Print Screen Key

What Does Print Screen Key Mean?

A print screen key (PrtSc) is a useful key found in most keyboards, and is supported by most keyboards and personal computers. U+2399 is the Unicode character assigned for print screen. The print screen key provides the user the functionality of capturing the image or text found on screen display.


Techopedia Explains Print Screen Key

The print screen key found in command line based operating systems like MS-DOS used to transfer the screen contents to the standard printer port. If the control key is pressed along with print screen key, it allows the users to switch on and off the “printer eco” functionality. If the alternate key is pressed along with print screen key, then it allows to capture only selected windows screenshots. Windows and other graphic programs make use of print screen key to provide screen capture. It is a useful functionality especially when it’s difficult to capture screen shots involving certain application navigations using other screen capturing software. Print screen key places the screen capture in a large clipboard. It is necessary to paste it to word or an image processor like word or paint in order to view or save the screen capture.

Macintosh systems do not have the print screen key. Instead it relies on the key combinations of the command key and shift key to get the functionality. However, unlike print screen key, this combination has the ability to select specific objects on the screen. Certain software, especially the high graphic games and media players, are highly capable of bypassing the screen capture using print screen key by using a method called hardware overlay.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…