How to Take Screenshots on Mac OS with Keyboard Shortcuts.
If you’ve recently switched from Windows to macOS, taking screenshots on Mac can be confusing. Of course, the keyboard no longer has a Print Screen key. But instead, you can use multiple keyboard shortcuts. With the right shortcut, you can take screenshots of one window, the entire screen, or a specific part of it.
If you’ve upgraded to macOS Mojave or later, you can use the Screenshot app to capture different parts of the screen or even capture videos. You can find it in the Utilities section of the Applications folder. For earlier versions of macOS, you can use the built-in Grab utility.
However, for all versions of macOS, using macOS keyboard shortcuts is still the easiest and fastest way to take screenshots.
- Press and hold Command + Shift + 3 to take a screenshot of the entire screen. Then you can find the screenshot on your desktop. To cancel taking the screenshot, press esc (Escape) before clicking to take the screenshot.
- On macOS Mojave or later, a thumbnail of the screenshot is displayed in the corner of the screen. You can click on it to edit, move, or just wait for it to disappear.
How to take screenshots of your Mac screen
- To capture the entire screen, press and hold Command + Shift + 3 . You can then find the screenshot on your desktop. To cancel capturing a screenshot, press the esc (Escape) key before clicking to capture it.
- In macOS Mojave or later, you’ll see a thumbnail from the screenshot appear in the corner of your screen. You can click to edit it, move it, or wait for it to disappear.
- If you only want to take a screenshot of the active window, press Command + Shift + 4. You will see your pointer change to a crosshair.
Take a screenshot of a single window
- If you only want a screenshot of an active window, click the Command + Shift + 4 keys. You will see the cursor change to a cross mark.
- Now press the spacebar. When the pointer becomes a camera icon, move the pointer over the window you want to capture. Once you see the highlighted window, click on it to take a screenshot.
- Press Command + Shift + 4 to take a screenshot of a portion of the screen. Then you will see the pointer turn into a crosshair.
- Select the area you want to capture and click it to take a screenshot.
Take a screenshot of a specific area
- To capture a portion of your screen, press Command + Shift + 4 . Then you will see the cursor turn into a target.
- Select the area you want to capture and click on it to take a screenshot.
- If you’ve updated to macOS Mojave or later, use a different shortcut. Press Command + Shift + 5. Then select the portion of the screen you want to capture.
- After taking a screenshot, you can choose from the menu where to save it.
Take Screenshot List
If you need to take screenshots of a specific Mac menu, you can also use a keyboard shortcut to do so.
- Click the menu first. Press the same key combination as above – Command + Shift + 4. Then drag to select the specific area of ??the menu that you want to capture.
- To get a full screenshot of the menu, press Command + Shift + 4 followed by Space. When the pointer changes to a camera icon, hover over the menu and click on it to take a screenshot.
What to do if keyboard shortcuts don’t work
If you are unable to take screenshots using these shortcuts, they may be disabled on your computer. To fix this, follow these steps:
- Open the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen.
- Choose System Preferences Keyboard.
- Click Labels. Then select Screenshots from the menu on the left.
- To enable shortcuts, select all check boxes.
You can customize shortcuts by changing keyboard shortcuts in the menu.
If the shortcuts still don’t work, or your screenshots look blank, it could be due to copyright issues in a third-party app on the screen.
You can fix this by using one of the dedicated screen capture apps on Mac.
Where to find your screenshots
When you take a screenshot, it is automatically saved to your desktop. Your Mac will mark the date and time on it when it was taken and save it as a PNG file. For example, .
This is useful for reference, but if you are taking multiple screenshots, it can cause some serious desktop clutter. If your computer is running macOS Catalina, you can solve this problem by using the Stacks feature.
Right click on the desktop and choose “Use Stacks” from the menu. It will automatically group similar screenshots. On older versions of macOS, you’ll have to use third-party apps or get rid of the clutter manually by dragging and dropping screenshots into the trash.
Save screenshot to clipboard
By default, all your screenshots are saved to your desktop. Alternatively, you can copy them to the clipboard for future reference.
To do this, hold down the Control key while using the keyboard shortcut for screen capture. This will create a copy of your screenshot that you can share, send a message, or paste into any document. Then, using the universal clipboard, you can move it to another Apple device.
If you need to edit the screenshot, open it in any image editing application such as Preview. Using the preview, you can also change the format of your screenshot by exporting it as JPEG, PDF, or TIFF.
Be a professional macOS user
Some people think that knowing and using keyboard shortcuts is for advanced users only and that the average user doesn’t need them. This is simply not true. Most macOS keyboard shortcuts are easy to remember and extremely useful in your day-to-day computer work.
Start by exploring the simple combination from this article and you will see how quickly you become a power user yourself. Or take it a step further and learn more tips and tricks for taking screenshots like a pro.