Liked a recipe while perusing or scrolling through Instagram? Crushing on the new Nike shoes? Want to follow the new 30-day ab challenge posted by your favorite fitness coach?

Want to go back in time and see these again? You’ve got to understand how to take a screenshot.

A screenshot also referred to as a screengrab, is an image that shows the contents of a smartphone or a computer display. Basically, it allows you to capture exactly what you see on screen and keep it for reference later. 

But here’s the catch: Screenshots are typically stored as PNG files (especially on Android). In other words, they are not as compressed as JPG files from the camera, making their file size too big. Before we jump into how you can reduce the file size, let’s address the elephant in the room:

Why Should You Take Screenshots?

As mentioned earlier, high-quality screenshots allow you to take a trip down the “memory lane.” Here are a few of its benefits. It allows you to:

  • Understand the exact context of the problem, which may sometimes be difficult to convey – for instance, reporting bugs on a particular app.
  • Use the screenshot as a “reference” later.
  • Document a moment online that possibly evoked an emotion or stirred something inside you.
  • Save anything that you see on screen and share relevant information.
  • Convey the information in a clear and concise manner.

The learning: Screenshots provide a glimpse into a person’s online behavior and help capture important moments across a user’s digital activity–be it on desktops, tablets, or smartphones. 

Moving on, let’s look at how to take a screenshot on a computer and a smartphone.

How to Take Top Quality Screenshots on a PC

There are two ways to take a screenshot on your Windows PC:

#Process 1. You use the PrtScn/Print Screen/PrtSc button depending on your keyboard:

Step 1: Tap that key.

Step 2: Windows will automatically copy a screenshot of your entire screen to your clipboard.

Step 3: Paste the screenshot on a document or blank Paint canvas to save as shown below:

#Process 2: You can also use Windows’ built-in keyboard shortcuts to capture more specific screenshots:

  • Use PrtScn to copy the full-screen screenshot to the clipboard.
  • Use Windows Key + PrtScn to save the full-screen screenshot.
  • Use Alt + PrtScn to copy the screenshot of a single window.
  • Use Windows Key + Alt + PrtScnto save the screenshot of a single window.

Pro tip:

To get a high-quality screenshot on Windows, follow these steps:

Step 1: Navigate to Display settings.

Step 2: Set the highest resolution available for your device.

Step 3: Open Advanced scaling settings and allow Windows to fix apps:

Remember to note that this option should always be turned on prior to taking a screenshot. Let the Custom scaling be as it is.

To capture a screenshot on a Mac system, use the following keyboard shortcuts:

  • Use Command + Shift + 3 to save the fullscreen screenshot.
  • Use Command + Shift + 4, press the Space key, and then click on the window you want to capture to save the screenshot of a single window.
  • Use Command + Shift + 4and then select the area you want to capture with your mouse cursor to save the screenshot of a selected area.

To get a high-quality screenshot on Mac, follow these steps:

Step 1: Prior to capturing a screen, select the option “Larger text” or “Retina” in your display settings:

You’ll get a high-quality screenshot that offers richer image quality.

How to Take Top Quality Screenshots on a Smartphone

Depending on which operating system you use, you can follow these steps to take a screenshot:

To capture a screenshot on an iPhone or iPad:

Step 1: Press the home button and the power button simultaneously.

Your full-screen screenshot will automatically be saved to your Photos app.

Note: Screenshots are automatically saved to the Screenshots album, providing a singular view of all the screenshots taken.

To take a screenshot on Android:

Step 1: Press the power and volume down button simultaneously.

Your screenshot will be saved to your Photos app under the folder, Screenshots.

Note: To take higher quality screenshots on your phone, you can use credible third-party apps.

How to Reduce the File Size

One of the biggest problems with a screenshot is that sometimes it may be too hazy or too small size to share. Here are some best practices to follow when reducing the file size:

  1. Always use JPEG, GIF, or PNG formats as these are the three universally supported image formats for the web.
  2. Capture a large image size, which at least has a width of about 1,000 pixels, and then work on resizing it.
  3. Make sure to fill the whole screen with the window you’re taking a screenshot of. To enlarge the content, press Command+Plus on Mac or Ctrl+Plus on Windows.
  4. Understand what kind of image dimensions you should use to help resize your images. Here are some reference sizes for your convenience:

– For a favicon (custom images that show up in the tab), the ideal size should be 16 pixels by 16 pixels.

– For a thumbnail, the image size should be 150 x 150 pixels.

– For a logo, it should be 500 pixels.

Pro tip: You can check your image size by checking the file data. All you have to do is right-click on the image file, choose “properties,” and check the width and height in “details.”

  1. Remove unnecessary image metadata by using specialized tools.
  2. Use automated tools or plugins to ensure that all your image assets are always optimized.
  3. Use a tool like Paint to reduce image sizes before adding them to files.

Wrapping Up

Screenshots have become a part of our digital fabric and behavior–people are increasingly communicating with others through pictures and visuals. This makes it important to optimize them and capture high-quality images so that the information shared is legible and easy to digest. Thoughts?