How to Take a Screenshot on Mac

If you have just migrated from a Windows machine to a Mac, the first thing you must have noticed is that there is no PrntScrn button to capture screenshots. While taking a screenshot on Mac is simple, it can get a little complicated for new macOS users initially. You can easily capture the entire screen, a window, or just a section of your screen with just a few key combinations. So, keep reading to learn how to take a screenshot on Mac using different keyboard combinations.

How to Take a Full-Screen Screenshot on Mac

You can capture high-quality screenshots on your Mac and edit them as you see fit to share them later via AirDrop. Here’s how you capture a full screen screenshot on Mac:

1. On the preferred Mac window, Press Shift + Command + 3 keys to capture a screenshot of the entire screen.

2. You will then see a thumbnail at the bottom right corner of your screen, click on it to view the screenshot or wait for it to get saved on your desktop.

How to Take a Selective Screen Screenshot on Mac

This method turns your cursor into a crosshair, using which you can capture a selective portion of your screen. Here’s how it works:

1. On the preferred Mac window, press Shift + Command + 4, and the cursor will transform into a crosshair

2. Now, click and drag the crosshair to mark the selection and release it to capture the screenshot.

rectangular area selected in a safari window
Image Courtesy: Apple

3. You can also press & hold the Spacebar to move the selection while dragging.

How to Capture a Screenshot of a Window on Mac

While you can capture a window using the method discussed earlier, Mac allows you to easily capture a screenshot of a particular window using a keyboard combination. This is how it works:

1. Open the window you want to capture the screenshot of.

2. Press the Shift + Command + 4 + Space bar keys and the particular window gets greyed out, and the pointer turns into a camera icon.

3. Now, click anywhere on the window to capture a screenshot.

greyed out safari browser widow
Image Courtesy: Apple

4. To exclude the window’s shadow from the screenshot, simply press and hold the Option key while you click.

How to Take A Screenshot on Mac Using Screen Capture Window

Till now, I have detailed every method to capture screenshots on Mac including capturing full screen screenshots, capturing a portion of a screen, and taking screenshots of a window. While you can use all the above-discussed methods separately to capture different screenshots, Mac also offers a full-fledged screen-capturing tool to take screenshots from a single dashboard. Here’s how this work:

1. Press the Shift + Command + 5 keys to bring up the screen capture window.

mac screenshot tool
Image Courtesy: Apple

2. Here you get the different options to take screenshots on Mac. Here are your options to capture screenshots: Capture the entire screen, a window, or a portion of the screen. You can also use this method to screen record on Mac.

How to Change Save Location of Screenshots on Mac

By default, all the screenshots you take on your Mac are saved on your desktop, whether it is an entire screen or a window screenshot. And if you want to change this default save location, simply follow the methods discussed below:

Change Screenshot Save Location via Screen Capture Window

1. Press the Shift + Command + 5 keys to bring up the screen capture window.

2. Now, click the Options tab at the bottom and choose the location in the pop-up menu.

pop up menu in mac screenshot tool on a white background

Note: This method works only for a particular screenshot and you will have to set the location every time you capture a screenshot.

Change Screenshot Save Location via the Terminal

Use this method to change the default save location of screenshots on Mac permanently. Here’s the method:

1. Launch the Finder app and press the Shift + Command + N keys to create a new folder to save screenshots.

finder window on mac

2. Now, open the Terminal app using the Spotlight Search.

spotlight search on mac

3. Here, type in the command “defaults write location” and hit space.

terminal window on mac

4. Now, drag the newly created folder into the terminal window, and the folder path will appear after the command you entered, and then hit Enter.

two windows on mac

Best Third Party App to Capture Screenshots on Mac

While Apple’s native method of capturing screenshots is good enough, it lacks some features. This is where third-party apps come into play. Shottr is a lightweight screenshot app that you can install on your Mac. It is a great alternative for those who are unable to download apps through the App Store. Shottr sits in your menu bar and appears as an S icon. When you open it, you will discover a myriad of options.

The Shottr screenshot app brings many premium features for free. Some examples include scrolling screenshots, annotations, zooming in and out, and OCR. These features are only available with the paid versions of other screenshot apps.

drop down options on mac

On top of that, Shottr is easy to use. By using shortcuts such as Shift + Cmd + 1 or Shift + Cmd + 2, you can capture full-screen or selected areas screenshots, respectively. Once you have taken an image, Shottr’s image editing mode will open, allowing you to edit further. You can download Shottr for free from the official website.

Why can’t I take a screenshot on my Mac?

Generally, screenshot-capturing shortcuts are enabled by default on your Mac, but in some cases, you may be required to configure the settings. Here’s how you can: Apple menu -> System Settings -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts -> Screenshots

Does Mac have a screenshot tool?

Fortunately, it does. You can access it by pressing Command + Shift + 5 keys.

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