Write … and More

27 Screenshots of Software

If you want to use a screenshot of software for an openly licensed work, as a general rule check the terms of a website, as they may spell out the rules of how to use screenshots of their products. Many companies are okay with using screenshots of their software or products for training. There are many “how to” websites that use screenshots, as there is a financial incentive for companies to have training material created for them by others. (The more people who learn to use their product, the better.)

Follow a company’s guidelines if you want to include screenshots of their software product

If the software is open source or released under a free software licence, it is usually fine to use screenshots.

Microsoft spells out how you can use screenshots of their products as follows:

  • You may not use screen shots of Microsoft product boot-up screens, opening screens, “splash screens,” or screens from beta release products or other products that have not been commercially released.
  • You may use other screen shots in advertising, in documentation (including educational brochures), in tutorial books, in videos, or on websites, provided that, in addition to the requirements above, you:
    • Do not alter the screen shot except to resize it.
    • Do not use portions of screen shots.
    • Do not include screen shots in your product user interface.
    • Do not use screen shots that contain third-party content.
    • Do not use screen shots that contain an image of an identifiable individual.[1]

Google allows the use of screenshots of their products. For more information, see Google’s Using Product Graphics page.

Others, require that you ask permission. For example, see Yahoo’s Permissions page.

Bottom line: Check a software’s website for terms of use before using screenshots of its products.
Page added: Feb 20/18 | Last update: Oct 13/21


Software by geralt has been designated to the public domain (CC0).

  1. "Use of Microsoft Copyrighted Content," Microsoft, https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/legal/intellectualproperty/permissions (accessed February 1, 2018).


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Self-Publishing Guide Copyright © 2018 by Lauri M. Aesoph is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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