Taking Screenshots on a Chromebook: A Quick and Dirty Guide

Bertel King Updated 01-03-2019

With Chromebooks getting better all the time, more people are using them to get work done. I’ll assume you’re one of them, and you’ve reached a point where you need to take a screenshot. Fortunately for you, Google has built this feature into Chrome OS.


Here’s how to take a screenshot on a Chromebook, find it, and share it. We’ll also go over a couple great apps that let you take a picture on a Chromebook and edit with annotations in the browser.

How to Take a Screenshot on a Chromebook

If you’re familiar with Microsoft Windows, you may search your Chromebook keyboard looking for a Print Screen key. Chromebooks don’t have a dedicated screenshot key, but you still start a screen capture in much the same way.

To get a screenshot of your whole screen or a part of your screen (even your login screen), you need to use the Show Windows key. This is the button that has a stack of rectangles on it, representing a bunch of windows. It is generally the 5th or 6th key in the top row, between the Full Screen and Brightness Down keys.

  • For a full screen screenshot, press Ctrl + Show Windows.
  • For a partial screenshot, press Ctrl + Shift + Show Windows and drag the selection to your preferred size.

Take Screenshot on a Convertible Chromebook Tablet

Many newer Chromebooks have screens that you can fold all the way back, converting your laptop into a tablet. This is one of the more exciting features of new Chromebooks 7 Features Your Next Chromebook Must Have Chromebooks are becoming increasingly popular. But if you're about to hit the shops and buy your own, check these features your next Chromebook must have before you part with any money. Read More .

Since the keyboard is no longer active in tablet mode, and the virtual keyboard doesn’t offer the same buttons, Google has provided an alternative way to take screenshots. Simply hold down Power + Volume Down.


Where to Find Your Screenshot

Chrome OS displaying a notification after a screenshot

Chrome OS will automatically save your screenshot to your Downloads folder. The image will be in the PNG format, and the name will include the date and time. For example: Screenshot 2019-02-15 at 1.22.47 PM.png.

A notification will appear as soon you take the screenshot. Clicking this notification is the easiest way to locate your file. Chrome OS will open the Files app and highlight the image.

If you miss or accidentally clear the notification, you can find it again by clicking on the system icons near the clock and browsing the the list of notifications. Alternatively, you can navigate to the file yourself. Open the Files app and click on the Downloads section.


How to Share Your Screenshot

Chromebooks allow you to access files as you would on any other computer. You can attach these screenshots to an email, share them on social media, upload them to cloud storage, or copy them to a USB stick or SD card.

When you plug in a removable drive, like a USB stick or SD card, a notification will appear. Click it to open the available storage in the Files app. Alternatively you can find the flash drive or SD card in the Files app’s sidebar.

Another quick way to access this screenshot on another device is to drag and drop it to the Google Drive section of the Files app. If you prefer Dropbox, OneDrive, or another cloud storage provider, you will have to upload the screenshot to your account by visiting their websites.

Note: If you’re using the guest account, make sure you copy the files to an SD card or Google Drive before you exit. The guest account Downloads folder is emptied when the guest logs out, so all those screenshots will be deleted.


Helpful Google Chrome Extensions and Web Apps

The Awesome Screenshot Google Chrome web app

While Chrome OS has expanded beyond being a web browser in a computer, the bulk of the experience still centers around Google Chrome. You can increase what your computer can do by installing Chrome extensions.

There are also numerous extensions for taking screenshots from within the Chrome browser. You can find them in the Chrome Web Store. Some Chrome extensions or web apps, such as Awesome Screenshot, allow you to edit or annotate your screenshots right away, providing functionality not built into Chrome OS by default.

While Google no longer offers an official Chrome screenshot extension, Save to Google Drive is one you may find useful. This extension gives you the option to save images directly to your Google drive using the right-click context menu.


Download: Awesome Screenshot (Free)
Download: Save to Google Drive (Free)

Also Try Chromebook-Compatible Android Apps

As you may have noticed, the screenshot shortcut for Chromebooks Every Chromebook Keyboard Shortcut You'll Ever Need Master Chrome OS with this list of every important Chromebook keyboard shortcut you'll ever need. Read More in tablet mode is the same as Android devices. The similarity doesn’t stop there. Now that Chromebooks come with Google Play, you can capture screens on Chromebooks in much the same way as you take screenshots on an Android device The 5 Best Ways to Take a Screenshot on Any Android Phone We show you how to take a screenshot on Android. Choose between default shortcuts and apps to capture your Android phone. Read More .

Not every third-party app is compatible with Chrome OS, but many are. Screenshot Easy, for example, not only works on Chromebooks, but it has an interface that scales up to larger screens. The folder view makes screenshots easy to browse, and the app comes with its own editing tools.

Download: Screenshot Easy (Free)

Do You Need More Chromebook Help?

Chromebooks are simple computers, so there isn’t nearly as much to learn as there is on Windows, macOS, or other versions of Linux. Chrome OS comes with an app called Get Help that can answer many of your questions. For more, see our Chromebook introduction What Is a Chromebook? What is a Chromebook? What's a Chromebook good for? How does a Chromebook compare to a laptop? We answer these and more. Read More or check out our ultimate Chromebook how-to guide The Ultimate How-To Guide for Chromebook Beginners Chromebooks deserve their reputation for being easy-to-use, but that doesn't mean everything is simple. To help you get to grips, here's an ultimate how-to guide for your Chromebook. Read More .

Image Credits: John Baer/Flickr

Related topics: Chrome OS, Chromebook, Google Chrome, Screen Capture, Screenshots.

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  1. Moseph
    June 15, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    I found an easier way to get a screen shot of the login screen.

    When you're at the login screen, hit Ctrl+F5 to take a screen shot.
    Log in and open chrome. In the chrome broswer address bar type: /tmp/
    this will show you a list of files in the tmp directory
    scroll down to to the screen shot file and click to open
    once the screenshot opens hit ctrl+F5 again to take a screenshot of the screenshot.
    this will put the new screen shot into your downloads folder and you can copy it to your google drive from there.
    no need for developer mode or secret switches or additional software.

  2. Donovan
    June 22, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Not working

  3. Martin
    January 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    I love Clipular Chrome extension for screenshots- very user friendly and options available

    • Angela A
      January 18, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      Cool, I will check it out.