Taking a Screenshot on a Mac
Macs offer a variety of methods to capture what’s happening on your screen, from pressing a few keys to using built-in tools. These methods let users save everything from a fleeting moment to an important document.
Using Keyboard Shortcuts
For a quick screenshot of the entire screen, users can press
Command + Shift + 3. The screenshot will be saved automatically to the desktop unless the
Control key is added to the combination, which will send it to the clipboard. To capture a selected portion of the screen,
Command + Shift + 4 should be used, and then the area to be captured can be selected by dragging the cursor.
Screenshot of a Specific Window
When a specific window needs to be captured,
Command + Shift + 4 followed by the Space Bar transforms the cursor into a camera icon. Moving this icon over the desired window and clicking will capture it. This technique ensures that only the selected window is included in the screenshot.
Using the Screenshot App and Touch Bar
Starting with macOS Mojave, the Screenshot app can be opened with
Shift-Command-5 or through the Touch Bar on a MacBook Pro. This app presents a menu bar at the bottom of the screen with options for different types of captures, including video recordings and timed screenshots. Settings for file format, save location, and whether to show mouse pointer or show a floating thumbnail can be customized here.
Settings and Customization
Users can navigate to System Preferences to set options like save location, file format (JPEG, PNG, TIFF), and whether the mouse cursor appears. The Preview app also offers tools to annotate or edit the screenshot soon after it’s taken, allowing further customization of the final image.
Capturing Video Recordings
To record a video of the screen,
Shift-Command-5 opens the Screenshot app where screen record options are available. Users can choose to record the entire screen or a selected portion. The video will be saved to the desktop by default, but this can be changed in the options menu.
Managing and Sharing Screenshots
Once you’ve captured a screenshot on a Mac, managing and sharing these images is just as important as taking them. It’s quite simple to find, edit, share, and troubleshoot screenshots when you know where to look and what tools can help.
Accessing and Editing Screenshots
Screenshots taken on a Mac automatically save to the desktop, but you can also find them through the Finder or Spotlight search. The Preview app offers basic editing options such as cropping and color adjustment. Users can annotate screenshots with shapes, text, and more.
To edit a screenshot:
- Locate the screenshot on your desktop or in Finder.
- Double-click to open it in Preview.
- Use the markup toolbar to annotate, crop, or adjust the screenshot.
Sharing and Using Screenshots
Sharing screenshots from a Mac is straightforward. Users can directly attach screenshots to emails or messages using the share button in the Preview app. Additionally, screenshots can be dragged into documents or uploaded to cloud services for easy access across devices.
Simple steps to share a screenshot:
- Open the screenshot in Preview.
- Click on the share button in the menu bar.
- Choose the desired method, like Mail or Messages, and follow the prompts.
Third-Party Screenshot Tools
Applications such as Skitch or Lightshot extend the functionality of Mac’s built-in tools, offering a wider range of editing and sharing features. These tools often provide a smoother experience for frequent users who need to capture and customize screenshots on a regular basis.
Popular third-party tools include:
- Skitch: For annotation and sharing
- Lightshot: For easy-to-use selection and editing
Troubleshooting Common Issues
Sometimes issues arise like screenshots not appearing on the desktop or the keyboard shortcuts not responding. Usually, resolving these problems involves checking system preferences or restarting the screenshot tool through the Launchpad. For persistent issues, users may need to reset the NVRAM or check Mac updates.
Troubleshooting tips include:
- Check shortcut assignments in System Preferences.
- Restart the Screenshot app from the Launchpad.
- Update macOS to the latest version.
Advanced Screenshot Techniques
Mastering a few advanced techniques can elevate Mac users’ screenshot game, allowing for customization and greater control over the output.
Using Terminal Commands for Screenshots
Mac’s Terminal offers command-line tools that provide additional screenshot functionalities not immediately obvious through the usual keyboard shortcuts. By opening the Terminal application, users can enter commands for a range of actions, such as delaying a screenshot, changing the save location, or even altering the file format. For instance, typing
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type JPG will change the default screenshot format to JPEG.
Integrating Screenshots with Other Apps
The power of screenshots on Mac reaches new heights when combined with other applications. Users can streamline their workflow by sending screenshots directly to Preview or other designated apps for immediate editing. The simplest way to do this is through key combinations, like Command + Shift + 4 and then Spacebar, which captures a window and sends it to Preview.
Customizing Screenshot Format and Location
Mac users can customize their screenshot experience right from the System Preferences menu or using keyboard shortcuts. With Command + Shift + 3 or Command + Shift + 4, followed by dragging across the desired area, they can capture the entire screen or a specific section. Additionally, by holding down the Control key with these shortcuts, the image is saved to the clipboard instead of the desktop. Users can visit System Preferences to choose a preferred save location or use Terminal commands to change file formats from PNG to others like TIFF.
Frequently Asked Questions
Taking a screenshot on a Mac is easy once you know the right shortcuts and tools. This section covers some common questions you might have about capturing and editing screenshots on macOS.
What is the keyboard shortcut for taking a screenshot on a Mac?
To take a full-screen screenshot on a Mac, press Shift-Command-3. For capturing a selected area, use Shift-Command-4. Pressing Shift-Command-4 followed by Space allows you to capture a window.
How can I edit a screenshot after I’ve taken it on my Mac?
Once you’ve taken a screenshot, it can be edited using the Preview app. Open the screenshot in Preview, and you’ll find tools for cropping, adding text, and making other changes.
What are the steps to crop a screenshot on macOS?
To crop a screenshot, open the image in Preview, click and drag to select the area you wish to keep, and then choose ‘Crop’ from the Tools menu or hit Command-K.
Why might a screenshot not work on a Mac and how can it be fixed?
If screenshots aren’t working on your Mac, check for software conflicts or keyboard shortcut misassignments. Restarting your Mac or resetting the NVRAM/PRAM may also help address the issue.
How can you paste a screenshot into a document on a Mac?
After taking a screenshot with the keyboard shortcuts, it’s automatically copied to your clipboard. Just navigate to your document and press Command-V to paste it.
What are the instructions for screen recording on a Mac?
To record your screen on a Mac, press Shift-Command-5 to open the screen capture toolbar. Choose to record the entire screen or a selected portion, then click ‘Record.’