How to take a screenshot on a Mac

  • by Tyler (227)
  • Time to complete: 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.

1

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.

2

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

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.

4

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.

5

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.

6

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.