How to take a screenshot of only the active window in Windows

Sometimes it is necessary to take a screenshot on your Windows PC, but taking a picture of just one window is more complicated than it seems. You want to capture what you’re working on, but not your important, confidential or sensitive information, especially if you’re going to share it with the world. Fortunately, there is a simple solution.

Here’s how to take a screenshot of just the open window you’re working on.

How the Print Screen function works

when you press the button PrtScr on your computer, the entire screen as shown to you, minus a few things (such as the mouse pointer), is copied to the clipboard. You must then paste this clipboard data into an image processing program (Microsoft Paint, Adobe Photoshop, and the like) before saving it as an image file.

You can shorten this process and have Windows create an image file for you. Do this by holding down the Windows button while pressing the PrtScr button on your keyboard. This image will be saved in PNG format, and by default it will be located at the following address:


Here, [Current_User] is a placeholder for the name of your Windows user profile.

If you want a screenshot of just the active window, you’ll need to edit this image and crop out the parts you don’t want. However, you can simplify the process even more.

How to take a screenshot of only the active window in Windows

Taking a screenshot of just the open window is pretty easy: just hold down the key alternative key on your keyboard when you press PrtScr. This will add a screenshot of the active window to the clipboard, which you can paste elsewhere.

Windows itself doesn’t have a way to save screenshots of active windows when you take them. However, you can use the Xbox Game Bar to do this. It should be on your Windows PC by default, but if it isn’t, you can download it from the Microsoft app store.

Once you are on your PC, press Win + Alt + PrintScreen to immediately save a screenshot of the active window to your computer. Because we’re using the Xbox Game Bar instead of the default Windows tools, your screenshot will appear in a different location than normal:


Do not be fooled; Even though we’re taking screenshots, Xbox Game Bar places the images in the Videos folder.

If you don’t want to use hotkeys to take your screenshot, you can use the Windows snipping tool instead. You’ll have to manually select the window you want to capture, but it gives you a lot more control over the end result.

And if that’s not up to the task, the best screenshot apps for Windows give you even more power over your screenshots and how you take them. This includes taking screenshots of the active window quickly and easily.

A simple way to improve your productivity

Windows 10 has many lesser-known features that can make your life easier. Now you know how to take a screenshot of the active window without cropping it in an image editor.

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