How to screenshot/screen record on Mac

Taking screenshots on a Mac is an essential skill for anyone who uses the platform regularly. Whether you need to capture an error message for troubleshooting, share a specific part of your screen with a colleague, or preserve a moment on your laptop or desktop, knowing how to take screenshots efficiently becomes important.

How to screenshot/screen record on Mac

This guide delves into the various methods of capturing your screen on a Mac, providing in-depth details and exploring advanced options for customization.

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Common Screenshot Methods on Mac:

  1. Capturing the Entire Screen:

The most straightforward way to capture your entire screen is by pressing the Shift + Command + 3 keyboard shortcut simultaneously. This triggers a brief screen flash, indicating the capture, and saves the screenshot as a PNG image on your desktop named “Screenshot [date and time].png”.

  1. Capturing a Specific Area:

To capture only a specific portion of your screen, use the Shift + Command + 4 keyboard shortcut. This transforms your cursor into a crosshair. Drag the crosshair to define the area you want to capture and release the mouse button to grab the screenshot. The captured image follows the same saving format as the entire screen capture.

Pro Tip: Holding the Spacebar while dragging allows you to reposition the selection area before capturing. This is helpful for fine-tuning the selection, especially when capturing specific elements on your screen.

  1. Capturing a Window or Menu:

To capture a specific window or menu, follow these steps:

  • Open the window or menu you want to capture.
  • Press Shift + Command + 4 followed by the Spacebar.
  • Your cursor transforms into a camera icon.
  • Click on the window or menu to capture it.

Note: Holding the Option key while clicking excludes the window’s shadow from the screenshot.

Where to find screenshots

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.

How to take screenshots or screen recordings on Mac

Using Screenshot or keyboard shortcuts, you can record the screen on your Mac or snap images, often known as screenshots. With the help of a panel of tools called Screenshot, you can quickly snap screenshots and record your screen. You can also choose what to record, such as clicking or the pointer moving over time.

How to take pictures or screen recordings using Screenshot

  1. On your Mac, press Shift-Command-5 (or use Launchpad) to open Screenshot and display the tools.
  2. Click a tool to use to select what you want to capture or record (or use the Touch Bar). For a portion of the screen, drag the frame to reposition it or drag its edges to adjust the size of the area where you want to capture or record.
  3. Click the Options you want, the available options differ depending on whether you’re taking a screenshot or a screen recording. For instance, if you can choose to set a timed delay or show the mouse pointer or clicks, and specify where to save the file. The Show Floating Thumbnail option helps you work more easily with a completed shot or recording—it floats in the bottom-right corner of the screen for a few seconds so you have time to drag it into a document, mark it up, or share it before it’s saved to the location you specified.
  4. Start the screenshot or screen recording:
    • For the entire screen or a portion of it: Click Capture.For a window: Move the pointer to the window, then click the window.For recordings: Click Record. To stop recording, click the Stop Recording button in the menu bar.When the Show Floating Thumbnail option is set, you can do any of the following while the thumbnail is briefly displayed in the bottom-right corner of the screen:Swipe right to immediately save the file and make it disappear.Drag the thumbnail into a document, an email, a note, or a Finder window.Click the thumbnail to open a window where you can mark up the screenshot or trim the recording, or share it.Depending on where you chose to save the screenshot or recording, an app may open.
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Keyboard shortcut to take picture on Mac

There are a number of keyboard shortcuts that you may use on your Mac to snap screen shots.

To copy a screenshot so you can use it somewhere—like in an email or to another device—press and hold the Control key while you press the other keys. For example, to copy the whole screen, press Shift-Command-Control-3.

ActionShortcut
Capture the entire screenPress Shift-Command-3.
Capture a portion of the screenPress Shift-Command-4, then move the crosshair pointer to where you want to start the screenshot. Press the mouse or trackpad button, drag over the area you want to capture, then release the mouse or trackpad button.
Capture a window or the menu barPress Shift-Command-4, then press the Space bar. Move the camera pointer over the window or the menu bar to highlight it, then click.
Capture a menu and menu itemsOpen the menu, press Shift-Command-4, then drag the pointer over the menu items you want to capture.
Open ScreenshotPress Shift-Command 5.
Capture the Touch BarPress Shift-Command-6.

You can customize these keyboard shortcuts in Keyboard settings. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Settings, click Keyboard in the sidebar, click Keyboard Shortcuts on the right, then click Screenshots. (You may need to scroll down.)

Screenshots are saved as .png files and screen recordings are saved as .mov files. Filenames begin with “Screenshot” or “Screen Recording” and include the date and time.

You may not be able to take pictures of windows in some apps, such as DVD Player.

How to screen recording on a Mac

  1. Pressing the ‘Command’, ‘Shift’ and ‘5’ keys (all at the same time), will bring up the screen-capture window. Next to screen capture options, there are options for screen recordings – ‘Record the entire screen’ or ‘Record a portion of the screen’. These options appear with an icon in the bottom right corner that looks like a big dot with a thin circle on the outside.
  2. Select the screen recording option you need and click ‘Record’.
  3. Stop recording by clicking on the ‘Stop recording’ button in the menu.
  4. The recording usually gets saved to the Mac desktop. 
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FAQ

How to capture a window or menu
mac-key-combo-diagram-shift-command-4-space
  1. Open the window or menu that you want to Screenshot.
  2. Press and hold these keys together: Shift, Command, 4, and Space bar. The pointer changes to a camera icon. To cancel taking the screenshot, press the Esc (Escape) key.
  3. Click the window or menu to capture it. To remove the window’s shadow from the screenshot, press and hold the Option key while you click.
  4. 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 do I capture a screenshot on my Mac?

