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Jamie Thomson

This is the blog of Jamie Thomson, a data mangler in London working for Dunnhumby

Using SnagIt to take screenshots when using a Surface

Update, since I wrote this post an update to Surface means that simply pressing Fn + <Spacebar> fires up SnagIt. Job done.

I recently bought a Surface Pro which so far I’m really enjoying however one thing one thing I’ve been having hassles with is taking screenshots for my blog posts. I’m a massive fan of TechSmith’s SnagIt for taking screenshots however I’d always used it simply by hitting the Print Screen button on the keyboard – the Surface keyboard has no Print Screen button so this presented somewhat of a problem.

I put a shout out on Twitter for keyboard shortcuts that would enable me to accomplish the same thing as pressing the Print Screen button. The suggestions that came back can be surmised as:

  • Run the on-screen keyboard and hit the print screen button there.
  • Use Windows’ built-in snipping tool (which has existed since windows Vista)
  • OneNote has a screenshot facility that can be accessed by pressing Win+S
  • Hardware buttons. Hold the Windows button on the front of the Surface and press the volume down button (thanks to SQLGardner in the comments for reminding me of this one)

The on-screen keyboard works fine and does indeed launch the SnagIt screen clipper exactly the same as pressing the print screen on a real keyboard would do however I found it a bit fiddly as you have to go and open the keyboard, then close it again afterwards. Moreover the on-screen keyboard is, well, on the screen – and you don’t really want that if you’re taking screenshots. Windows’ snipping tool looked like a great option at first until I realised that it can’t be used to take screen clippings of modern (aka Metro) apps – it simply doesn’t work for those and that was a showstopper for me. The OneNote option is a good one especially as it has a very handy “copy to clipboard” button that appears once the screenshot is taken, however it does of course require you to have OneNote installed and that aint cheap! The hardware buttons option is quick and easy and great if all you want is a screenshot of the entire screen but it doesn’t let you pick a portion of the screen and it doesn’t launch SnagIt.

That surmises some options for taking screenshots however only one of them allows me to carry on using SnagIt (which was my ultimate aim here) and that was the rather fiddly on-screen keyboard option. That’s when I remembered that SnagIt allows you to customise the hotkey that is used to take a screenshot. The default hotkey is (as explained in the first paragraph above) the print screen button so all I did was go and change that default – I changed it to CTRL+ALT+P which, to my knowledge, isn’t used by anything else in the OS. This seems to be working fine, so far. here’s a screenshot taken just now on my Surface, using SnagIt, with some appropriate blur effects applied using Snagit’s editor:


So there you have it, some options for taking screenshots on a Surface. As I said I’m a big fan of SnagIt but if you do not use SnagIt then i have outlined some other options in the bullet points above.

One final thing, if you *do* use SnagIt then Techsmith have made available a useful video that explains how to use it on Windows 8 at although this doesn’t cover what to do if your keyboard doesn’t have a print screen button, hence this blog post Smile 

Hope this helps.


UPDATE, Whaddya know. Just 4 days after I write this and Microsoft announce you'll soon be able to take a screenshot using just the keyboard. Fn + <spacebar> will do the job apparently! I doubt this will trigger SnagIt for me, but I live in hope!

Another UPDATE, Fn + <spacebar> does trigger SnagIt. Happy days! :)

Published Saturday, June 1, 2013 1:14 AM by jamiet

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SQLGardner said:

Holding windows button on the tablet and hitting the down volume takes a screenshot and puts it in the pictures library... no keyboard or extra app needed

May 31, 2013 9:09 PM

SQLGardner said:

May 31, 2013 9:11 PM

jamiet said:

Oh yeah, I forgot about that one. Thanks for reminding me, I've updated the post accordingly.

June 1, 2013 2:39 AM

mark.mann said:

Have you got OneNote installed too? How does snagit compare to OneNote's own snipping tool?

June 1, 2013 3:53 AM

jamiet said:

Hi Mark,

I prefer SnagIt because there a lot more options for editing the snip after its been taken.


June 1, 2013 7:03 AM

Kaitlin said:

Hi Jamie!

I wanted to shoot you a quick note of thanks for using Snagit! Your support is so very much appreciated, and it means a lot that you like the product enough to outline the steps for something like this for fellow/new users. Great post!

As an additional resource for anyone who is interested, I thought this link might be useful regarding the use of Snagit on Windows 8:

Thank you!

Kaitlin Flannery

Evangelism Coordinator



June 7, 2013 7:55 AM

Simone said:

Thanks heeps

August 10, 2015 4:55 AM

Gabi said:

thanks a lot, this helped me so much on my new surface pro :-DDD

September 3, 2015 7:59 AM

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