Screenshots on Mac

How to take a screenshot with Mac

Are you preparing for your big presentation, reporting on a new process, or writing an article describing how to do something? There is a big chance that you’ll need to capture screenshots on Mac. Screenshots are the best visuals for such a use-case.  Taking a screenshot of your Mac produces a picture of content that you are currently working on.

Related: How to take a screenshot on Windows PC?

You may even want to take a screenshot to add to your Presentation, monthly report, email or to instruct someone.

In this article, I will explain to you how to take a screenshot on Mac, and tell you about different keyword shortcuts or commands. How you can take the entire window, or a part of the window as a screenshot. Additionally, we also explain some common tips and tricks related to capturing a screenshot on MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iMac.

Here is the outline of whole post.

How to Capture Screenshots on Mac using keyboard shortcuts?

Capturing screenshot using the keyboard is the quickest and easiest way. You can capture the entire screen or just a portion of it.

1. Capture screenshot of the entire screen

Press Command ⌘ + Shift + 3 keys and your screenshot will be captured.

By default, the screenshot will be captured in PNG format in your Desktop folder of your Mac.

If your MacOS is updated to the latest release version, Mojave. Preview of the screenshot will appear in the corner of the screen and you can access to editing tools and the new “Stacks” feature will group together similar files on your desktop.

2. Capture Screenshots of a selected area on Mac

Step 1: Press Command ⌘ + Shift + 4 keys.

Step 2: Mouse pointer will turn into a crosshair. Use that to select the region you wish to capture.

Step 3 : Release your mouse. If your system volume is up, you’ll hear the sound of a camera snap to tell you the screenshot was taken.

If you were not ready yet, then press “esc” key to cancel.

Step 4: Go to desktop and you will see a file named something like, “Screen Shot 2019–05-04 at 3.19.19 AM”.

3. Capture Screenshot of a Window

Step1: Hold on Command ⌘ + Shift + 4 keys.

Step2: Click on the Space bar and the mouse pointer will change into a camera.

Step3: Click a window that you want to capture. (You can press “Esc” key to cancel.)

Step4: Screenshot will be saved on your desktop as a .png file

How to copy screenshots to clipboard on Mac?

There can be times when you may like to copy the captured screenshot into your clipboard rather then saving screenshot as an image file.

In other words, you may like to copy the screenshot directly and paste it into some other Application or a Website like Gmail, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint or Photoshop, etc. Then you need to use these keyboards to capture screenshots to clipboard on Mac.

1. Copy screenshot of the entire screen to clipboard on Mac

Step 1: Press Ctrl + Command ⌘+ Shift + 3 keys together.

Step 2: Open the application or website where you want to use this screenshot (Gmail, Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Photoshop etc).

Step 3: Press Command ⌘ +V keys.

Thank me later 🙂

2. Copy screenshot of the selected portion of the screen to clipboard on Mac

Step 1: Press Ctrl + Command ⌘ + Shift + 4 keys together.

Step 2: Switch to the application or website which supports image input through clipboard.

Step 3: Press Command ⌘ + V to paste the screenshot.

3. Copy screenshot of a window to clipboard on Mac

Step 1: Switch to window which you want to capture.

Step 2: Press Ctrl + Command ⌘ + Shift + 4 keys together.

Step 3: Press Space bar. Pointer will now turn into Camera.

Step 4: Click on the window which you want to capture. (Now screenshot is in your clipboard.)

Step 5: Open the App which supports image processing like Gmail, Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Photoshop etc.

Step 6: Use Command ⌘ + V key combination to use the screenshot.

How to access or open the screenshots captured on Mac?

You can open and access the screenshots with Safari, Preview, and other apps that can let you edit or view images. Preview also gives you the privilege to export to a different format, such as JPEG, TIFF, or PDF.

Open Screenshot with Preview on Mac
Open Screenshot with Preview on Mac

There might be cases when above methods don’t work. For example, above methods might not work on DVD Player Application in Mac. Then how to take screenshot of DVD Player app on mac? Next section explains just that. 🙂

How to take a screenshot of the DVD Player app on the mac?

Step 1: Open DVD Player app and play your movie from which you want to take screenshot.

Step 2: Pause the playback on exact frame which you want to capture.

Step 3: Open Terminal. Go to Applications > Utilities > Terminal

Step 4: Copy and paste the below mentioned command

screencapture -i ~/Desktop/DVD-Screenshot.png

Press Enter key.

Step 5: Switch to DVD Player

Step 6: Press Space bar. Whole DVD Player frame will get highlighted.

Step 7: Click on DVD Player Window.

New file will be saved on your Desktop with name DVD-Screenshot.png

Using Screenshot App in macOS Mojave

The new OS from Apple, Mojave, comes with more features. One of the new features is that Mojave has dedicated screen-capturing tool. You can capture screenshot of the whole screen, selected part of the screen, a screenshot of a particular part, capture screenshot of touch bar or even delay capture(screenshot after a delay of few seconds). You can also record a video of the screen. That’s pretty helpful.

