How to take a screenshot in Chrome
Chrome offers several ways to capture a screenshot, but extensions add even more features
When it comes to taking screenshots on Chrome, no single set of instructions will work for every user.
Unfortunately, there is no universal way to take a screenshot, and the controls to execute will differ from machine to machine. What's more, some devices have multiple ways to capture the whole screen and the thing you're taking a screenshot of might also have its own method. Google Chrome, for instance, has several handy shortcuts to capture the entire screen.
Also worth noting that not all methods of screenshots are free: Chrome comes with existing tools to execute one and those are free and pre-installed, but they're not the simplest tools to use. Some trial and error may be needed if you opt for them, but the functions are not too dissimilar to those found on Windows 10.
Browser extensions do have plenty of choices, however, with most of them housing additional tools to edit and tweak your images. We've curated the best, free screenshot extension available on Chrome, so you don't have to.
Take a screenshot in Chrome without an extension
Chrome's native screenshot tools are incredibly easy to use, but also incredibly convoluted. The average user may struggle to find where they're located or even how they can call them up. They're actually housed in Chrome's developer tools panel, so users will need to search for them.
To begin, start by opening the devs tools within Chrome with one of these three options:
1. Clicking on the three dots in the browser’s top right corner. Then clicking on “More tools", then “Developer tools".
2. Using the keyboard shortcut: Control-Shift-I in Windows or Linux, or Command-Option-I on a Mac.
3. Or right-clicking anywhere on the web page and selecting “Inspect” in the pop-up window.
Once you’ve called up the developer tools panel, next you’ll open up the command menu. To do this, you’ll press Control-Shift-P in Windows or Linux, or Command-Shift-P on a Mac.
Now type “screenshot” into the command menu, which will present you four screenshot options.
- “Capture screenshot” takes a screenshot of only what’s visible on your screen and nothing more.
- “Capture full size screenshot” takes a screen grab of the entire webpage you’re on from top to bottom — even beyond what you can immediately see on your screen.
- “Capture area screenshot” allows you to draw a box around the area you want a screenshot of.
- “Capture node screenshot” captures HTML/DOM elements on the page, which most people will never need to do.
Once you choose the appropriate option, the screenshot should save to your computer automatically. If so, it’ll show up as a download along the bottom of your browser window.
Like any download, you can open it by clicking the file at the bottom of the Chrome browser or double-clicking the file in your downloads folder. And just like any image, you can use an editor to crop it.
Though these steps aren’t overly complex, you may still prefer an even simpler method: a browser extension.
The best extensions for taking screenshots in Chrome
A browser extension is a piece of software you add to your browser to customize it. Since Chrome is the most popular browser, it has thousands of available extensions. Dozens of these extensions are simply for taking screenshots in Chrome.
Here are five popular screenshot extensions and what they’re best used for:
Full Page Screen Capture
There’s a reason this one has over 4 million users and nearly a five-star rating. For one thing, it’s free. Plus, it’s an easy-to-use extension that lets you capture the entire webpage you’re on with just one click.
Click on the extension’s icon at the top of your browser window, and the extension will capture the page as it scrolls from top to bottom. The software can handle complex pages, including inner scrollable elements as well as embedded iframes.
When the extension is done scrolling, it’ll open a new tab where you can save your screenshot in various file formats, including JPEG, PNG or PDF. If you want a PDF, you can also adjust the PDF page size.
This is a highly rated extension is free and has lots of useful features, including:
- Capturing an entire webpage or just part of it
- Support for PNG images
- Adding comments or annotations to your screenshots
- Blurring out any sensitive information you want to hide
- Making MP4 video recordings of your computer screen with your narration
Once you complete your screenshot or recording, you can upload it directly to various project management tools, like Jira or Trello. You can also upload your screenshot to a Google drive in the cloud.
Nimbus Screenshot & Screen Video Recorder
This is a sophisticated browser extension with a number of advanced tools, and it’s basic version absolutely free.
Its key free features include:
- Capturing an entire web page or part of it
- Performing a “select and scroll” capture where you select a part of the page and scroll down to capture more of it
- Capturing delayed screenshots
- Capturing a screen in a mobile layout
- Adding a watermark
- Recording a video from your screen, whether it’s of a browser tab or your entire desktop
There is a premium version that costs $24.99 per year adds a few extra useful features, including:
- Converting your screen recording to a GIF
- Adding a watermark to your screenshots
- Cropping and trimming your video
- Uploading videos to Google Drive or Dropbox
- Publishing screencasts to YouTube
It also runs offline, not requiring internet access.
This is a partly free extension that also has an upgraded version you can pay for.
As with most of these other extensions, you can capture the entire webpage or just the visible part of it. Or, by using your cursor, you can select a part of the webpage to capture.
You can save your screenshot as a JPEG, PDF, PNG, GIF or BMP. The files can be saved to your computer or sent via email.
Fireshot’s biggest selling point is its built-in image editor. You can easily and immediately crop, edit or annotate your screenshots in the editor.
The basic version of Fireshot is free, but the pro version with all the upgrades comes with a one-time $39.95 price. Besides giving you access to the image editor, the pro version also allows you to upload your screenshots to places like social media, Flickr, OneNote or Picasa.
This fast and easy extension is similar to Fireshot in that it has built-in image editing tools. Unlike Fireshot, however, Lightshot is entirely free.
You can select any part of the webpage to capture and save or share your screenshots quickly.
One cool additional feature: You can search the web or your hard drive or similar screenshots. This is especially handy if you work with screenshots a lot.
Needless to say, there are many other screenshot extensions for Chrome. Here’s a quick rundown of a few other options and what sets them apart:
Blipshot automatically notes the page name, date and time each time you take a screenshot. This makes it easier to find the screenshot later. Blipshot also screenshots Flash content.
Marker is a paid professional tool used by tech workers who collaborate with teams of web developers. It allows you to “mark up” a screenshot with annotations and send it to teammates via project management tools like Trello, Jira, Asana, Slack, etc. This makes it quicker and easier for product teams and digital agencies to collect and report “bugs” and website feedback. All the reports Marker generates automatically include metadata about the webpages it captures. Marker plans start at $45 a month.
Twitter Screenshots is an extension that lets you screenshot a tweet with one click.
Screenshot YouTube Take a screenshot of any YouTube video with one click.
And there are many others, including Clipular, Open Screenshot, LambdaTest, etc.
The bottom line is If you want to take a screenshot in Chrome, you’ve got a lot of good (and free) options. You just have to find the one with the features that fit your needs.
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