How to Take a Screenshot on Mac

How to Take a Screenshot on Mac? Keyboard shortcuts used to take screenshots but each technique captures a different part of your screen.

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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. You can

  • Take a screenshot on Mac with Grab Utility.
  • Use keyboard shortcuts to grab a screenshot.
  • Use third-party applications to take your screenshot.

Keep in mind, you can also record your screen instead of taking a picture by using the QuickTime application.

Screenshots are a convenient tool. You can use them to help guide someone through a new app, capture essential messages, and take incriminating photos of your best friend while Skyping. Unfortunately, Apple computers and laptops don’t come with a straight forward Print Screen Key.

They do, however, have a few keyboard commands and apps that will allow you to get the shot you need. These commands are quick and easy to learn.

Using keyboard commands

[MacOS keyboard commands] are the easiest and quickest way to take a screenshot, whether you’re capturing the entire screen or just a portion. By default, Apple’s methods save your screenshot to the desktop. However, Taking a Screenshot on a Mac if you simply want to copy the screenshot to the clipboard, we provide a keyboard shortcut for that too.

Capture the entire screen

Capture Screen Method 1: Press the Command + Shift + 3 keys simultaneously for an instant capture to your desktop.

Capture Screen Method 2 : Press the Command + Shift + 3 + Control keys simultaneously to save the image to your clipboard.

In MacOS Catalina, a screenshot preview appears in the corner of your screen, giving you quick access to editing tools. You can also take advantage of the “Stacks” feature, which groups together similar files on your desktop, such as screenshots. To do so, just right-click on your desktop and select Use Stacks on the menu to quickly toss them into a group.

Capture a selected area

Selected Area Method 1: Press the Command + Shift + 4 keys simultaneously. With your pointer turned into a crosshair, click and drag to select the region you want captured. When you let go of the mouse button, the screenshot saves to your desktop.

Selected Area Method 2: Press the Command + Shift + 4 + Control keys simultaneously. With your pointer turned into a crosshair, click and drag to select the region you want captured. When you let go of the mouse button, the screenshot saves to the clipboard.

Capture a single window

Single Window Step 1: Press the Command + Shift + 4 keys simultaneously so that your pointer becomes a crosshair.

Single Window Step 2: Press the Spacebar . The pointer changes to a camera icon.

Single Window Step 3: Any window you hover over highlights in blue. Click on the window you want to capture and the image saves to your desktop.

This method doesn’t just capture windows — you can save the desktop, the menu bar, the Dock, or even an open menu by itself.

The image you save consists of the window and its shadow against a transparent background (PNG). If you don’t want the shadow, press and hold the Option key (or Alt ) as you click to save the image.

Method 2: Press the Command + Shift + 4 + Control keys simultaneously in the Step instead to save the image to your clipboard.

Use the on-screen marquee

If you’re using MacOS Mojave or later, you can load an on-screen marquee you can move How to speed up your Mac or resize as needed. It provides three capture tools, options for saving, whether to show the pointer, and more.

On-screen Marquee Method 1: Press the Command + Shift + 5 keys simultaneously to choose your target shot — full screen, a specific window, or a defined portion — and save the resulting image to the desktop or another location.

On-Screen Marquee Method 2: Press the Command + Shift + 5 + Control keys simultaneously to choose your target shot — full screen, a specific window, or a defined portion — and save the resulting image to the clipboard.

Note that if you have a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, you have options like Selected Portion , Window , or Entire Screen . You can also use it to save screenshots to a different folder such as Desktop, Documents, or the Clipboard.

Another Touch Bar exclusive is taking a screenshot of the Touch Bar display, which can be done by [hitting Shift + Command + 6].

Taking screenshots with Grab

Don’t feel like memorizing keyboard shortcuts? Grab is an app on all Macs that lets you create screenshots directly from the menu bar. The app also lets you Secretly Capture Screenshots on Mac take time-delayed screenshots, just in case you need to set the stage before capturing an image on your display.

If you’re using MacOS Catalina, Grab is not included. Instead, its features now reside in the Command + Shift + 5 key combination.


Grab Step 1: Open Finder and select Applications on the left.

Grab Step 2: Double-click on the Utilities folder and select Grab .

Once you launch Grab, you’ll see an icon for the app on the Dock — you can also pin this icon for a quick screenshot on mac air access later. Grab rarely features a window when open, and instead runs almost entirely from the menu bar.

Grab Step 3: Either use the Capture menu system to take screenshots or use the keyboard shortcuts detailed next to the respective command.