How to use Mojave Screenshot Tool?

Press Shift + Command⌘ + 5 keys. You’ll be presented by a group of controls to help you effectively capture screenshot or record screen on MacOS Mojave. Here are the controls which you’ll see.

Controls for Screenshot on Mac Mojave
Controls for Screenshot on MacOS Mojave

1. Capture the entire screen in MacOS Mojave

Step 1: PressShift + Command⌘ + 5 key combination. Above controls will be displayed at the bottom of your screen.

Step 2: Select first button. It has title “Capture Entire Screen”.

Capture Entire Screenshot MacOS Mojave
Capture Entire Screen MacOS Mojave

Your cursor will turn into Camera.

Step 3: Click on screen (anywhere except this toolbar). Your screenshot will be captured and it will be saved on your desktop.

2. Capture the selected window in MacOS Mojave

Step 1: Press Shift + Command⌘ + 5 keys to open the toolbar.

Step 2: Select “Capture Selected Portion” option from toolbar. Refer to image below to find out that option.

Capture Selected Portion of Screen in Screenshot in MacOS Mojave
Capture Selected Portion of Screen in Screenshot in MacOS Mojave

Step 3: Select the portion of the screen which you want to capture. You’ll see controls to resize or move the selection as shown in the figure.

Select Portion of screen to Capture Selected Portion in MacOS Mojave.

Step 4: Click on Capture button in the toolbar.

Capture button for screenshot in MacOS Mojave
Capture button for screenshot in MacOS Mojave

That’s it.

3. Capture the selected portion of the screen in MacOS Mojave

Step 1: Use Shift + Command⌘ + 5 keys to open the toolbar.

Step 2: Select second button with title “Capture Selected Window” as shown in figure below.

Capture Selected Window using MacOS Mojave

Step 3: Now you need to select window which you want to capture. Refer to the image below.

Selecting Window to Capture using Screenshot tool Mojave
Selecting Window to Capture using Screenshot tool Mojave

Annotate Screenshot, Share or More in Mojave Screenshot Tool

There may be times when you will like to annotate something or add some text over the captured screenshot. You may want to share it with someone using email etc. I’ll tell you how to do that in this section

Whenever you capture a screenshot using MacOS Mojave, you’ll see the preview for that in the bottom right corner of the screen as highlighted in the image below.

Screenshot Preview MacOs Mojave
Highlighted Screenshot Preview MacOS Mojave

Whenever it appears you can either ignore it or click on it to open up a window like this.

Markup Options on Screenshot on MacOS Mojave
Markup Options on Screenshot on MacOS Mojave

Here you can annotate, markup, add text, save, delete or share this screenshot to other apps. Most of the controls are just like Preview, so nothing new.

If you hold Command button and Click on the screenshot preview, you can have these options.

Options in Screenshot Preview in MacOS Mojave
Options in Screenshot Preview in MacOS Mojave

Capture Screenshot on Mac using Grab (before MacOS Mojave)

According to StatCounter, more than 50% of Mac users are not working on Mojave. So they cannot use the new screenshot tool in MacOS Mojave.

They can use a utility called Grab. Here is how to use it.

Step 1: Open the Grab Utility from Applications>Utilities>Grab.

Step 2: Choose type of screenshot which you want to Grab. Options are Selection, Window, Screen and Timed Screen.

Types of Screenshots in Grab
Types of Screenshots in Grab

After that just follow the instructions on the screen. Just like one in the image below.

Capture Screenshot on Mac using Grab
Capture Screenshot on Mac using Grab

Write your views in comments about Grab.

How to capture Touch Bar on MacBook Pro?

You can use Command + Shift + 6 key combination for capturing Touch Bar display on your MacBook Pro.

You will have options to capture Selected Portion of screen, Entire Screen or whole Window.

How to capture screenshots on Mac using Preview?

Preview is the default tool of Mac that allows you to open photos and PDF files. Preview can also help you capture screenshots.

Capture Screenshot using Preview
Capture Screenshot using Preview

Step 1: Open Preview from Applications on Mac.

Step 2: Click on File in the menu bar.

Step 3: Select Take Screenshot from the drop-down menu. Then capture screenshot either From Selection, From Entire Screen, or From Window based on your choice.

In Preview you can choose your save location and name of the file. On the other hand, other options end up saving at the desktop with a verbose filename. You can also make a few edits very easily. Preview is the best choice.

Annotate the screenshot using the Preview

Preview works quite well to annotate screenshots with text and shapes. How to edit your screenshot using Preview:

Step 1: Take a screenshot saved directly to your desktop, by hitting either Command + Shift + 4 or Command + Shift + 3 

Step 2: Open your screenshot in preview by double-clicking on the image file on your desktop. 

