10 tips to take a screenshot on mac for free

 screenshot on mac

How to take a screenshot on mac On a Mac, there are several options for taking a screenshot (or if you are arriving here from the PC world: print screen on a Mac). We’ll go over the various key combinations and the numerous adjustments you can make to screenshots, such as cropping them to a specific size or taking a screengrab of an area larger than your screen.

Many of the ways listed below will work in any version of macOS (or Mac OS X), but there were some changes to the screenshot on mac choices in macOS Mojave in 2018, so if you aren’t running Mojave or later, you might not be able to use them.

We’ll show you how to capture a screenshot of something on your Mac’s display, how to modify it, and where the image will be saved in this article, because many people aren’t sure where print screens go on the Mac.

By default, screenshot on mac are saved to your Desktop, but you can alter where they are saved. In most cases, your snapshot will be saved as an a.png file, which you may open in Preview or another image viewer, then Save As with a different file type extension. Below, we’ll go over how to change the format in which your screenshot is saved.

Which buttons screenshot on Mac?

There are actually various key combinations you can use to take a screenshot on a Mac, we’ll run though each below:

Command + Shift + 3 to screenshot on mac with the whole screen

Press Command + Shift + 3 to take a screenshot of the whole screen.

If you have more than one screen it will grab two screenshots, one of each screen.

Command + Shift + 4 to screenshot an area of the screen

There are actually various key combinations you can use to take a screenshot on a Mac, we’ll run though each below:

Command + Shift + 3 to screenshot the whole screen

Press Command + Shift + 3 to take a screenshot of the whole screen.

If you have more than one screen it will grab two screenshots, one of each screen.

Command + Shift + 4 to screenshot an area of the screen

This is the best option if you want to take a screenshot on mac of a selected area rather than the whole screen.

  1. Press Command + Shift + 4 you’ll see a crosshairs appear on your screen with some numbers.
  1. Click with your mouse or trackpad and drag these crosshairs across the area of the screen you want to screenshot on mac, as below, so that they form a rectangle around what you want to grab.
  2. When you are ready release the mouse button or trackpad.

If you want the screenshot on mac to be a certain dimension you could use the pixel measurement that appears beside the crosshairs. You could, for example, drag until the measurements are 500 x 500 if you wanted to screenshot a square

Take screenshot of part of screen

Command + Shift + 5 for more options

Command + Shift + 5 is an option that arrived in Mojave, so as long as you have updated the operating system since 2018 you will have this ability.

Press Command + Shift + 5 and you will see a pop up appear on your screen with a number of options. These include: Capture Entire Screen, Capture Selected Window and Capture Selected Portion.

There are also options so you can make a screen recording of what’s happening on your screen: Record Entire Screen and Record Selected Portion.

We often choose the Capture Selected Portion option which we have set to a certain dimension. This way we can always create screenshot on mac of the same size.

Tips for better screenshots

Try these tips below to fine-tune your screenshot on mac:

  • Once the crosshairs appear you can let go of the keyboard keys.
  • Once you’ve clicked the mouse button and started dragging the cursor, press Space, and you’ll be able to move the selected area around.
  • Hold Shift and you’ll be able to move horizontally only.
  • Press Escape at any time to abort the screengrab. No image will be generated or captured.
  • If you press Control at the same time the screenshot will be copied to your pasteboard.

Where are screenshots saved on Mac?

By default, Mac screenshots are saved to the desktop. In Mojave or later, you can choose a variety of other places where your screenshot can be saved.

However, if you were to use an app such as Grab (available in earlier versions of macOS) to take your screenshots then they might end up elsewhere. Grab is likely to save the screenshot to your Documents folder – and if you don’t change the name of the image it will save as Untitled.

  • Hold down Command + Shift + 5.
  • Click on Options.
  • Find the location you want to save to in the Save to section.
  • Or, if you want to save the image elsewhere, choose Other Location.

We have a separate article about changing where your screenshots go if you want more information, including details of how to change the location of screenshots in High Sierra and older versions of Mac software.

How to choose dimensions of screenshot

There are a number of reasons why you might need a screenshot to be a certain size. Perhaps you have been asked to provide an image that’s a specified number of pixels, a specific size, or maybe you want to take a number of screenshots that are the same dimensions.

You might be thinking you need to edit the screenshot after you’ve taken it to achieve this, but actually you can choose the dimensions of the screenshot as you take it – and use the same dimensions again.

If this is a one off and you need to take one screen shot at specific dimensions do this:

  1. Press Command + Shift + 4.
  2. Crosshairs will appear on your screen with some number – these represent the number of pixels that you will be grabbing. Click your mouse or trackpad and drag a marquee over the area of the screen you want to grab. You’ll notice that the numbers beside the crosshairs will change.
  1. Drag until the measurement corresponds with the dimensions you require. For example, if you want a square make sure the width and height are the same.
  2. Before letting go of the mouse button/trackpad, press the Space Bar, then you can move the box around your screen until you have the area covered you want to screenshot.
  3. Once you are happy with your selection, release the mouse button/trackpad.

If you frequently have to take images that are the same size – for example, we use 1,600 x 900 images so that tends to be our default – you could set up your crosshairs in advance by using Command + Shift + 5. Here’s how:

  1. Hold down Command + Shift + 5.
  2. When the crosshairs appear on your screen drag these crosshairs to cover an area of the screen that equals the pixel width and depth you need. You don’t need to worry too much about how well you cover the area you want to grab because once you release the mouse button you will be able to move the box around your screen until you have the area covered you want to screenshot.
  3. Once you are happy with your selection, click Capture (if you are using macOS Mojave or later).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *