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January 11, 2018

How to take a screenshot with your Nintendo Switch

by John_A

One of the coolest features among current game console hardware is the ability to snap screenshots of your gameplay and share them easily on the internet and social media. Sony and Microsoft were first to the gate with super-easy sharing buttons on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but the Nintendo Switch has what may be the best and easiest sharing interface of them all.

It’s incredibly easy to snag a screen grab with the Nintendo Switch, thanks to a dedicated button on the left Joy-Con controller. Taking pictures, however, is just the beginning: Thanks to a function that lets you easily adjust images and overlay text, the Switch effectively offers a built-in meme maker. Here is everything you need to know about taking screenshots with the Switch and turning them hilariously viral.

Step 1: Set up your social media connections

Before you take a screenshot, let’s make sure you’re ready to do something with it. If your Switch is connected to a Wi-Fi network, you can link your Switch user profile to your Twitter and Facebook accounts. To set up your Twitter and Facebook accounts, go to the “system settings” menu on the Switch Home screen. (It’s the gear in the bottom row of round icons.)

On the Systems Settings menu, head down to “Users” and then choose your user account. From there, select “Social-Media Settings.” That menu will offer prompts to connect your social accounts. Enter your usernames and passwords, and you’re set to share.

Once you’re ready, you can tell the Switch to upload your shots to the internet straight from the Album application, without having to transfer the images anywhere else, such as to a computer.

Step 2: Grab your shot

The easiest step in taking a screenshot is actually capturing an image. While you’re playing any game, you can instantly capture a screenshot of whatever you’re doing by hitting the square screencap button on the left Joy-Con right below the bottom arrow of the directional pad. Hit it, and the Switch automatically saves a capture of whatever is on the screen.

While you can capture any game, Nintendo has blocked players from taking screenshots of many of the Switch’s menus, and within certain applications. (Our favorite example: You can’t a take a screenshot of your screenshot “Album”). For the most part, though, you should be able to snag an image of anything from a game you’re playing. The screenshots are automatically saved to the Switch’s internal memory (or a microSD card if you have one installed).

Step 3: Head to the Album

Now that you are linked up and ready to send your screenshots to the internet, you need to go find the one you want to share. The Album application is also on the Home screen lower menu near where you found System Settings. It’s the blue square icon that looks kind of like a photograph, next to the yellow bag icon for the Nintendo eShop.

In the album, you can sort your images and videos with the “filter” function by hitting the “Y” button. Using the filter function lets you alter what you see in the Album to focus on just images, just video, or things you’ve saved from a particular game, to make searching easier. To delete images you don’t want, press the “X” button.

Highlight the image you want to share and hit the “A” button to pull it up to full-screen size. From here, select “Editing and Posting” by hitting “A.” To look at the image without any user interface elements to block your view, press the plus (“+”) button on the right Joy-Con.

Step 4: Editing

Here’s the fun part. Once you select “editing and posting,” you gain access to three new options: “Post,” “Add Text,” and “Copy.” The copy function allows you to create a copy of the screenshot. Saving a copy allows you to move your image to a microSD card, which you can use to upload the image to another device (more on that later). We recommend saving a copy before editing an image no matter what, though, in case you want to make multiple images from a single screenshot.

You can also do some light editing with the Switch itself, using the “Add Text” option. This is how you can turn your images into memes. When you hit “Add Text,” you will be prompted to copy your image, so that you keep the original, unedited version in addition to the one you add text to. The “Add Text” button next pulls up the Switch’s virtual keyboard to let you type text onto the image, which works both with the controller buttons or the Switch’s touchscreen. Type out your message, hit “OK,” then “Accept” (both at the bottom right, accessed with the plus button) to get your text on the image.

From here, you can change the size, color, position, and angle of your text. The menu on the right side of the screen contains all the options — at the top, a slider adjusts the overall size of text, going from smaller on the left to larger on the right, which you can adjust with either the directional pad, the left analog stick, or the Switch’s touchscreen.

Click one of the color squares to select the text’s color, which will include a border of a different preset color to make sure it stands out from the background image. Clicking the third option lets you use the analog stick or directional pad to move the text around on the image, to change its position. You can also use the stick here to adjust its angle, rotating the text as you see fit.

When you have  your text looking the way you want it, you can finalize the process by hitting “Finished.” The new, edited image will appear in your Album.

Step 5: Sharing on Facebook and Twitter

If you’re happy with what you made and want the world to see it, it’s time to hit the “Post” button. You’ll be prompted to pick your Switch User account, which will then pull up your linked social media accounts. If you haven’t linked your accounts, you will be prompted to do so before sharing, but you can switch to your other social media account by hitting the “Change Posting Location” button at the top of the screen.

From here, just compose a message to accompany your image. The Switch automatically adds the #NintendoSwitch hashtag, and a hashtag related to the game you used to make your image, but you can delete them if you want. Once you type your update, hit the “Post” button at the bottom of the screen.

As the Switch advises, you can pull up your social media account on another device, such as a smartphone or a computer, to make sure your update went through.

Step 6: Downloading to your screenshots to a computer

When you pull up an image in the Album, the third option on the menu is “Copy.” This lets you create a copy of the image file and save it to your microSD memory card, so you can take it off our Switch without sending it to the internet. The option is always there, even after you edit an image — just go back to the Album and pull up the screenshot you’re looking to save and hit “Copy.” If you made a copy when prompted while editing your original screenshot, you will have both the version that you snapped from the game and the version that now has text on it.

The “Copy” option brings up a menu that lets you choose the destination to send the copied image, so you need a microSD card installed. (Conversely, if your System Settings save your screenshots to a microSD card, you can use this option to copy the image to the Switch’s internal memory.) When you have picked where you want the image to go, hit the “Copy” button to send it along.

Once you have saved your images, turn off the Switch by holding down the power button, then select “power off” from the power options menu. Remove the microSD card from the Switch and place it in your device’s SD card reader. (Note: Some computers have a built-in microSD card reader, but most people will need to purchase an adapter). The card will have a single file marked “Nintendo.” Click on it, then click on the file marked “Album.”

In the album file, your screenshots and video clips will be divided into files by month, then by day. Select the images you wish to transfer, then download them to your device.

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