15 Important Snipping Tool Shortcuts for Windows

If you have a Windows laptop, you must have captured screenshots with the native Windows Snipping Tool. But, wouldn’t you love the tool more if you could run it with shortcuts? Read on for the most important Windows Snipping Tool shortcuts that will improve your productivity. In addition, find out how Zight can replace the Snipping Tool for Windows if you are looking to get rid of the native app’s obvious limitations.

Ian Mutuli | April 30, 2024 | 6 min read time

Article Last Updated: April 30, 2024

15 Important Snipping Tool Shortcuts for Windows

You know that feeling; when you’re scrolling through a webpage or social media on your laptop, and you come across a piece of very useful information that you want to capture and share. But how?

Sure, you could copy and paste it to your recipient, but who wants to read blocks of text anymore? At least not the 40% of people who prefer visual content, compared to text! Visual content outperforms text by up to 650%!

If you use a Windows laptop, the best thing to do is capture a screenshot of the page with the Snipping Tool. But you can capture screenshots even faster when you know how to use the tool’s shortcuts.

Let’s tell you all about this tool and its shortcuts!

What Is the Windows Snipping Tool?

The Windows Snipping Tool is your go-to, built-in app for screenshots, seamlessly integrated into Windows from Vista onwards, through Windows 7, 8, and 10, and it’s still kicking in Windows 11.

You can use it to capture any part of your screen in different formats and annotate screenshots with its pen and highlighter tools.

The snipping tool is located in the Windows Accessories folder (C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Accessories) and sports an iconic scissors symbol, as what it does is “cut out” or “snip” parts of your screen.

What Can You Do with The Snipping Tool?

The Snipping Tool goes beyond just taking screenshots. Here’s what you can do with it:

  1. Capture different types of snips: Free-form, rectangular, window, or full-screen snips. The flexibility allows you to grab exactly what you need from your screen, whether it’s a detailed section or the entirety of it
  2. Annotate snips: The Snipping Tool offers options to annotate your screenshot. You can use a pen or highlighter to draw attention to specific areas or add hand-written notes directly to the image, making it perfect for tutorials, presentations, or feedback processes
  3. Delay snips: Need to capture a dropdown menu or a tooltip? The Snipping Tool includes a delay feature so you can time your capture perfectly. This is especially useful for grabbing elements on your screen that disappear when not interacted with
  4. Save in multiple formats: After capturing your snip, you can save it in various file formats like PNG, JPEG, GIF, or single file HTML (MHTML)
  5. Copy to clipboard: If you need to quickly share a screenshot in an email, document, or chat, the Snipping Tool lets you copy your captures to the clipboard. Just paste it wherever needed without the need to save the file first
  6. Share easily: The latest versions of the Snipping Tool come with a direct share feature, that lets you send your snips via email without leaving the tool.
  7. Edit with Paint: For more advanced editing options, you can open your snip in Paint directly from the Snipping Tool which is great when you need to do more than just annotate, like resizing or applying filters

15 Windows Snipping Tool Shortcuts You Need to Be Using Today

Here is how to start using the Snipping Tool faster with shortcuts:

How to Open the Snipping Tool

1. Using the Start menu

To open the Snipping Tool, you can follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Start button or press the Windows logo key on your keyboard.
  2. Type “Snipping Tool” into the search bar.
  3. Click on the Snipping Tool app from the search results to open it.

2. Using Run Command

Another quickfire way to launch the Snipping Tool without navigating through menus is:

  1. Press the Windows logo key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type snippingtool and press Enter or click OK.

3. Using Cortana

To use Cortana:

  1. Click on the Cortana search box or microphone icon on the taskbar.
  2. Say “Open Snipping Tool” if you have voice activation set up or type it into the search box.

Or, just say “Hey Cortana, open the Snipping Tool” and the voice assistant will automatically open the tool.

