Automatically Take a Screenshot and Open it in Editor

Using the WinKey and PrintScreen keystroke is probably the fastest way to take a screenshot (and automatically save it to a file) of the entire screen in Windows 8 and Windows 10. When using this method, the screenshot image contains your entire screen, including the Taskbar and everything. And in most cases, you may have to crop the image before sending or sharing it with someone, so that only the relevant portion is shown.

This article tells you how to take a screenshot of your entire screen and open the saved image in the editor — both operations in a single click.

automatically take screenshot and editor

The Alt + PrintScreen keystroke can capture the current window but doesn’t save to a file automatically, and it can’t capture context menus — so it’s not always the desired option.

Automatically Take a Screenshot and Open it in Editor

1] Using a VBScript

My script at GitHub automates the task of taking a full screenshot using NirCmd and opening the saved PNG file in an image editor (Paint). The script below takes a screenshot of your entire screen and opens the saved file using the image editor. Personally, I prefer the following script method to Alt + PrintScreen or Snipping Tool or a 3rd party screenshot software.

'File: screenshot_and_edit.vbs
'Ramesh Srinivasan,
'Take a screenshot and open it in image editor
'Requires NirCmd.exe (from to automate Win + PrntScrn
'For Windows 8 and Windows 10.

Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

'Sleep for 2 seconds until the user sets the active Window or menu
WScript.Sleep 2000

'Take full screenshot
WshShell.Run "nircmd.exe " & "sendkeypress rwin+printscreen"

'Sleep again for half a second - wait until the PNG file is written
WScript.Sleep 500

Dim fNewest

'Find the latest PNG file in Screenshots folder and Open it in editor.
SShots = WshShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings("%userprofile%")
SShots = SShots & "\Pictures\Screenshots"
If Not fso.FolderExists(SShots) Then WScript.Quit
For Each f In fso.GetFolder(SShots).Files
   If UCase(fso.GetExtensionName(f)) = "PNG" Then  
      If fNewest = "" Then
         Set fNewest = f
      ElseIf fNewest.DateLastModified < f.DateLastModified Then
         Set fNewest = f
      End If
   End If
If fNewest <> "" Then WshShell.Run "mspaint.exe " & Chr(34) & fNewest & Chr(34)


  • Download NirCmd (from NirSoft) and move the executable to your Windows folder.
  • Download the above Vbscript.
    (Or manually copy the above script code to Notepad and save the file with .vbs extension. Be sure to save the file in ANSI encoding instead of UTF-8.)
  • Create a desktop shortcut to the .vbs (script file)
  • Optionally, change the shortcut icon. Pin it to the taskbar if required.

When a script is used to trigger WinKey and PrintScreen key sequence, the window focus will change (which is not the case when pressing WinKey and PrintScreen manually).

Due to this, your program window would show up with inactive title bar color in the screenshot. To avoid that, the script is set to wait for 2 seconds after it’s being launched and then simulates the keypress event. In the meantime, the user can set the focus back to the appropriate window. The timeout can also be useful if you want to capture a context menu.

2] Using ShareX, GreenShot, or Other Utilities

ShareX is a handy screenshot utility with some advanced options such as uploading the captured image to your cloud storage account or sharing the link on social networking sites etc. In ShareX, you can configure “after capture” tasks and create task actions that would be carried out automatically.

Set the After capture tasks to “Perform actions.”

automatic screenshot and open in editor

And in the Task Settings, enable the checkbox for Paint or any image editor you use. If your image editor isn’t listed, you can add one manually.

automatic screenshot and open in editor

Third-party screenshot programs like ShareX, GreenShot, PicPick include a nice editor with which you can crop, add text/annotation, and do other image processing tasks.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

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