How to take a screenshot on a Mac or MacBook

Tired without Print Screen? Here is how to take a screenshot on a Mac

If you are changing from a Windows PC to a Mac, you might be wondering how to take a screenshot on a Mac without that Print Screen key which was available on your Windows PC keyboard.

There are a various ways you can take a screenshot on a Mac, including those for capturing a specific window available in MacOS.

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Screenshot on a Mac using keyboard commands

Mac OS keyboard commands are the quickest and easiest way to take a screenshot on a Mac whether you are capturing just a portion or the entire screen as long as your keys aren’t stuck.

Screenshot the entire screen on a Mac

Screenshot the entire screen on a Mac

Step to Screenshot the entire screen on a Mac

1: Press the Command + Shift + 3 keys concurrently.

2: which will save a copy of your entire screen to your clipboard. You can alternatively press the same combination of keys without the Command key in order to save the image as a PNG file to your desktop.

Screenshot the selected area on a Mac

Screenshot the selected area on a Mac

Step to Screenshot the selected area on a Mac


1: Press the Command + Shift + 4 keys at the concurrently.

2: your mouse pointer turns into a crosshair, use it to select the region you wish to capture.

3: You can fine-tune your selection by pressing the space-bar, which will allow you take a full-screen capture or to select an open menu.

Your selection will then be copied to the clipboard. Don’t press the Command key alternately and your screenshot will be saved to the desktop as a PNG file.

Note: If you have a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, it will give you options on the Touch Bar that include the Window, Selected Portion, or Entire Screen.

You can also use it to save it to a different folder such as Clipboard, Documents, or even Desktop.

Another feature which is exclusive for Touch Bar MacBooks is to take a screenshot of the Touch Bar display, which can be done by hitting Shift + Command + 6.

Use of Clipboard

If you just want a shot for immediate copy-and-paste purposes—not something you need to save to your desktop use clipboard.

Screenshot on a Mac with grab

Don’t feel like memorizing the keyboard shortcuts? Grab is a program that comes pre-installed on all Macs, which lets you create screenshots directly from the menu bar.

Screenshot on a Mac with grab

The program also allows you take time-delayed screenshots, just in case you want to set the stage before capturing an image on your screen.

Step to screenshot on a Mac with grab

1: Launch the Grab by opening it from the Utilities folder, which is contained within the Applications folder.

Once you launch it, you will see an icon for the program in your dock. You can pin this icon for quick access later.

Grab rarely shows a window when open, and instead, runs almost entirely from the menu bar.

2: Either use the Capture menu system to take screenshots as you wish to or use the keyboard shortcuts detailed next to the respective command.

Timed screenshot on a Mac

Using Grab, you can take a screenshot of a particular section of the screen, the entire screen or the individual window.

The same three options we previously outlined above. What’s new here is the “Timed screen” option, which provides you a 10-second delay before the screenshot is captured. This means that if you want to open a menu or position your mouse in the right position, you have got some time to do so.

Timed screenshot on a Mac

Step to take Timed screenshot on a Mac

 1: Open Grab as in the instructions above.

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

Keep in mind that your mouse cursor wont be showing up in the screenshot by default. If you want to ensure it is captured in the frame, click Preferences from the main Grab menu and select the mouse icon from the resulting pop-up window.

The cursor will only visible when capturing delayed screenshots, which is just as well since you will need your mouse to take screenshots with the other options.

Keyboard shortcuts are way better to capture screenshots, But Grab is a great alternative if you don’t want to memorize anything.

Screenshot on a Mac using preview

Preview, the default tool that allows you open everything from photos to PDF files on your Mac. It has more than a few hidden features.

Screenshot on using preview

For instance, You can edit images with Preview simply by clicking the toolbox icon. Preview can also capture screenshots.

Step to take screenshots using preview

 1: Open Preview.

 2: Highlight File in the menu bar.

 3: From the drop-down menu, select Take Screenshot and then either From Selection, From Window, or From Entire Screen, depending on your preferences.

The keyboard shortcut method are preferred to this one because the former is far quicker, but Preview does offer one main feature: you can choose where your screenshots end up.

The other options on the list automatically save your screenshot to the desktop with a verbose filename. Preview opens the screenshot, lets you make few edits, and then allows you to save the file wherever you like. If that is important to you, then Preview is a solid choice.

Taking and saving a screenshot on Mac

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 quick reference, but if you’re taking many screenshots in a row, then your desktop will quickly become jumbled with files that sport odd names. If you’re running the latest version of MacOS there are new organization and quick-editing tools you can take advantage of.

Screenshots saved on to the desktop screen can be quickly combined together with a right click to dejumble things and when they appear as thumbnails in the corner of your screen quickly after you take them, you can click those images to enable quick-editing using the Markup application.

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 software.

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