4. From Task Manager

The Snipping Tool shortcut for this is:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Click on “File” at the top left, then select “Run new task.”
  3. Type snippingtool and press Enter or click OK.

How To Capture Screenshots With the Snipping Tool

Capturing screenshots with the Snipping Tool is straightforward and you can utilize various shortcuts to streamline your screenshot process.

5. Capture a New Snip

Once the Snipping Tool is open, if you want to start a new screenshot, simply press Ctrl + N to reset the tool for a new capture. This shortcut will take a screenshot using the last screenshot mode.

6. Choose a Snipping Mode

By pressing Alt + M when the Snipping Tool is open, you can cycle through the different modes of snipping (free-form, rectangular, window, and full-screen snip). After pressing Alt + M, use the arrow keys to select your desired mode and press Enter to activate it.

7. Delay a Snip

For capturing tooltips or other pop-up menus, the Snipping Tool offers a delay feature. Press Alt + D to activate it, then use the arrow keys to choose the delay time (0-5 seconds) before the snip is taken. You may want to reset the timer to 0 for new captures to save time.

8. Copy Snip to Clipboard

To copy the screenshot directly to your clipboard, press Ctrl + C. You can then paste the snip into another program or document without saving the file first.

9. Cancel a Snip

If you’ve initiated a new snip but wish to cancel, you can press the Esc key. This will exit the capture mode and bring you back to the Snipping Tool window.

10. Save a Snip

After capturing your screenshot, press Ctrl + S to open the save dialog box. This shortcut allows you to quickly save your snip to your desired location on your computer. Remember to save the right file format if necessary.

11. Print the snip

Want to print the screenshot you just captured? Just click Ctrl + P and select your printer and printing preferences.

How to Create Snipping Tool Shortcuts On Your Computer

If you perform a quick Google search for the Snipping Tool shortcut, you may find that you can press the Windows logo key + Shift + S. However, this shortcut opens the Snip & Sketch tool, a newer Windows screenshot app.

There simply are no native keyboard shortcuts for launching the Snipping Tool, unless you create them.

12. Keyboard Shortcut

While there’s no default keyboard shortcut to launch the Snipping Tool, you can create one:

  1. Navigate to the Snipping Tool via the Start Menu.
  2. Right-click on the Snipping Tool and select “Open file location.”
  3. Right-click on the Snipping Tool shortcut and select “Properties.”
  4. In the Shortcut tab, click on the “Shortcut key” box and press the key combination you want to assign (e.g., Ctrl + Alt + S). Windows will automatically add Ctrl + Alt to your chosen key, creating a shortcut for your Snipping App.
  5. Click “Apply” and then “OK” to save your changes.

13. Pin to Taskbar:

  1. Find the Snipping Tool through the Start Menu.
  2. Right-click on it and select “Pin to taskbar.” This allows you to launch the Snipping Tool with a single click from the taskbar.

14. Pin to Start Menu:

  1. Locate the Snipping Tool in the Start Menu.
  2. Right-click on it and choose “Pin to Start.” This adds the Snipping Tool to your Start Menu tiles for easy access.

15. Desktop Shortcut:

  1. Navigate to the Snipping Tool via the Start Menu.
  2. Right-click on it, select Open File Location, and then “Send to” > “Desktop (create shortcut).” This creates a clickable icon on your desktop to launch the Snipping Tool directly.


You can see how incredibly easy it is to use the Windows Snipping Tool when you use different shortcuts. This screenshot software is reliable to have in your arsenal for those quick screenshots that don’t need a lot of editing.

But if you have reasons not to use native screenshot apps? Why don’t you try a more advanced third-party tool that takes screen capture, annotations, editing, and file sharing to a whole new level?

Wondering which? You guessed right – download Zight today and use these simple shortcuts to capture and finetune screenshots at work. It is the best Windows Snipping Tool alternative for screenshots and workplace collaboration!

Create & share screenshots, screen recordings, and GIFs with Zight