How to Screenshot on Mac

Tyler Tyler (281)
Total time: 1 minute 

This short guide will teach you how to take a screenshot on your Mac. These instructions are the same whether you have OS X or macOS.

The screen capture functionality on your Mac is amazing because it's capable of taking so many different kinds of screenshots: You can take screenshots of your entire screen, a single application, or even drag a marquee to screenshot a specific area. These screenshots can then be saved to the desktop or copied to the clipboard -- all of this is controlled with different keyboard combinations.

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Mac save screenshot to desktop

This is a "normal" screenshot, the equivalent of a Mac print screen. This screenshots your entire screen and automatically saves the file to your desktop.

To do this, use the following key combination:

Command (⌘)-Shift (⇧)-3

A small preview of the screenshot will appear in the bottom right corner of your screen. Wait a few seconds for it to disappear or click on it, click the [x] close button, and your file will appear on your desktop.

This keyboard combination will screenshot your whole screen and copy it to the clipboard for pasting into Slack, Messages, or anywhere else:

Command (⌘)-Control (⌃)-Shift (⇧)-3

Screenshot a specific area on your Mac

To take a screenshot of a particular part of your screen and save it to your desktop:

Command (⌘)-Shift (⇧)-4

After you press this key combination, your mouse pointer will turn into crosshairs. You can now click and drag over the portion of the screen you want to capture.

To take a screenshot of a portion of your screen and copy it to the clipboard:

Command (⌘)-Control (⌃)-Shift (⇧)-4

As with the previous version, you will see crosshairs after hitting this combination. You will need to click in drag in order to take the screen shot.

Mac window or application screenshot

You can also take a screenshot of a single window (or application) and save it to your desktop! To do this, press:

Command (⌘)-Shift (⇧)-4

Then, press [SPACEBAR], turning your cursor into a camera. Finally, click on the window you wish to screenshot. The screenshot will now be saved to your desktop.

By default, the screenshot will have a drop shadow around it. You can also remove the drop-shadow from your Mac screenshots if you wish. I did this since I think the screenshots look nicer without a drop-shadow.

The following will take a screenshot of a single window/application and copy it to your clipboard:

Command (⌘)-Control (⌃)-Shift (⇧)-4

Press [SPACEBAR] and click on the window or app you wish to screenshot. The screenshot is now on your clipboard.