How to take a screenshot on a Mac

How to take a screenshot on a Mac

Last updated: October 22, 2017 

Screenshots are handy for a variety of reasons.  They also go by many names.  When someone refers to a screen grab, screen capture, screen dump, or screen shot (two words), they are mostly likely referring to a screenshot.  A screenshot is usually an image taken of the content that is displaying on your computer monitor at a moment in time.

OS X and macOS allow you to take a screenshot on a Mac of either the full computer screen, or a portion of the screen.  Often times, personal information is displaying somewhere on your screen.  In this case, you may only wish to record a screenshot of the portion that can be shared safely and publicly.  Taking a screenshot on your Mac accommodates both needs.  Your Mac will automatically save your screenshot as a .PNG file to your desktop.  The file is automatically named with the date and time it was taken (i.e. Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 2.28.51 PM.png).

1.  To take a screenshot on a Mac of just a portion of your screen (such as window, a menu, or part of the desktop), press the COMMAND+SHIFT+4 keys on your keyboard at the same time.

screenshot on a mac

Your mouse cursor will change to a crosshair pointer.  Press and hold the mouse button down, and drag the crosshair pointer across the portion of the screen you want to select to capture the screenshot.  Release your mouse button.  You may hear a sound similar to a camera shutter as an audible notification that a screenshot has been taken.  Look for the screenshot file on your Mac desktop.

2.  To take a screenshot on a Mac of your entire screen, press the COMMAND+SHIFT+3 keys on your keyboard at the same time.

screenshot on a mac



You may hear a sound similar to a camera shutter as an audible notification that a screenshot has been taken.  Look for the screenshot file of whatever was displaying on your entire screen on your Mac desktop.

3.  Mac OS X and macOS include an application called Grab that can be used to create screenshots.  To launch Grab, use Finder to go to Applications > Utilities.  Double-click on Grab to launch it.  Once launched, use the Capture menu to select to take a screenshot of a Selection, Window, Screen or Timed Screen.  The screenshot is not automatically saved.  Select File > Save to save the screenshot to your default location.  The file is saved as a .TIFF file, which is the only file type available with the Grab utility.

Also see:  How can I take a Windows screen shot?

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