Press Shift-Command-4, then move the crosshair pointer to where you want to start the screenshot. Press the mouse or trackpad button, drag over the area you want to capture, then release the mouse or trackpad button. Press Shift-Command-4, then press the Space bar.

How do I snipping tool on a Mac?

There are three ways you can snip on your Mac:

  1. Capture everything on your screen using the following combination of keys: ⌘ + Shift + 3.
  2. Use ⌘ + Shift + 4 to capture a selection of your screen.
  3. Press ⌘ + Shift + 5 to call up the screen-recording panel and select the desired option.
How do you crop a screenshot on Macbook Air?

To capture a partial screenshot, press the Shift, Command, and 4 keys together at the same time. Then drag the crosshair to choose the area of the screen you want to capture. Again, a thumbnail should appear in the corner, and you can click this to make any extra crops or edits.

What is the fastest way to access screenshots on a Mac?

By default, screenshots are saved to the desktop or the Documents folder on your Mac. If you still can’t find your screenshots, press Command + Space on your keyboard at the same time to open Spotlight search.

Why wont my Mac take a screenshot?

Check your shortcut settings

From the main Apple menu, select System Settings > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts > Screenshots. Make sure all the options in the list are checked.

How do you snip on a Mac without a Mac keyboard?

If you have a newer MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, you won’t have to remember keyboard shortcuts each time you take screenshots. Instead, you can add a camera icon to your Touch Bar and save anything as a screenshot with a couple taps.

What is the shortcut to crop a screenshot on a Mac?

For capturing a part of the screen: Shift-Command-4. You can then adjust the selection to your liking. For capturing a specific window: Shift-Command-4 and then press the spacebar. Bring your cursor over the window you want to capture (it will highlight it for your ease), and click.

Why is command Shift 4 not working on Mac?

The first method to fix Command Shift 4 not working on your Mac is ensuring the screenshot shortcut settings are correct. The “Command+Shift+4” keyboard shortcut takes a screenshot of a selected screen region. Make sure the quick-recording controls haven’t been tampered with.

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Where are screenshot settings on Mac?

Follow these steps to re-enable screenshot hotkeys on your Mac:

  1. Click Apple Menu > System Preferences.
  2. Click Keyboard in the System Preferences window. …
  3. Click the Shortcuts tab in the Keyboard window.
  4. Click Screen Shots in the list on the left of the Shortcuts tab.
  5. Check the boxes for all shortcuts you wish to re-enable.

What is the best tool to take a screenshot on a Mac?

8 Best Snipping Tools for Mac
  • Awesome Screenshot & Recorder.
  • Built-in snipping tool.
  • Snagit.
  • Lightshot.
  • Monosnap.
  • Greenshot.
  • Textsniper.
  • TinyTake.
What app takes screenshots on Mac?

CleanShot X

CleanShot X is a super tool for capturing the screen on a Mac, and it comes with lots of helpful functionality. 

How do you take a screenshot on a Mac without saving to the desktop?
  1. command + control + shift + 3 for the whole screen.
  2. command + control + shift + 4 for a part of the screen.
  3. command + control + shift + 4 followed by space for a single window.
Does Mac have snip?

Yes, Apple includes a built-in snipping tool on all Mac computers. The tool can be accessed via keyboard shortcuts or the screenshot toolbar, and it includes capabilities to capture part or all of the screen, as well as video screen recordings.

How do I automatically save screenshots on Mac?

When you take a screenshot on your Mac using the Shift-Command-3 keyboard shortcut (or Shift-Command-4 to capture a portion of the screen) the images are saved to your desktop by default. Keep reading to learn how you can change the save location to somewhere else.

What is Command 4 on Mac?

Command-2: View the items in a Finder window as a list. Command-3: View the items in a Finder window in columns. Command-4: View the items in a Finder window in a gallery.

What does Command Shift 4 do on a MacBook?

Press and hold these three keys together: Shift, Command, and 4. 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.

What are the ways to screenshot on Mac?

To take a full screenshot on an Apple Mac, press the Command, Shift, and 3 keys down all at the same time. The screenshot image will be saved to the Mac desktop. To take a screenshot of only part of the screen, simultaneously press the Command, Shift, then the 4 keys.

How do I crop and edit a screenshot on Mac?

Here’s how to crop a screenshot on Mac using the Photos app:

  1. Two-finger click on the screenshot you want to crop and select Open With > Photos.
  2. Find and select your screenshot, then click Edit.
  3. Go to the Crop tab and manually select the area you want to crop your image to or pick an aspect ratio.
How to change screenshot location on a Mac
  1. Press Command + Shift + 5. This brings up a dotted-line screenshot placement.
  2. Look to the bottom of the screen and click on Options.
  3. Now either pick a folder that is listed or choose Other Location.
  4. If you choose Other Location you can navigate to the folder you wish the screenshot to go to or create a new folder if required.
  5. Once you have changed the location that is where your screenshots will go until you change the location again.
  6. Tap the keyboard Esc key to close.

As well as your self-defined ‘Other Location’ you can choose from the following: Desktop, Documents, Clipboard, Mail, Messages, Preview.

Richard okechukwu Chinedu

FinTech enthusiast with a passion for making financial technology accessible and understandable. I break down complex concepts into actionable insights to empower readers to navigate the ever-evolving world of FinTech.

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