Timed screenshots

With Grab, you can capture a particular section of the screen, an individual window, or the entire screen — the same three options previously outlined above. What’s new here is the Timed screen option, which gives you a 10-second delay before capturing the screenshot.

This means that if you need to open a menu or place the pointer in the right position, you have time to do so.


Timed Step 1: Follow the previous instruction to open Grab.

Timed Screenshot Step 2: Select Timed Screenshot from the Grab menu, or press its shortcut: Command + Shift + Z .

Keep in mind that your pointer will not show up in the screenshot by default. If you want to ensure it’s captured in the frame, click Preferences from the main Grab menu and select the pointer icon from the resulting pop-up window.

The pointer only shows up when capturing delayed screenshots. Keyboard shortcuts are a better way to capture screenshots, but if you don’t want to memorize anything, Grab is a great alternative.

Using Preview to take a screenshot

Preview is the default tool that allows you to open everything from photos to PDF files (and here’s how to convert them. It has more than a few lesser-known features, such as editing images simply by clicking the toolbox icon. Preview captures screenshots too!


1: Open Finder and select Applications on the left.

2: Double-click on Preview to open the app.

3: Once the app opens, click File located on the menu bar.

4: From the drop-down menu, hover your mouse over Take Screenshot and select From Selection , From Window , or From Entire Screen , depending on your preferences.

We prefer the keyboard shortcut method to this one because the former is far quicker, but Preview does offer one main advantage: You can choose where to save screenshots. 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 then you can save the file wherever you like. If that matters to you, Preview is a solid choice.

Taking and saving Mac screenshots

What happens once you take a screenshot? Assuming you didn’t just send it to the clipboard, your Mac automatically time-stamps it with the date and time it was taken, before saving it as a PNG file on your desktop. This is handy for immediate reference, but your desktop will quickly become a cluttered mess if you’re taking multiple oddly-named screenshots in a row.

If you’re running MacOS Mojave or Catalina, there are new organizational and quick-editing tools at your disposal. For instance, screenshots saved to the desktop will gather in the corner and spread across the display. You can quickly group them using Stacks right-click the desktop and click Use Stacks to declutter your viewing area. You can even click those images to quickly edit them using markup tools.

If you’re running older versions of MacOS, you can always drag the screenshots to the trash, make some modifications via Terminal commands, or use third-party MacOS apps.

We talk about some of our favorites in our guide to the best MacOS apps.Take, for example, the TinyTake for Mac app, which gives you far greater control over your screenshots and how they’re captured.

What Is A Screenshot?

A screenshot sometimes referred to as a screencap or screengrab, is an image that shows the contents of a computer display.

How To Take A Screenshot On A Mac

  1. To take a screenshot on a Mac, press and hold these three keys together: Shift, Command, and 3.
  2. If you see a thumbnail in the corner of your screen, click it to edit the screenshot. Or wait for the screenshot to save to your desktop.

How To Capture A Portion Of The Screen

  1. Press and hold these three keys together: Shift, Command, and 4.
  2. Drag the crosshairmacos-mojave-screenshot-crosshair-inline-icon to select the area of the screen to capture. To move the selection, press and hold Space bar while dragging. To cancel taking the screenshot, press the Esc (Escape) key.

Different Ways To Capture Your MacBook's Screen

Keyboard shortcuts to take screenshots might seem straightforward on your Mac, but each technique captures a different part of your screen.

If your workflow requires taking regular screenshots on your MacBook or Mac Pro, then you’ll need to know three common keyboard shortcuts, and a fourth if you have a MacBook with a touch bar. One of these techniques is a little newer. You might remember it from macOS Mojave, but if you didn’t, rest assured that it has carried over to macOS Catalina.

Stick around, too, because we also walk you through how to work with those screenshots once you’ve taken them. Apple gives you a fair number of options to easily save, delete, and open the screenshot for markup, tools that I’ve come to appreciate, and regularly use.


This keyboard shortcut captures a screenshot of your entire screen.


Use this keyboard combo to turn your cursor into a crosshair, which you can drag to select a portion of your screen to capture. Release the mouse button or trackpad to take the shot.

You have a number of other options after hitting Shift-Command-4:

Press and release the space bar:

The crosshair turns into a little camera icon, which you can move over any open window. Click on your desired window to take a screenshot of it. A screenshot captured by this method features a white border around the window with a bit of a drop shadow.

Press and hold the space bar

(after dragging to highlight an area but before releasing the mouse button or trackpad): This locks in the shape and size of the selection area but lets you reposition it on the screen. It’s very handy if your initial selection area is off by a few pixels; just hold down the space bar to reposition it before releasing the mouse button to snap a screenshot.

