Apple Tutorials

Different Ways to Take Screenshots in Mac OS X

Take Screenshots in Mac OS X
Written by Rakesh Shukla

You must have seen people sharing the screenshots of smartphone or computer screen on the social media, websites and forums. It’s one of the most helpful feature found on almost all operating systems for mobile devices and computers. Whether you are a geek, a regular user or just a noob, you must feel the need to capture your device’s screen at some or other point of time. We take screenshots whenever we have to share a specific screen from some video, high score from games, some bug or issue we want to report, or any screen of our computer or handheld device.

Being an Android-themer, ROM developer and a tech blogger, I have to share the screenshot of my phone’s screen setup or computer screen to make my tutorials illustrative and more helpful. Being a lifelong Windows user, I am very new to the Mac environment, I got my MacBook Pro just a year ago and taking screenshots was one of the basic things I learnt first.

On a Windows machine, we can take a screenshot of the full screen using  the Windows + PrtScn key combo, and capture custom area of any screen using the built-in Snipping Tool. Coming to Mac, the job of taking screenshots becomes not only a lot easier but also has more options and functions.

Apple dispenses with a devoted the key for taking screenshot entirely. In Mac OS, we have to use key combinations instead for capturing screenshots. Below, we’ll take a look at the different ways in which we can take screenshots in devices like Mac, Macbook Pro and Macbook Air running OS X El Capitan, OS X Yosemite, and older versions of the Mac OS. All captured screenshots are saved in .PNG format on your desktop.

Apple offers numerous, easy-to-remember keyboard shortcuts for taking screenshots. Below, we’ll take a look at the different ways in which we can take screenshots in devices like Mac, Macbook Pro and Macbook Air running OS X El Capitan, OS X Yosemite, and older versions of the Mac OS. All captured screenshots are saved in .PNG format on your desktop.

Mac Screenshot Key Combinations Summarized

Command+Shift+3: Takes a screenshot of the entire screen.
Command+Shift+4: Takes screenshot of a selected area of the screen.
Command+Shift+4+Spacebar+Click on a window: Takes a screenshot of a specific window
Just Add Control key to any of the key combinations above and the captured screenshot will be copied to the clipboard.

 

Take Screenshot of the Entire Screen on Mac

  1. Go to the UI or app screen you want to capture.
  2. Now press Command + Shift + 3 key combination simultaneously.
    Screenshot-in-Mac-OS-X-Keyboard-Shortcuts-01

    Command + Shift + 3

  3. When the screenshot is taken, you’ll hear a camera sound.
  4. The captured screenshot will automatically be saved to your Mac desktop.

Capture a Custom Area of Mac Screen

  1. Go to the UI screen or app window you want to capture.
  2. Then press Command + Shift + 4 keys at the same time.
    Screenshot-in-Mac-OS-X-Keyboard-Shortcuts-02

    Command + Shift + 4

  3. Now move the crosshair cursor at the place you want to begin capturing the screen.
  4.  Click and hold the cursor and drag the crosshair to select the area you want to capture.
  5. As you drag the cursor, the crosshairs will give you a precise pixel count to help you with capturing the screen with a specific pixel size.
  6. Having selected the area, release the mouse button or the trackpad.
  7. You’ll hear a camera click sound, to indicate that the screenshot has been captured and it will be saved to the desktop.

Capture a Specific Window

Note: By using this method, you can take the screenshot of an app window or a screenshot of a specific dropdown menu.

  1. Open the app or screen window you want to capture.
  2. Press Command + Shift + 4 all at the same time.
    Screenshot-in-Mac-OS-X-Keyboard-Shortcuts-02

    Command + Shift + 4

  3. Your cursor will turn into crosshairs.
  4. Now press the Spacebar on the keyboard and your cursor will turn into a camera.Screenshot-in-Mac-OS-X-Keyboard-Shortcuts-05
  5. Place the camera cursor on top of the window you want to capture.
  6. The selected window will be tinted blue.
  7. Now click to take the screenshot.
  8. You’ll hear a click sound indicating that the screenshot has been captured successfully and saved to your desktop.

Copy the Screenshot to Mac Clipboard

While the methods described above will save your captured screenshots to the Mac desktop or your desired folder, you can also screenshot your Mac screen directly to the clipboard without saving it.

  1. Press Command + Shift + Control + 3 simultaneously to copy the whole screen to your Clipboard.
    Screenshot-in-Mac-OS-X-Keyboard-Shortcuts-03

    Command + Shift + Control + 3

  2. Press Command + Shift + Control + 4 simultaneously to screenshot a specific of the screen. The captured screenshot will be copied directly to the clipboard. You can also press Command + Shift + Control + 4 followed by the Spacebar capture a specific window.
    Screenshot-in-Mac-OS-X-Keyboard-Shortcuts-04

    Command + Shift + Control + 4

  3. Now go the app, such as image editor or document, where you want to use the captured screenshot and then press Control + V keys or use Paste option to get the screenshot there.

That’s it! I hope our detailed tutorial on taking screenshots on all Mac machines will have proved helpful to you! If you have any question regarding the methods discussed above, or want any help your Mac, Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, please drop a comment below.