menu, or simply press the “Delete” key on your keyboard. Confirm the deletion if prompted, and the selected screenshots will be removed from your storage, helping you free up space and keep your files organized.

Related: How to Screen Record on a Chromebook

Google has included a native screen recorder for Chromebooks in 2020, and the feature has been on the stable channel for over two years. Not to mention, Google has also created a screencast software on Chrome OS, bringing enhanced screen recording with annotation, camera view, transcription, and other features to Chromebooks. You can find out how to record the screen on a Chromebook in our other guide.Featured - how to screen record on chromebook

Related: How To “Split Screen” on a Chromebook/on ChromeOS

The split screen feature on Chromebooks/ChromeOS is a useful function that allows users to view and work on two windows simultaneously. This can enhance productivity and multitasking, especially for tasks that require switching between different tabs or applications. There are different ways to use the split screen feature on Chromebooks, which we are all showing in detail in our other guide.
Featured - how to split screen on chromebook

Related: How to Zoom In and Out on a Chromebook

Zooming in and out on a Chromebook is a valuable skill for enhancing your user experience, whether for work, education, or leisure. There are multiple ways you can zoom in and out on a Chromebook. These include keyboard shortcuts, touchpad gestures, and specific tools designed to magnify small screen sections. Our other guide covers these methods comprehensively, ensuring you can adjust your Chromebook’s display to your personal requirements.
  Featured - how to zoom out on chromebook

Last Updated on April 21, 2024 7:35 pm CEST

Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus is the founder of WinBuzzer and has been playing with Windows and technology for more than 25 years. He is holding a Master´s degree in International Economics and previously worked as Lead Windows Expert for Softonic.com.
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