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What is Screenshot Software?

The statement “A picture is worth a thousand words” describes what screenshot tools are all about. Screenshot software is a powerful tool, common in today's business world. Many people also find screenshots useful in their personal communications. In this article, we will explain what screenshot software is and some uses.

Screenshots Explained

Differing from a photograph (that involves the concept of light exposure and uses a camera), screenshots produce an image/graphics file by using data that is displayed by the computer screen or mobile device (such as a smartphone or an iPhone). According to an article on, the history of screenshots stretches way back, to 1959. Since then, screenshots have become so common that most people take them for granted. Other terms used to describe screenshots are: screen capture, screencap, screenshotting and screengrab. Some screenshot tools will also record a video/screencast of the computer screen output.

Note: Taking a screenshot of someone else's copyrighted image is not illegal, but how you use or share or publish that image could be. Check out this LifeHacker article for more info.


Communication is one area that has become much more efficient with the use of screen captures. Common uses for screenshots include: documentation, evidence, reference material and everyday collaboration with other individuals such as coworkers and friends. If you know how to take a screenshot, any task that involves an explanation becomes much easier.

Not every computer device creates screenshots using the same method. Others have written extensively on various screenshot shortcuts, but here are some simple instructions on how to take a screenshot on various operating systems:

Windows 10: Press the Print Screen button. Though you won’t see much happen, this action copies the screen image to the invisible clipboard. Then open the software program that you want to copy the screenshot into, and hit Ctrl+V (to paste). To capture only the window that is currently open, use Alt+Print Screen.

Linux Ubuntu: On the Activities menu, choose Screenshot. Then, before screenshotting, select either a single window, just part of the screen, or the whole screen. Other ways to carry out the same actions are, Alt+Print Screen for a single window; and Shift+Print Screen to choose a partial area. Linux users can also use the Print Screen button.

Mac Operating System: There are two ways to bring up the screenshot tool: Command+Shift+5; or going to Launchpad, then Other; then Screenshot. Users are given various choices including grabbing the whole screen, part of the screen,  just one window, video capture and more.

Android: Depending on the phone’s manufacturer, most Android devices are able to perform a screenshot by holding down two buttons: the volume down button and the power button. Some phones will screenshot while holding the power button and the home button. Downloading third party apps is also an option for Android users.

iOS / iPhone: If the phone has a Home button, hold down the wake/sleep button and the Home button. The screengrab will show up in the Screenshots album and in your camera roll. For phones without a Home button, hold these two buttons down at the same time: volume up button and the side button to the right of the screen (on iPad, it’s the top button). And of course, you can also use a third party tool.

The most common features found in a screenshot tool include:

  • Captures the entire computer screen as an image
  • Captures part of the computer screen
  • Ability to capture up to 4K resolution
  • Allows adding of notes or explanations
  • Allows manipulation or enhancement of image
  • Convert short recording to Graphics Interchange Format
  • Allows cropping of the image

There are many screenshot tools available. To efficiently find the one that best fits your needs, click on 79 Screenshot Software Tools Compared. To receive a free report that reflects what you want in a screenshot tool, simply fill out our custom screenshot software survey.


Screenshot software is extremely useful in many areas. A screen capture tool takes a picture of the computer screen or as Wikipedia put it, a screenshot provides “a digital image that shows the contents of a computer display.” If you haven’t used screenshots yet, start today. Utilize screenshot software to preserve what you see on your phone or computer screen. Communicate better, make life easier.

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