Hold down the Shift key

(after dragging to highlight an area but before releasing the mouse button or trackpad): This locks in each side of the selection area made with the crosshairs save the bottom edge, letting you move your mouse up or down to position the bottom edge.

Without releasing the mouse button, release the Shift key and hit it again to reposition the right edge of your selection area. You can toggle between moving the bottom edge and right edge by keeping the mouse button or touchpad engaged and pressing the Shift key.


A relatively new shortcut command introduced in MacOS Mojave (2018), this combination calls up a small panel at the bottom of your display with your screen capture options. There are three screenshot buttons that let you capture the entire screen, a window, or a selection of your screen.

Likewise, the two video-recording buttons let you record your entire screen or a selection of it. On the left is an X button to close the screenshot panel, but you can also just hit the Escape key to exit out.

On the right side is an Options button. It lets you choose where to save your screenshot – Desktop, Documents, Clipboard, Mail, Messages, or Preview – and set a 5- or 10-second delay so you can line up items that might otherwise disappear when you engage your screenshot tool.

By default, the Show Floating Thumbnail option is enabled, which puts a little preview thumbnail of your just-capture screenshot in the lower-right corner of your screen, similar to the screenshot procedure with iOS. Unlike your iPhone ($455 at Back Market), you can turn off this preview thumbnail on your Mac. Lastly, you can choose to show your mouse pointer in a screenshot or video.

If the screenshot panel is in your way, you can grab its left edge and drag it to a new spot on your screen.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How to screenshot on mac computer?

1. Press Command + Shift + 4 on your keyboard. And yes, you have to press them all at the same time.

2. Click and drag your mouse cursor — which will have now become a target icon — over the area you want to screenshot.

3. When you have the right selection lined up, release your mouse. Your Mac will make a snapshot sound, and a preview of your picture will appear in the lower-right corner. After a moment, it’ll disappear, and your picture will be saved to the desktop.

It will be labeled with the words “Screen Shot” followed by the date and time of your screenshot, down to the second.

4. If you’re in the middle of step two and decide you’re dissatisfied with your crop, or for any other reason, you can stop screenshotting by pressing the Escape key on your keyboard. No picture will be saved.

2. How to crop a screenshot on mac?

You can use the following tools to crop a screenshot on mac:

Apowersoft Mac Screenshot

The first Snipping Tool alternative for Mac that you can use is Apowersoft Mac Screenshot. This program is designed and created to fit in any device that runs Screenshot on Mac OSX. It has simple yet powerful screen capture capabilities that will allow you to take “Regional screenshot”, and “Full screenshot”. Some of the features that you can get from this app include:

  • Take a screenshot of anything shown on Mac screen
  • Numerous snapshot outputs
  • Annotate the screenshot with various editing options
  • Upload and share the captured screenshot with just one click
  • Magnify screen to enhance the image’s readability

Grab for Mac

Another Snipping Tool on Mac that you can use is Grab. This is a built-in utility tool that is included in every OS X running devices. This is comparable to the Windows Snipping Tool since it also has various modes like Selection, Window, Screen, and Timed Screen. To use this program simply click “Finder” > “Applications” > “Utilities” > “Grab” and then open it. In order to take a screenshot, hit the “Capture” function, and choose the capture mode based on your needs. Some of its features include:

  • An easy to use interface
  • Different screen capture modes
  • It’s free of charge

3. How to paste screenshot on mac?

CloudApp’s desktop screenshot tools allow Mac users to capture, copy and paste anything on their screen in high-quality formats, including annotated screenshots, GIFs, and even HD video, producing content that lives on a secure URL link, is infinitely shareable, and collaborative.

4. Where to find scrfeenshots on mac?

By default, screenshots save to your desktop with the name ”Screen Shot [date] at [time].png.”

In macOS Mojave or later, you can change the default location of saved screenshots from the Options menu in the Screenshot app. You can also drag the thumbnail to a folder or document.

5. How to edit a screenshot on mac?

  1. Take a screenshot saved directly to your desktop.
  2. Double-click on the resulting image file on your desktop.
  3. Or, right-click your image file and select “Open With.”
  4. Select “Keynote” from the list of applications, or “Other” to locate Keynote in your Finder.
  5. In Apple Preview, you can expand the edit toolbar to add shapes, change the screenshot’s color composition, incorporate text, and more.
  6. In Keynote, you can add a shadow, add a reflection, and remove the screenshot’s background.







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