There may be times when you need to take a screenshot on your Mac. You might have a software bug to report, an important pop-up, threaded web conversations, or even just a payment receipt you need for your records.

There are several ways to take a screenshot on a Mac computer running OS X or MacOS operating systems.

Here’s a guide on how to take a screenshot on a Mac, whether you prefer capturing images using keyboard shortcuts or Preview.

1Keyboard shortcuts for taking a screenshot in mac

If you do not want to deal with launching the Grab application or converting your images from .tiff to formats such as .png or .jpeg, then you are in luck. Mac has offered a way to take screenshots with keyboard shortcuts for decades now. This little-known feature is easy to use.

  • Screen: Press Shift+Command+3 and a .png of the entire screen will automatically save to your desktop.
  • Selection: Press Shift+Command+4, click and drag curser to make your selection. Press Escape (esc) to cancel. A .png of your selection will be waiting on your desktop.
  • Window: Press Shift+Command+4 and the spacebar. Select desired window. Press Spacebar again to return back to selection mode or esc to cancel. A .png of the selected window will be saved to your desktop.

If you are using a PC keyboard, the following commands are as follows:

  • Control is the Ctrl key.
  • Option is the Alt key.
  • The button with the Windows logo is the Command key.

Newer versions of Mac OS or OS X label the saved file as “Screen Shot” followed by the date and time. Older versions of Mac OS or OS X label the saved file as “Image” followed by a number, but only if more than one file labeled “Image” is located on your desktop.

2How to take a screenshot of your entire screen

  1. Press Shift-Command + 3.
  2. Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop.

3How to take a screenshot of a specific area

  1. Press Shift-Command-4. The pointer changes to a crosshair.
  2. Move the crosshair to where you want to start the screenshot, then drag to select an area.
  3. While dragging, you can hold Shift, Option, or Space bar to change the way the selection moves.
  4. When you’ve selected the area you want, release your mouse or trackpad button. To cancel, press the Esc (Escape) key before you release the button.
  5. Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop.

This works with windows in the Finder and most apps.

4How to take a screenshot of a menu

  1. Click the menu to reveal its contents.
  2. Press Shift-Command-4. The pointer changes to a crosshair.
  3. Drag to select the menu.
  4. Release your mouse or trackpad button. To cancel, press the Escape (esc) key before you release the button.
  5. Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop.

These steps capture the contents of a menu, but not its title:

  1. Click the menu to reveal its contents.
  2. Press Shift-Command-4. The pointer changes to a crosshair.
  3. Press the Space bar. The pointer changes to a camera.
  4. Move the camera over the menu to highlight it.
  5. Click your mouse or trackpad. To cancel, press the Esc (Escape) key before you click.
  6. Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop.

5How to take a screenshot of the Touch Bar

If you have a Mac with a Touch Bar and macOS Sierra 10.12.2 or later:

  1. Press Shift-Command-6.
  2. Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop.

You can also customize the Control Strip region of your Touch Bar to include a Screenshot button. Then tap the Screenshot button to see options for the type of screenshot and where to save it.

6How to take a screenshot on mac with grab utility

The most common way to take a screenshot on a Mac is by using the built-in Grab application. This application can be found within your Utility folder located inside Finder and Launchpad.

  1. Click on Finder or Launchpad to locate the Utility folder.
  2. Click on Finder.
  3. Select Applications from the sidebar.
  4. Locate and double-click the Utilities folder to open it.
  5. Click on Launchpad and then click again on the Utilities bubble to open it.
  6. Locate the Grab icon inside the Utility folder/bubble and launch the application.

Using the grab application is easy. There is no “windowed” user interface for this application. It is completely controlled from the MacOS or OS X menu bar and/or keyboard shortcuts.

Using the grab application, you can choose four different types of screenshots.

