Insider Tips on How to Take a Screenshots on Mac

Once in a while, you will need to take screenshots on Mac such as when preparing reports or just capturing a funny image or comment on a website to share with friends. You don’t have to break a sweat in the process; Mac comes some excellent features that you can leverage to take high-quality screenshots in seconds.

Today, we reveal the different ways of taking quality screenshots on Mac.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts to Capture Screenshot on Mac


Screenshot of the Entire Screen

You can take a screenshot of the full screen by holding down the Apple Key also known as CMD and Shift simultaneously then pressing 3. Currently, Mac is programmed to save the screenshot automatically on your desktop as a .png file. No need to worry though, there are plenty of tools and methods that you can use to convert it to your desired format.

Identifying the file is easy as the name will start with “screen shot” then the date and time that you took it. You can preview the file using Photoshop and save it in your preferred file type extension by clicking on “Save As.” If you are viewing two screens on your Mac, you can still take the screenshot, and each screen will have its file.

Selected Portion of your Screen

It is almost impossible to show a particular part of a display if you take a screenshot of the entire screen. Luckily, it is possible to select a portion of the screen still on Mac. Here are two simple steps to help you achieve this objective.

  • Hold Cmd (the Apple Key) and Shift button down at the same time, then press 4
  • Carefully drag crosshairs across the specific sections of the screen that you want to screenshot

Just the full entire screen shot, the captured screenshot will appear on your desktop as a .png file named “Screen Shot” followed by the year, month, day and time that you took it.

Screenshot a Window

If you want to add a particular window into your report, it is possible to do that on Mac by following these steps.

  • Hold down the Apple Key/Cmd + Shift key then press 4
  • As soon as the crosshairs appear on the screen, press “Space” button
  • Move the cursor strategically over the window you want to screenshot then left click
  • The screenshot of the window complete with the shadow will appear on your desktop in the .png file format

If you don’t want the shadow to appear in the screenshot below is what you need to do:

  • Hold down the Apple Key/Cmd + Shift then press 4
  • When the crosshairs appear, instead of pressing the “Space” button, hold down Alt button then press the “Space” button
  • The screenshot (now without a shadow) will be saved in .png file and will appear on your desktop

Screenshot of Dropdown Menu

If you are just interested in a particular dropdown menu, you can capture it by following the steps below:

  1. Hold down the Apple Key/Cmd + Shift then press 4
  2. Press “Space” button when the crosshairs appear
  3. Move the cursor over the dropdown menu that you are interested in then left click to take the screenshot
  4. The screenshot of the dropdown menu will appear on your desktop and will be as .png

Screenshot of the Touch Bar

Unknown to most people is that you can capture not only a screenshot of the entire image but also the touch bar. This is achieved can be accomplished by:

  1. Holding down the Shift + Command +6 keys at the same time

Just like the other screenshots that we have discussed, the screenshot will be saved to your desktop automatically in .png format. If you iCloud drive is synchronized with the Desktop and Documents, you can view the screenshot on all your mobile devices via iCloud.


Copy Screenshot to Mac Clipboard

Copying the captured screenshot to Mac clipboard is as simple as the process of taking the other screenshots that we have previously discussed. All you need to do is press: 

  • Press Control and hold it down, together with any of the aforesaid combinations 

Then the screenshot has been copied into the clipboard. To paste it into a document, image or other files or apps, simply press "⌘ commad + V".

It is important to note than in older Mac Keyboards, the Command key has an Apple logo while in the newer keywords it is simply labeled as “Command” right next to the spacebar.

Use Integrated Tools to Capture Screenshots on Mac


Grab Utility Tool

Grab is a utility tool that is tailored to help you take screenshots quickly. By leveraging this tool, you will not need to memorize which keyboard keys to press to capture a particular screenshot. Another benefit of using this tool is that it is designed to help to determine the size of any element on the screen accurately. All you need to do is click on “Edit” then “Inspector” tabs on the menu to see the dimensions of the selected area. It also has a timed capturing option that allows you to start a timer and activate any part of the screen such as the dropdown or menu, and then take a screenshot of the screen.


