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How to take a screenshot on a Steam Deck

Just be sure to leave some storage space for the actual games.

Published onJuly 31, 2023

PC gamers are used to the idea of grabbing quick screenshots whenever they want to show something off, whether it’s a glitch, a nice view, or some form of achievement. The Steam Deck doesn’t have a row of function keys to make this convenient however, so how do screenshots work on the handheld?


To take a Steam Deck screenshot:

  • In the regular Deck UI mode, press Steam + R1 simultaneously. Shots are saved to the Media library.
  • In Desktop mode, you'll need to use a pre-installed app called Spectacle. Open the app, adjust settings, and select Configure to assign a button shortcut.


How to take a screenshot on a Steam Deck

Steam Deck stardew valley
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

To capture a screenshot in the standard Deck UI mode, press Steam + R1 simultaneously. If you’ve done this with the intended timing, you’ll see a “Screenshot Taken” message in the bottom-right corner of your screen, paired with a thumbnail image and the name of the game you’re playing.

Be selective, especially if you haven’t popped a large microSD card into your Deck. While screenshots might not take up much space on their own, modern PC games can easily consume dozens or even hundreds of gigabytes, leaving room for everything else at a premium. Think twice about taking a screen cap every time you score a win or encounter something cool.

Where do I find my Steam Deck screenshots?

Steam Deck screenshots are automatically sent to your Media library. Here’s how to get to them:

  • Press the Steam button.
  • In the pop-up menu, scroll down and select Media.
  • New screenshots should appear under the Recent tab.
  • If you’ve waited a while, you may have to navigate to the All tab. Use the L1 and R1 buttons to cycle through tabs.

How to take a screenshot on a Steam Deck in Desktop mode

The Deck’s Desktop mode isn’t ideally suited to taking screenshots, but Valve did consider this problem — you’ll have to use a pre-installed, open-source screenshot app called Spectacle. Here’s how to set it up and use it:

  • Switch to Desktop mode.
  • Open the Application Launcher in the taskbar.
  • Select Utilities, then Spectacle.
  • You’ll be presented with a variety of options, including a delay timer, which elements should appear onscreen, and how much of the screen to capture (normally, the active window). Set these up to your liking. For in-game shots, be sure to zero out the delay. Otherwise you may miss critical moments.
  • Select Take a New Screenshot to capture a test image right away.
  • For in-game use, you’ll need to go to Configure and assign a button shortcut. Try to pick something that can’t be hit accidentally and won’t overlap with other controls.

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