  • Selection: This option allows you to highlight the desired area you want to capture. Select Selection or press Shift+Command+A on your keyboard. Click and drag the highlighted box to make your selection.
  • Window: The Window option allows you to choose a specific window to capture. Select Window or press Shift+Command+W. Click on the desired window.
  • Screen: Choosing the Screen selection lets you to capture the whole screen. Select Screen or press Command+Z. Click anywhere on the screen.
  • Timed Screen: The Timed Screen choice captures the whole screen on a ten-second delay. Select Timed Screen or press Shift+Command+Z. Click anywhere on the screen to start the timer.

Choose the option that works best for your needs. Once you have taken the screenshot, a pop-up will appear to show you a preview of your shot. When you close the preview, your Mac will prompt you to save your image. If you are happy with the results, label the image, select a save destination, and click on the Savebutton. Otherwise, click Don’t Save and try again.

Grab saves in .tiff format automatically. If you need to convert the image into a friendlier format, you will have to do so with another application.

7How to take a screenshot on a mac using third-party applications

There are numerous applications available for taking screenshots. You can scour the web or look inside the Mac App Store for any screenshot application that might appeal to you.

  1. Click on the App Store located on the MacOS and OS X dock to launch the application.
  2. Type the word screenshot in the search box and hit enter.

Be aware that many screenshot applications do cost money. Check to see the cost before you download. If you do decide to download an application that costs money and you are not happy with it, you must remove it promptly in order to receive a refund.

Keep in mind, there are countless applications to try and using them will likely differ from the MacOS and OS X native process.

LightshotApowersoft Screenshot, and Cloud App, are the top-rated applications in this category.

8How to record your screen on a mac using the quicktime application

To record your screen instead of taking a photo, simply launch the Quickytime.app from Finder or Launchpad and press Control+Command+N on your keyboard. in this video screen capture mac trick is used.

  1. When the black box appears labeled “Screen Recording,” click on the Record button.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to finish recording your screen.

If you are a diehard Apple fan and also own iOS devices, you can take screenshots with them by pressing the Home and Lock buttons at the same time. The image will be saved to your camera roll and you can access it through the Photos app.

9use preview to take a screenshot

Preview, the default tool that allows you to open everything from photos to PDF files on your Mac, has more than a few hidden features. You can edit images with Preview, for instance, simply by clicking the toolbox icon. Preview can also capture screenshots.

To do so, open Preview and head to the menu bar. Then, click File and select Take Screenshot from the resulting drop-down menu.

We prefer the keyboard shortcut method to this method, however, because the former is far quicker. Preview does offer one main advantage, however, in that you can choose where your screenshots end up. The other options on our list automatically save your screenshot to the desktop with a verbose filename. Preview opens the screenshot, lets you make a few edits, and save the file wherever you like. If that matters to you, Preview is a solid choice.

10Taking and saving mac screenshots

What happens once a screenshot is taken? Assuming you didn’t just send it to the clipboard, your Mac will automatically time stamp the screenshot with the day and time it was taken, before saving it as a PNG file to your desktop. This is handy for immediate reference, but if you’re taking many screenshots in a row, then your desktop will quickly become cluttered with files that sport odd names.

The best solution is to simply move screenshots to the Trash whenever you’re finished with them. But if you work with numerous screenshots, this may get a little tiring. The good news is that there are modifications you can make via Terminal commands and third-party MacOS software, the latter of which we’ve touched upon in our picks for the best MacOS apps.

Take, for example, the Tiny for Mac app. The software will automatically rename your screenshot based on the foremost application window. If you’re using Safari or Chrome, it will also incorporate the URL and title of the active tab, if applicable. This can greatly help with organization if you’re juggling several images at the same time.

11How to save a screenshot directly to your Mac Clipboard

  1. Set up your screenshot exactly as you would if you wanted the results saved to the desktop.
  2. Press Command + Shift + Control + 3 all at the same time to screenshot the whole screen to your Clipboard.
  3. Press Command + Shift + Control + 4 all at the same time to screenshot an area, or press Spacebar afterwards to screenshot a specific window, to your Clipboard. This is easy way of mac screenshot to clipboard
  4. Go to your document or image editor of choice and use Control + v or choose Pastefrom the menu to copy your screenshot out of the Clipboard and into the window.

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