How to Make Snipping Tool Default to New Snip when Launched

Snipping Tool is a very useful screenshot tool included in Windows Vista and higher, which also has the annotation feature. Running Snipping Tool in Windows Vista and 7 would start the utility in capture mode (New rectangular snip) automatically, but this has changed in Windows 8 and Windows 10.

start snipping tool in capture mode

In Windows 8 and 10, the user needs to click the arrow mark near the New button, and then select one of the snip types from the list. Microsoft made this change after taking users feedback into consideration.

However, there are some neat workarounds to make Snipping Tool default to “New” rectangular snip or capture mode when started.

Make Snipping Tool Default to New Snip when Launched

You can start Snipping Tool in the New rectangular snip capture mode by default, using one of the following tools or methods. The idea is to automate the keypress event in the Snipping Tool.

Using NirCmd

NirCmd is a multipurpose command-line tool that can automate many complicated tasks in Windows. You can automate keystrokes in any program using NirCmd.

Let’s use NirCmd to send keystrokes Alt + M and then R, which would invoke the ModeRectangular Snip option automatically.

For Windows 10 v1809 and higher

In Windows 10 v1809, Microsoft has moved the snip options to the Mode menu from the New button/menu.

Make Snipping Tool Default to New Snip when Launched

This means that you’ll need to send the keystroke Alt + M instead of Alt + N.



  1. Download NirCmd from Nirsoft
  2. Copy NirCmd.exe to your Windows directory.
  3. Copy the following code and paste it in Notepad.
  4. Save the file with a .vbs extension, let’s say C:\Windows\sniptool.vbs
    'Starts Snipping Tool in screen capture mode automatically.
    Set WshShell = CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")
    WshShell.Run "SnippingTool.exe"
    Wscript.Sleep 300
    WshShell.Run "nircmd win activate class Microsoft-Windows-Tablet-SnipperToolbar"
    WshShell.Run "nircmd sendkeypress alt+M r"
    Set WshShell = Nothing

For Windows 10 versions earlier than v1809

In Windows 10 versions earlier than v1809 and in Windows 8, use NirCmd to send keystrokes Alt + N and then R, which would invoke the NewRectangular Snip automatically.

  1. Use this script in Windows 10 v1803 and earlier, and Windows 8:
    'Starts Snipping Tool in screen capture mode automatically.
    Set WshShell = CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")
    WshShell.Run "SnippingTool.exe"
    Wscript.Sleep 300
    WshShell.Run "nircmd win activate class Microsoft-Windows-Tablet-SnipperToolbar"
    WshShell.Run "nircmd sendkeypress alt+N r"
    Set WshShell = Nothing
  2. You may create a desktop shortcut to the script as below, and Pin the shortcut to your taskbar or Start screen.
    wscript.exe c:\windows\sniptool.vbs
  3. Name the shortcut as Snipping Tool, and change the shortcut icon via Properties. Browse Windows\System32\SnippingTool.exe and choose the Snipping Tool icon from there.

    start snipping tool in capture mode

That’s it! Clicking this shortcut would start Snipping Tool in New rectangular snip screen capture mode automatically.

Using an AutoHotKey Script

If you’re fond of AutoHotKey scripting and automation tool, then you may use the following script to accomplish the same thing. Thanks to mrautomation.com for the script at GitHub.

For Windows 10 v1809 and higher


If WinExist("Snipping Tool")
{
	WinActivate
	WinWaitActive
	Send !m
	Send r
}

else

{
	Run, %windir%\System32\SnippingTool.exe
	WinWait, ahk_class Microsoft-Windows-Tablet-SnipperToolbar
	WinActivate, ahk_class Microsoft-Windows-Tablet-SnipperToolbar
	WinWaitActive, ahk_class Microsoft-Windows-Tablet-SnipperToolbar
	Send !m
	Send r
}
return

For Windows 10 v1803 & earlier, and Windows 8


If WinExist("Snipping Tool")
{
	WinActivate
	WinWaitActive
	Send !n
	Send r
}

else

{
	Run, %windir%\System32\SnippingTool.exe
	WinWait, ahk_class Microsoft-Windows-Tablet-SnipperToolbar
	WinActivate, ahk_class Microsoft-Windows-Tablet-SnipperToolbar
	WinWaitActive, ahk_class Microsoft-Windows-Tablet-SnipperToolbar
	Send !n
	Send r
}
return

Using Win + Shift + S keyboard shortcut

Using the Winkey + Shift + S shortcut (available only in Windows 10) lets you start Snipping tool in new rectangular snip mode and capture an area of the screen. However, the Snipping Tool interface doesn’t show up on the screen, and the image is only copied to the Windows clipboard.

screenshot specific portion of screen using win + shift + s

Use this shortcut key combination if you don’t plan to annotate the captured image using Snipping Tool. For more information on this keyboard shortcut, check out article Screenshot a Portion of the Screen in Windows 10 [Winkey+Shift+S].

To take screenshots like a pro or want tons of additional screenshot features, take a look at GreenShot or ShareX utilities.


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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in Windows — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP (2003-2012) who contributes to various Windows support forums.

2 thoughts on “How to Make Snipping Tool Default to New Snip when Launched”

  1. Too bad, I found that very useful to have the New Snip by default when opening the tool … instead of changing it they should have left us the choice in the options to do as we want -_-

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