How to Screenshot on Chromebook: A Comprehensive Guide

Chromebooks have become increasingly popular due to their simplicity, speed, and integration with Google’s suite of services. However, for new users, learning how to take screenshots on a Chromebook can be a bit different from other devices. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore every possible way to take a screenshot on a Chromebook, along with tips and tricks to make the process as seamless as possible. Whether you need to capture the entire screen, a specific window, or just a portion of your screen, this guide has you covered.

Introduction to Chromebook Screenshots

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Chromebooks are designed to be user-friendly, but their operating system, Chrome OS, has its unique set of features and shortcuts. Taking screenshots is an essential function, especially for students, professionals, and casual users who need to capture information quickly and efficiently.

Why Screenshots are Important

  • Documentation: Screenshots are useful for creating documentation, tutorials, and guides.
  • Troubleshooting: They help in capturing error messages or bugs for troubleshooting purposes.
  • Sharing Information: Screenshots allow users to share visual information quickly with others.

Understanding Chrome OS

Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system developed by Google. It’s built around the Chrome browser and designed for simplicity and speed. Screenshots on Chrome OS can be taken using built-in shortcuts and tools, which we’ll explore in detail.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Screenshots

One of the quickest ways to take a screenshot on a Chromebook is by using keyboard shortcuts. Chrome OS offers several shortcuts to capture different types of screenshots.

Full-Screen Screenshot

To capture the entire screen:

Press Ctrl + Show Windows (F5)

  • The Show Windows key is usually located in the top row of the keyboard and looks like a rectangle with two vertical lines next to it.

Partial Screenshot

To capture a specific portion of the screen:

Press Ctrl + Shift + Show Windows (F5)

  • The screen will dim, and you can click and drag to select the area you want to capture.
  • Release the mouse button to take the screenshot.

Window Screenshot

To capture a specific window:

Press Alt + Show Windows (F5)

  • Move the cursor to the window you want to capture.
  • Click on the window to take the screenshot.

Tips for Using Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Practice Makes Perfect: Familiarize yourself with the shortcuts by practicing them a few times.
  • Memorize the Keys: Remembering the specific keys for each type of screenshot will save you time in the long run.

Using the Screenshot Toolbar

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Chrome OS also provides a built-in screenshot toolbar that offers more control and options.

Accessing the Screenshot Toolbar

Press Shift + Ctrl + Show Windows (F5)

  • The screen will dim, and the toolbar will appear at the bottom of the screen.

Options in the Screenshot Toolbar

  • Capture Mode: Choose between full-screen, partial, or window capture.
  • Screen Recording: The toolbar also allows you to record your screen, which is useful for creating tutorials and presentations.
  • Settings: Access additional settings to customize your screenshot experience.

Using the Screenshot Toolbar Effectively

  • Explore All Options: Familiarize yourself with all the options available in the toolbar to make the most of it.
  • Customize Settings: Adjust the settings to suit your needs, such as changing the default save location.

Annotating and Editing Screenshots

Once you’ve captured your screenshot, you might want to annotate or edit it before saving or sharing.

Built-In Editing Tools

Chrome OS provides basic editing tools through the Gallery app:

Open the Gallery App

  • Find your screenshot in the Downloads folder and double-click to open it in the Gallery app.

Edit Your Screenshot

  • Use the built-in tools to crop, rotate, and adjust the brightness and contrast of your screenshot.
  • Add text or draw directly on the screenshot if needed.

Third-Party Editing Tools

For more advanced editing options, you can use third-party apps available from the Chrome Web Store:

  • Pixlr: A powerful online photo editor that offers a wide range of tools for editing screenshots.
  • Polarr: Another robust photo editor with advanced features and an easy-to-use interface.

Tips for Effective Annotation

  • Highlight Key Areas: Use annotations to draw attention to important parts of the screenshot.
  • Keep It Simple: Avoid cluttering the screenshot with too many annotations.

Saving and Sharing Screenshots

After capturing and editing your screenshot, you’ll want to save and share it.

Default Save Location

By default, screenshots are saved in the Downloads folder. You can access this folder through the Files app.

Changing the Save Location

If you prefer to save your screenshots in a different location:

Navigate to Settings

  • Click on the three-dot menu in the top-right corner and select Settings.

Change Default Save Location

  • Under “Downloads,” click “Change” and select your preferred folder.

Sharing Screenshots

You can easily share your screenshots through various methods:

  • Email: Attach the screenshot to an email using Gmail or any other email service.
  • Cloud Storage: Upload the screenshot to Google Drive or another cloud storage service and share the link.
  • Social Media: Post your screenshot directly to social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Tips for Sharing

  • Optimize File Size: Compress your screenshot if it’s too large to ensure quick sharing.
  • Use Cloud Links: Share links to cloud storage for easier access and to avoid attachment size limits.

Troubleshooting Common Issues


While taking screenshots on a Chromebook is generally straightforward, you may encounter some issues.

Common Problems

  • Screenshots Not Saving: Ensure you have enough storage space in your Downloads folder.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts Not Working: Restart your Chromebook and try again.
  • Toolbar Not Appearing: Make sure you’re using the correct shortcut and that your Chrome OS is up to date.

Solutions and Workarounds

  • Update Chrome OS: Regular updates can fix bugs and improve functionality.
  • Check Keyboard Settings: Ensure that your keyboard shortcuts are enabled in the settings.
  • Use External Tools: If built-in tools fail, consider using third-party screenshot tools.

Third-Party Screenshot Tools

In addition to the built-in options, several third-party tools can enhance your screenshot-taking experience on a Chromebook.

Popular Third-Party Tools

  • Lightshot: An easy-to-use screenshot tool with powerful editing and sharing features.
  • Nimbus Screenshot & Screen Video Recorder: A versatile tool that offers both screenshot and screen recording capabilities.
  • Awesome Screenshot: Provides advanced editing features and cloud storage options.

Installing and Using Third-Party Tools

Visit the Chrome Web Store

  • Search for the screenshot tool you want to install.

Add to Chrome

  • Click “Add to Chrome” to install the extension.

Access and Use

  • Use the extension’s toolbar icon or keyboard shortcuts to take screenshots.

Advantages of Third-Party Tools

  • Enhanced Features: More advanced editing and annotation tools.
  • Cloud Integration: Directly save and share screenshots via cloud services.
  • Customization: Tailor the screenshot experience to your specific needs.

Taking screenshots on a Chromebook is a simple yet essential skill that can greatly enhance your productivity and ability to share information. Whether you use keyboard shortcuts, the built-in screenshot toolbar, or third-party tools, there are plenty of options to suit your needs. By following this comprehensive guide, you can master the art of taking, editing, and sharing screenshots on your Chromebook.

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