How to Use the Snipping Tool on Your Computer

In today’s digital age, capturing and sharing snippets of your screen has become an essential skill. Whether you’re creating a tutorial, troubleshooting a problem, or sharing something interesting from your screen, the Snipping Tool is a handy tool that simplifies the process. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about using the Snipping Tool on computer.

What is the Snipping Tool?

The Snipping Tool is a screenshot utility included in Windows operating systems. It allows you to capture a portion of your screen, annotate it, save it, and share it easily. Introduced with Windows Vista, the Snipping Tool has evolved over the years, incorporating new features and capabilities.

Why Use the Snipping Tool?

Ease of Use

The Snipping Tool is incredibly user-friendly. With just a few clicks, you can capture any part of your screen without needing any advanced technical knowledge.


It offers various snip types, including free-form, rectangular, window, and full-screen snips, making it versatile enough for different needs.

Built-in Annotation Tools

After capturing a snip, you can annotate it directly within the Snipping Tool. This feature is particularly useful for creating instructional content or highlighting specific areas in a screenshot.

How to Access the Snipping Tool

Accessing the Snipping Tool is straightforward. Here’s how you can find it on different versions of Windows:

On Windows 10

  • Start Menu: Click on the Start button, type “Snipping Tool” in the search bar, and select the Snipping Tool from the results.
  • Shortcut: Press Windows + Shift + S to open the Snip & Sketch tool, which is the modern version of the Snipping Tool.

On Windows 11

  • Start Menu: Click on the Start button, type “Snipping Tool” in the search bar, and select the app from the results.
  • Shortcut: Press Windows + Shift + S to open the Snipping Tool directly.

How to Use the Snipping Tool

Using the Snipping Tool involves a few simple steps. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Open the Snipping Tool

Launch the Snipping Tool from the Start menu or using the shortcut as described above.

Step 2: Choose Your Snip Type

The Snipping Tool offers several snip types:

  • Free-form Snip: Draw a free-form shape around the area you want to capture.
  • Rectangular Snip: Drag the cursor to form a rectangle around the area.
  • Window Snip: Select a window, such as a browser window or dialog box, to capture.
  • Full-screen Snip: Capture the entire screen.

Select the desired snip type by clicking the mode dropdown or using the mode button, depending on your version of the tool.

Step 3: Capture the Snip

After selecting your snip type, your screen will freeze, and you can drag or select the area you want to capture. Release the mouse button to complete the snip.

Step 4: Annotate and Save

Once you have your snip, you can use the built-in tools to annotate it. Draw, highlight, or erase as needed. When you’re done, save your snip by clicking the save icon or pressing Ctrl + S.

Advanced Features of the Snipping Tool

Delayed Snips

One of the newer features in the Snipping Tool is the delay option. This allows you to set a timer (usually up to 5 seconds) before the snip is taken, which is useful for capturing context menus or other transient elements.

Snip & Sketch Integration

In Windows 10 and 11, the Snipping Tool is integrated with Snip & Sketch. This integration brings enhanced functionality, such as:

Better Annotation Tools: More advanced drawing tools and the ability to use touch or pen input on compatible devices.

Easy Sharing: Quickly share your snips via email, social media, or other apps directly from the Snip & Sketch interface.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Snipping Tool Not Opening

If the Snipping Tool does not open, try the following solutions:

  • Restart Your Computer: Sometimes, a simple restart can resolve the issue.
  • Update Windows: Ensure your operating system is up-to-date, as updates often fix bugs.
  • Check for Corrupt Files: Use the System File Checker tool (sfc /scannow in Command Prompt) to check for and repair corrupted files.

Snipping Tool Shortcuts Not Working

If the keyboard shortcuts aren’t working:

Check Keyboard Settings: Ensure that your keyboard shortcuts are enabled in the Windows settings.

Reassign Shortcuts: Sometimes, reassignment of shortcuts can resolve conflicts with other applications.

Alternatives to the Snipping Tool

While the Snipping Tool is versatile, you might want to explore other options that offer additional features:


Snagit is a premium screen capture tool with advanced editing capabilities, making it ideal for professional use.


Greenshot is a free, open-source alternative that provides robust screenshot capture and annotation tools.


Lightshot is another free tool that allows for quick screen captures and easy sharing.

Tips and Tricks for Effective Snipping

Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Memorizing shortcuts like Windows + Shift + S can significantly speed up your workflow.

Combine with Other Tools

Integrate the Snipping Tool with other applications like Microsoft OneNote or Adobe Photoshop for enhanced editing and organizing.

Practice Precision

Take advantage of the delay feature to capture exactly what you need, especially when dealing with transient elements like drop-down menus.


The Snipping Tool is an indispensable utility for anyone who needs to capture and share screen content. Its simplicity and range of features make it suitable for both casual and professional users. By understanding how to use it effectively, you can enhance your productivity and communication. Whether you’re a teacher creating tutorials, a developer documenting bugs, or just someone who loves to share interesting finds, the Snipping Tool has got you covered.

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