What Does Screenshot Mean?

A screenshot is an image file which captures the contents of a digital display screen. It is a snapshot of what the user sees on the screen at any given time.


A screenshot is also known as a screen capture or screen dump.

Techopedia Explains Screenshot

Screenshots are useful in different types of IT operations. Many of these have to do with documenting information and relaying it to third parties.

One use of the screenshot is in diagnostic hardware troubleshooting. An end-user may take a screenshot of a problem, and deliver it to an IT professional or department for advice.

Screenshots can also be helpful in passing along proprietary information. In collaborative work environments, individual parties may take screenshots and send them to team members for the purposes of sharing critical information about a project. In order to accommodate this kind of sharing, screenshot technology has been built into personal computers for decades.

A specific keyboard key labeled ‘print screen’ typically captures a screenshot and allows it to be pasted into Microsoft Paint or any number of graphics programs for manipulation or storage. The screenshot is a fundamental idea in the delivery of data, in this case, visual data from one point to another point.

By allowing users to capture screenshots, these interfaces provide an easy shortcut where otherwise, someone would have to use an external device like a camera to get an image of what’s displayed.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret 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 IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.