4 easy ways to take a screenshot on Mac

Taking a screenshot (also called a print screen or screen capture) on your Mac is quick and easy, but you have to know the right key combinations. I’ll show you how to take screenshots on your Mac.

How to take a screenshot on your Mac?

Windows keyboards generally come with the obvious ‘Printscreen’ button. It cannot be found on a MacBook keyboard, but there are special key combinations to take a screenshot. A big advantage of macOS is that you can also capture part of the screen.

Command-Shift-3: Screenshot of your entire screen

In Windows, you would press PrtScn / Printscreen on your keyboard to capture your screen. On a Mac, to take a screenshot of your entire screen, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold these keys: Shift + Command + 3
    Screenshot mac command shift 3
  2. You’ll hear a clicking sound (if your audio is on). A small preview will appear in the corner of your screen. Click it to edit. In addition, the screenshot is saved to your desktop.

Command-Shift-4: Screenshot of a region of your screen

Windows lacked this option for a long time: capture a portion of your screen. However since Windows 10 1703 it’s possible to take a screenshot of a specific area, using Windows key + Shift + S. The equivalent on MacOS works as follows:

  1. Press and hold these keys: Shift + Command + 4.
    Screenshot mac command shift 4
  2. A small crosshair / radar icon will appear. Now, click and drag the area you want to capture.
  3. While holding your mouse button, you may move the selection by holding the Space bar
  4. To finish the screenshot, release your mouse button

Command-Shift-4-Spacebar: Screenshot of a window

To capture a specific window, you’d use Alt-Printscreen on a Windows device. But to do so, the desired window has to be the active window. On a Mac, that’s not a necessity:

  1. Press and hold these keys: Shift + Command + 4 + Space bar.
  2. The pointer changes to a camera icon. Hover your mouse over the window and click to capture

Command-Shift-5: Open the Options of the Screenshot app

To edit the preferences of the screenshot application, press Command-Shift-5. This allows you to save screenshots to clipboard, for example. It also gives you the option to delay screenshots with 5 or 10 seconds.

Command-Shift-5 is your friend if you can’t remember all key combinations: the toolbar at the bottom allows you to click the preferred screen capture.

FAQ

How do I printscreen on a Mac?

Screenshot mac command shift 3

The equivalent of Printscreen on Windows is Command-Shift-3 on macOS. This key combination takes a screenshot of your entire screen.

How do I alt-printscreen on a Mac?

The equivalent of Alt-Printscreen on Windows is Command-Shift-4 + Space Bar on macOS. After you hit the space bar, your cursor changes to a camera icon. Then, click on the window you want to capture. This allows you to screenshot a specific window.

How do I screenshot a part of my screen on a Mac?

Screenshot mac command shift 4

The equivalent of Windows-Shift-S on Windows, is Command-Shift-4 on macOS. The cursor changes into a pointer icon. You can now left-click your mouse and drag the area to capture.

How do I change the default location of screenshots on a Mac?

Change Default Location screenshots Macscreenshot-options-mac

By default, screenshots are saved to your desktop. To change this to, for example your Documents folder or clipboard, press Command-Shift-5. In the toolbar at the bottom, click Options and select a predefined location, You may also click Other Location… if your location is not listed.

How do I delay a screenshot on a Mac

By default, screen captures are taken immediately. To delay a screenshot with 5 or 10 seconds, press Command-Shift-5. In the dock at the bottom, click Options and set the Timer to 5 Seconds or 10 Seconds.

How do I screenshot to clipboard on a Mac?

To save a screenshot to your clipboard only (thus not saving to your desktop), hold Control while pressing Command-Shift-3. The control key enables the clipboard capture. This also works for Command-Shift-4.

Conclusion

Taking screenshots on a Mac is quick and easy, once you remember and get used to the key combinations. This may take a while, but remember you can always fall back on Command-Shift-5 which opens the toolbar of the Screenshot app. The toolbar allows you to select the preferred screenshot with a simple mouse click.

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