Windows Print Screen Key

Earlier this year I wrote about discovering the purpose of the F11 key on OS X. Today I rediscovered how to get a screen shot for a particular application window using the Print Screen key. If you hit the Print Screen you get a screen shot of the whole desktop. If you you hit Alt + Print Screen you get a nicely cropped screen shot of the current application window. Here are other favorite Windows key shortcuts. Hit Alt + Tab to see all icons for all opened applications. To change focus to a different application hit Tab again until the application of interest is highlighted while still holding down the Alt key. Hit Start + D to toggle between the cluttered/clean desktop. Hit Start + E to open a new Windows Explorer. Hit Alt + F4 to exit the current application. Ctrl + F4 usually closes the current application window (I have seen some applications that don’t observe this key combination). Knowing key shortcuts will make you a more productive developer.

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4 Responses to “Windows Print Screen Key”

  • Cliff Says:

    These are things that I wish every developer knew. There’s also Alt Space to bring up the window context menu. Combine that with either N, X, or R to miNimize, maXimize, or Restore a window respectively. (So it’s Alt Space then N to quickly minimize, for example.) There’s WinKey L to lock the screen or log off. Then there’s the Winkey R combo that brings up the run dialog. I use that to quickly open a command prompt via [WinKey R, c,m,d,Enter]. Also I encourage everyone to download launchy (a crude implementation of Spotlight for Windows). I keep Launchy mapped to Alt F2 to match my mapping for Katapult in KDE/Linux. In fact, I used to set all of my KDE mappings similar to Windows so I wouldn’t have to learn a new key set switching back and forth. Recently I started using a Mac which changed all of that. Knowing these shortcuts as well as IDE hotkeys amounts to hours saved. I recently posted about block copy/ column mode and how it saved my life.

    By the way, I’ve been keeping my eye on your site. It’s very informative! Keep the good articles coming!


  • Trevs Says:

    Windows has such nonsensical shortcut keys. Half of them are alt half control and F keys, what nonsense

  • Ross Says:

    Trevs, perhaps you could share some “sensical” shortcut keys from a different OS?

    To my knowledge, the shortcut keys on Mac are the same as on the PC, where Macs use “Option” instead of “Alt.” And, if they aren’t, they are extremely nonsensical. At least a “Windows-R” for Run makes sense. You could translate that to “DO a Windows Command Run” Where the “DO a Windows command” is dignified by the Windows key, and the “Run” is dignified by “R” which makes perfect sense.

    Now, if you are saying that Linux has shortcuts that make more sense, I would like to know them.

    Also, what would you postulate the F, Control, and Alt keys are there for, if not for shortcuts…

  • Char Says:

    OK, I know that there is a print screen button on a regular PC keypad. My problem is that I do not have the print screen key on my dual platform PC/Mac laptop. The keyboard does not have the number pad or the page up page down and the home end buttons. It is more difficult to do things without the keys I like to use. I wanted a screen shot the other day and I can find no way to do it with my current keyboard. HELP! It comes in handy when you have a project with ten or so files that are put in a notebook and I want to check off each one as it is finished. I can print screen and then paste to document and then cross them off as I go. Thank you in advance! Help! How do I do a screen shot without the keyboard button that states it.

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