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How to make a screenshot on Mac

Taking a screenshot on Mac is easier than you think, and there are many ways to do it. You can capture the entire screen or just part of it, draw on your screenshots, etc.

07 Apr, 22 by Susith Nonis 8 min Read

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Screenshots are probably the most used features of smartphones and tablets, so it's not surprising that people want to know how to take screenshots on Mac and other devices like PC, iOS devices, or even Android phones or tablets. Luckily, there are various ways to capture what's on your screen, so if you own an Apple computer, you will find several methods that can help you learn how to take a screenshot on Mac easily. Keep reading this article to discover the different ways of taking screenshots on Mac OS X!

Thanks to Apple's built-in Grab application, taking screenshots on Mac is relatively easy. The in-built Grab app allows you to select a portion of your screen, an entire window, or the entire screen itself; you can save it as an image file. It's ideal for grabbing images from web pages that otherwise won't let you save them. It's free in its basic form, but Grab software has more advanced features (such as screen recording) if you pay for it. Grab is a built-in app on your Mac computer that allows you to capture pictures on your computer screen. Here's how;

  • Launch Grab from your Applications folder
  • Click "Take Screen Shot "at the top left side of the menu bar
  • Select either: Single Window, Entire Screen, Custom Region, or Selection from the dropdown menu.
  • Next, click 'OK.'

A pop-up will appear, guiding you to save the screenshot on your computer. Wherever you choose, make sure it's easy to find and suitably name your image so you don't get confused later. Go back into Grab and click 'File > Save As' and save with the .png file extension in the desired location.

Preview is a default app on Mac, which allows you to open and edit image files, PDFs, and other types of files. To take a screenshot by using Preview, follow the procedure below.

  • Step 1:Launch the Preview app. Open Finder, then click Go > Utilities > Preview.
  • Step 2: Open the window in which you want to take a screenshot;
  • Step 3: Click File >> Take screenshot>> From Selection or Window or Entire Screen. Select the area you want to capture and press Command-C;
  • Step 4: Go to File at the top left corner of your screen and click on New from Clipboard. The pointer changes from an arrow to a crosshair shape. Drag the crosshair over the area you want to select or click on the window to capture. Alternatively, press and hold the space bar when dragging to move the selection area without resizing it. Release the mouse button or trackpad when you've selected the details you want to capture.
  • Step 5: To cancel taking a screenshot, press Esc (Escape) before releasing the mouse button or trackpad.
  • Step 6: Then, go back to Preview and paste it there by pressing Command-V

This method takes a full-screen or partial screenshot on any Mac running any OS X or macOS version, including macOS Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, and earlier versions of the Mac operating system. You can also edit your screenshot on a Mac desktop before saving it as an image file. To save your mac screenshot image;

  • Press ⌘ Command + N to open a new window to create a blank file where you can save your image.
  • Press ⌘ Command + S; it will save the image on your hard drive.
  • Enter an appropriate name in the Save As field. Make sure to select JPEG from the Format dropdown list at the bottom of the window.
  • Choose where you want to save your screenshot using the dropdown menu at the top of the Save As window, then click Save.

Using a QuickTime Player is a friendly way of taking a screenshot on a Mac. QuickTime Player is a default software in Mac OS X, which you can find in the "Applications" folder. Taking screenshots through QuickTime Player allows you to capture things that other programs don't qualify for.

QuickTime Player takes a snapshot by pressing Command + Shift + 3. This combination captures a full-screen shot of whatever is happening at that moment within OS X. The QuickTime Player application works excellent if you record your screen and want to take some screenshots along the way. Here's what you have to do:

  • Open the QuickTime Player app from your Dock or Applications folder or search for it with Spotlight.
  • Select the file from the top bar and choose New Screen Recording from the dropdown menu.
  • Click file> New Screen Recording; The screenshot options will appear as a small window. A small window will pop up that shows you a red record button and a downward pointer at the right side of the window. Click on this arrow, and you will see several options for recording:
  • Click on the screen portion you want to begin recording, or click and drag to select a part.
  • Then hover your mouse over New Screen Recording, then click it. To record your entire screen, click on "record" in the main window to start recording your screen.

Mac saves the resulting screenshot file automatically in PNG format in the ~/Movies/Screen Captures directory in macOS Mojave and older versions of Mac OS X (if you want to change the format, go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

Press ⌘+Shift+3 to capture a screenshot of your entire screen. Your computer will automatically save the image file to the desktop.

Suppose you want to copy the screenshot directly to the clipboard; instead of saving it as a file, press ⌘+Control+Shift+3. Then paste it into any application, such as Microsoft Word or Photoshop Elements.

Press ⌘+Shift+4 to capture a screenshot of any selected area on your screen. After pressing these keys, your mouse cursor will turn into crosshairs; click and drag it over the area you want to capture in an image. When you release the mouse button (or lift your finger from the trackpad), your Mac computer will save the captured image as a .png file on your desktop. You can open this image file with Preview or another image editing app to crop or edit it further.

Suppose you want to copy the screenshot directly to the clipboard after selecting an area, press ⌘+Shift+4 and hit ⌘+C. The key combinations will send your screenshot straight to the clipboard, ready for pasting into another document or onto your desktop. To copy an entire screen, press ⌘+Shift+3. You can press ⌘+Shift+4 and then the taskbar to capture a specific area.

A timed screenshot gives you 10-seconds to set up the screen before it captures your shot. To create one, press Command + Shift + 3 at any time during your work. Your cursor will turn into a crosshair. At that point, click where you want to capture and drag across your desktop for selection. When you release it, it will capture your screenshot automatically. If not, there's also an option for pressing Enter any time within those ten seconds for an immediate capture as well.

The timed screenshot is also available in the Grab program. Here is how to use it:

  • Click on Finder > Applications > Utilities > Grab. It will open the Grab program.
  • Click on "Capture" and select Timed Screen. It starts a countdown timer and hides from your screen. You can also press Command, Shift, and Z keys simultaneously to activate this option.
  • The cursor will turn into a camera, and you will be able to set a timer (from 1 to 10 seconds) to capture the image. Once your timer is up, you will hear a shutter sound, and the system will automatically save your screenshot on your desktop.
  • Click the menu bar or press Command-Control-Esc (Escape) to exit.

Taking a screenshot on Mac is easier than you think, and there are many ways to do it. You can capture the entire screen or just part of it, draw on your screenshots with MarkUp tools, and even save them as GIFs. There are also keyboard shortcuts galore if you don't feel like using the built-in app. With a little bit of practice, you'll start getting into your groove. Soon enough, taking a screenshot will be second nature—and that's not something Windows users can say. Go ahead; get acquainted with your Mac's screenshot powers by using these methods right away!

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Susith Nonis

I'm fascinated by the IT world and how the 1's and 0's work. While I veture into the world of Technology I try to share what I know in the simplest way possible. Not a fan of coffee, a sweet addict and a self accredited 'master chef'.