(Pocket-lint) - Microsoft Flight Simulator is a beautiful game if you have a beefy machine to run it on ultra-high settings. The planes and the surrounding environments are magnificent.
If you've taken to the skies and want to snap a few photos of your destinations, then there are a few different ways to do it, though it's not as simple as you might first think. We've got the tips to help you on your way to incredible snaps.
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Adjusting the view
As standard, your view of the world is from the cockpit of your plane. Not the best place to take screenshots of your surroundings.
An external view of the craft usually gives you not only a nifty view of your wonderfully rendered aeroplane but also the local views as well.
Hit escape and go to the general options. Under there you'll see an option for "camera selection":
Change that by selecting chase camera and you'll then see behind your aeroplane.
You can also see look left and right from this position as you normally would from the cockpit and that alone can make for nifty views of your plane, especially when banking or turning away or towards something.
The next issue is then the HUD.
How to remove the HUD
With chase camera turned on, you'll see outside the aeroplane but a view of your instruments comes with you in the form of the heads up display (HUD).
Great for flying, not so great for taking in the views. Back in the general options, again under the camera settings there's an option to turn the "instrument heads-up display" on and off. Set it to off.
The alternative to this is using the showcase camera or drone camera. You can doing thing by pressing the INS (insert) button on your keyboard. Alternatively, click the little icon at the middle top of the screen to open the shortcut menu, then click on the camera icon.
From within this menu you have the showcase option and you can change various different options for the drone. This makes for nice screenshots but be warned that it's also tricky to fly with the camera in this mode unless you engage autopilot.
Remove points of interest
Another issue you might come across is points of interest appearing on your display. These are handy if you're trying to find local beauty spots to fly by but not so great for your final images.
Luckily you can turn these markers on and off too. Though we'd recommend waiting until you've found and are near the location you want to photograph.
In the options menu, click "assistance" under there you'll find a section called "navigation aids" - turn these off. We find at a minimum turning off POI markers is very useful for getting good screenshots.
How to take screenshots in Microsoft Flight Simulator
Alas, there is no easy and obvious way to take screenshots in Microsoft Flight Simulator, but there are a number of different ways to do it.
If you're playing via Steam, for example, you can simply use the screenshot button then when you've finished you'll be prompted to save and upload them.
Otherwise, there are other options.
Screenshot using Nvidia GeForce Experience
If you have an Nvidia graphics card, then the easiest technique for taking screenshots is to use that to activate photo mode. Be sure to install the latest Nvidia drivers before you start to ensure that photo mode works when you load the game.
You'll also need Geforce Experience installed and the in-game overlay turned on. Launch the app and you'll see an option to do this and you can access it by pressing ALT+Z to activate the overlay.
When you're in-game, you can then press either ALT+F1 to screenshot or ALT+F2 to activate photo mode. Photo mode is the easier to use of these two and allows you to tweak settings then simply click "snap" to take screenshots. The best part is you can keep that open when you're flying and just press snap to take more shots without that overlay appearing in the final image.
You will need multiple hands to do it though without crashing so it takes some mastering.
When you're finished you can press ALT+Z again and you'll see the gallery icon on the right-hand side. Click that and you can open the folder location of where the screenshots are stored on your PC.
Print screen and other options
There are other options to screenshot in Microsoft Flight Simulator as well. These mostly only capture an image and copy it to clipboard though, so you'll need to paste it somewhere and save it.
- Press PrtScn or PrtSc on your keyboard to capture your view. Then paste that into MSPaint or similar and save it.
- Press Windows Key and Print Screen button at the same time - this captures and saves your entire screen as a PNG and stores it under C:\Users\<user>\Pictures\Screenshots. Just be aware if you use multiple screens it'll capture them all.
- Use the Snip & Sketch tool - this is a free app that you can use to capture screenshots easily. We've written before about how to use it and it's our favourite way to capture screenshots.
- Windows Game Bar - another option is Windows Game Bar. This is similar to GeForce Experience. Press Windows key and G together to open the overlay then press the screenshot button.