Terminal App (Command)

The terminal app presents a way of taking screenshots on Mac using commands. Unlike the keyboard shortcuts, this one allows you even to define the name your file should be assigned. For instance, if you want to take a screenshot of an entire window, type the following command in the app:

screencapture Ashley_work.png

Replace "Ashley_work.png" with the name you would prefer to save the file.

If you want to send a screenshot to the clipboard, use the following command:

screencapture –c Ashley_work.png

If you want to delay a screenshot until you minimize the other windows, retrieve and display the window you want to the front, enter the command below

screencapture -T10 Ashley_work.png

The “10” stands for the delay time (10 seconds), and you can change it to suit your preference.

For more information, you may check:

Screenshot by – Website Screenshot Service

Screenshot troubleshooting

Taking screenshots on Mac is not complicated at all, but it's also a common thing if you encounter some problems.

The screenshots you take turn out to be blank occasionally.

Follow the step by step instruction and make sure where you want to make a screenshot: a particular area of the screen, a program window or your entire screen. Even you do the above things carefully and correctly. There is still a chance that those screenshots may go blank without any elements contained. You should attribute it to the fact that the software you are using has been set to block screenshotting. Apple's DVD player is likely to do so at most times because of the copyright issues.

The problem can be solved by simply using a different program which provides similar functions, such as another DVD player provided by third parties, not Apple. Or you can use a type of professional screenshot capturing software. Please find more info on our Third Party Applications part.

Use Third Party Applications


1# Jing

Jing is a third party application that you can install on your Mac to discover a new way of taking screenshots quickly and more efficiently. Once you install it, you can change the hot key combination for taking screenshots. The default combination is (Command + Shift+ 1). To take a screenshot of the screen, you just need to press this key combination. Once you do that, a yellow hairline cross will appear on the screen as well as dimensional coordinates numbers.

If you want to capture an open window, click inside the area of the window. But if you want to capture a particular area of your current Mac screen, click and drag the pointer to your preferred section. The other sections of the screen that you don’t want will be grayed out except the selected section.  After taking the screenshot, a summary window with details of the picture will appear. You can change the size by moving the mouse to the edge of the screenshot and clicking and dragging. Maintain 16:9 ratio by holding down the shift button while resizing your screenshot.

You can leverage the basic inbuilt image editing images to edit the screenshot to suit your needs and preferences. For example, you can add boxes, texts, arrows, and even highlight certain sections of the screenshot. Once you are done editing, save the image by clicking on the button located on the far left side.


2# Snaps Pro X

Snaps Pro X gives you the power and ability to record virtually anything on your screen in seconds, and no prior experience is required to operate the application. Live Preview is one of the main features that give this application an upper hand. When taking screenshots of websites or manuals, you can use this function to know how the screenshot will look like before saving it. You can opt to edit the drop shadow, scaling, cropping and other aspects of the screenshot to ensure it is perfect for saving it.

Video Capture is another major feature that makes this tool ideal to thousands of Mac users. This feature is tailored to capture full motion video of anything you watch on the screen at a blistering speed. The captured video will retain its digital audio or your preferred microphone voiceover. This makes it an ideal choice for creating training videos, tutorials, product demos, as well as archiving streaming videos.

The interface has over the years been redesigned to make it easy for users to enjoy all its amazing features.


3# SnapNDrag

SnapNDrag is another great app that you can use to take screenshots on Mac. It comes with a set of additional features such as a library-like window that you can use to store all your screenshots for easier access instead of storing them on your desktop. Moving the screenshots is easy as you just need to drag and drop it in this library. In addition, you can drag and drop any of your screenshots to your email for sharing with family members.

The app also simplifies the screenshot taking process by allowing you capture any window on your Mac by just clicking on it instead of manually drawing a frame around it. This simplified process makes it easy for one to take and save contoured screenshots efficiently. 

Next time you want to take a screenshot while working on your Mac, now you know what exactly to do or the application that you need to download and use for this purpose. If you settle for any of the third party application, make sure that you download them from legit websites to avoid infecting your computer with malware during the downloading and installation process.