How to Take Screenshots in MacOS


There are a few different ways to take screenshots in MacOS natively: you can take screenshots of a whole screen, part of the screen, a window, a menu, and so forth. We’ll take a look at several ways to do this.

Screenshot Your Whole Screen with Hotkeys

  • Hold down the “Shift,” “Command,” and “3” keys on your Mac’s keyboard simultaneously. This takes a screenshot of the entire viewing area of your screen. Make sure that what you want displaying in your screenshot is showing on your screen’s display; you’ll hear a camera shutter sound if your Mac’s sound is enabled.

Whole Screenshot

The screenshot’s then saved to your desktop as a .PNG file and saved with a date and time as the screenshot file name.

Custom Screenshot

  1. To take a customized screenshot, hold down the “Shift,” “Command,” and “4” keys on your Mac’s keyboard at the same time.
  2. A cross-hair symbol will then appear on your desktop. Grab the cross-hair with your mouse to capture the part of the screen that you want, and drag it to the other part of your screen where you want the screenshot to end.
  3. The cross-hair displays a pixel count of the area you’re capturing. By holding down the “Option” key, you can alter the locking position of the cross-hair to the middle of the area. Holding down the “Shift” key locks all sides except for the part of the cross-hair getting dragged and the direction in which it’s going.
  4. Once you’ve captured the desired area on your display, release the trackpad or mouse and it’ll screenshot that specific area.

Area Screenshot

Again, you’ll hear a camera shutter sound if the sound is on, and the time and date are set as the screenshot file name and saved as a .PNG.

Screenshot an Open Window

First, select and make sure you have the window or application that you need the screenshot from open on your display.

  1. Hold down the “Shift,” “Command,” and “4” keys on your Mac’s keyboard at the same time. (Just like we did above.) Again, you’ll see the cross-hair symbol appear on your screen.
  2. Next, press the space bar and the cross-hair symbol will turn into a camera symbol.
  3. Put the camera on top of the area where you want to take a screenshot. A blue outline appears in this field to ensure you’re getting a screenshot of the intended area.                                                                      Screenshot Window
  4. Once you’ve established the screenshot area, click your trackpad or mouse on the camera icon to take the shot.  Tweetbot Screen shot

You’ll hear the camera shutter sound once you’ve clicked the camera icon, and your screenshot again gets saved to the desktop as a .PNG with the time and date as the file name.

Screenshot to the Mac Clipboard

First, get your screenshot area set up, just like you would if you were saving it to your Mac’s desktop.

  • Hold down the “Shift,” “Control,” “Command,” and “3” keys, which captures your entire screen to the clipboard on your Mac. Next, you’ll open the application or software program you want to use for editing and saving the screenshot.
  • Alternatively, hold down the “Shift,” “Control,” “Command,” and “4” keys simultaneously to get a screenshot of a particular area, or press the space bar after that to capture a window on your display and save it to the clipboard. Again, open the application or software program you want to use for editing and saving what you’ve captured.

There you have it—four easy ways to take screenshots natively on a Mac!

Posted by Heather on June 20, 2016

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