Step 3: Or, right-click your image file and select “Open With.” Tap on Preview.

Step 4: You can expand the edit toolbar to add shapes, change the screenshot’s color composition, and more.

Annotate Screenshot using Preview
Annotate Screenshot using Preview

Step 5: Click on “Save” and save the image with the name and desired location.

Where to find screenshots on Mac?

What happens to the screenshot? Your Mac will automatically save the screenshot as a PNG file in your Desktop Folder with the day and time it was taken. This is for immediate reference, if you’re taking many screenshots, then your desktop cluttered with odd named files.

The latest version of MacOS, Mojave, Stack the Screenshots in a group together and by clicking on those images you can enable quick-editing by the Markup app.

How to change screenshot location in Mac?

By default, screenshots are saved to the Desktop though many screenshots can clutter your space.

Step 1: Hit on Command+N keys to open a new Finder window.

Step 2: Press Command+Shift+N to create a new folder. This is where your screenshots will go now. So ideally go to the required directory and create this folder.

Step 3: Name it appropriately.

Step 4: Keep the window open, and Tap on Command+1 to switch to Grid mode

Step 5: Tap on Command+Space key combination it will open Spotlight.

Step 6: Write “terminal” and then select Terminal. This will Open Terminal.

Step 7: Type “defaults write location ” in the terminal window.

Change Screenshot Location on Mac using Terminal
Change Screenshot Location on Mac using Terminal

Don’t forget to add space at the end of command.

Step 8: Drag the folder into the Terminal window. This will append the path of the folder to the terminal command.

New Path for Saving Screenshots on Mac
New Path for Saving Screenshots on Mac

Step 7: Press Return Key.

Done, from now onwards your screenshots will appear in this folder.

Caution:Don’t delete the folder unless you’ve changed the default location of screenshots again.

Why screenshots might not get saved? How to fix it?

Here I am going to discuss 4 effective tips to fix screenshot in Mac

If you found that “Command + Shift + 4” is not working on Mac. Don’t worry, below methods will fix it.

Fix 1: Restart your Mac.

Not restarting your Mac for long-time may cause problems in some applications. Restart your Mac using one of the three ways below.

Method 1: Hold the Power button

Method 2: Hit “Control + Eject” key combination and, click the Restart button when a dialog box appears.

Method 3: Select the “Apple icon” on the top left of your screen and then Hit on “Restart”.

Method 4: Hold “Control + Command + Power

Fix 2: Check Screenshot Shortcuts from System Preferences

Click on”System Preferences” > “Keyboard & Mouse” > “Keyboard Shortcuts” > verify whether the shortcuts are activated and also check they haven’t assigned to something else.

Screenshot Shortcuts on Mac
Verify these Screenshot Shortcuts on Mac

Fix 3: Take Screenshot using Preview

Preview allows you to open and edit images and also you can capture a screenshot by tapping on the toolbox icon.

Click on “Preview” > then “File” > from the drop-down menu select “Take Screenshot”.

Fix 4: Take Screenshot using Grab (before Mojave) or Screenshot tool( on Mojave)

If the above methods can’t fix Mac screenshot, and you need to do it urgently then you can use the pre-installed Grab on Mac to take a screenshot of the window, or the entire screen or of a particular section of the screen. This works on MacOS versions older then Mojave.

If you are on MacOS Mojave, then you can use default Screenshot Tool provided by Apple.

How to record the screen on your Mac using QuickTime Player on Mac?

QuickTime: This player is preinstalled in your Mac and you can do a lot of things with it, for instance, recording video.

Step 1:  Open QuickTime Player

Step 2: Select File from the Menu Bar and then select New Screen Recording.

Step 3: To start the recording hit the arrow next to the red button. Select from None or Internal Microphone for your audio and you can also check or uncheck “Show Mouse Clicks” in Recording.

Screen Recording on Mac using QuickTime Player
Screen Recording on Mac using QuickTime Player

Step 4: Now click the red button, click to record your entire screen, or choose a specific part of it, and start recording. Your recording has started.

Step 5: When you finish recording, just click stop button in top navigation bar.

Step 6: Recording will pop right open for you to view.

Step 6: Select File > Save from the menu bar, Type name of the file, and choose its location to save. Click Save.

Save Screen Recording on Mac using QuickTime Player
Save Screen Recording on Mac using QuickTime Player

This is all we have for taking screenshots on Mac using various techniques.

Speak your heart out

Do write in comments about how you find our post? There are plenty of other image editing tools out there. Please share your favorite Screenshot tool in the comment section. If you find the article useful to share with your friends.

Article Name
How to take a screenshot on Mac?
A detailed guide about screenshots on Mac. Explain the procedure to copy screenshots to clipboard. Details about screenshot tool on MacOS Mojave. Ways to Annotate and share a screenshot and much more.
Publisher Name
Technology Brigade

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