How to Do a Screen Capture on Mac

Hello and welcome to this article! If you are a Mac user and you need to capture your screen, you are in the right place. Screenshots are a practical way to share information, create tutorials or just keep a record of something important. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to do a screen capture on your Mac.


Step 1: Determine what you want to capture

The first step is to determine what you want to capture. It can be a full screen, a selected part of the screen, or a specific window. Once you’ve decided, proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Full-screen Capture

If you want to capture the entire screen, press shift + command + 3 together. The screenshot will be saved on your desktop.

Step 3: Partial-screen Capture

If you want to capture part of your screen only, you can use the shift + command + 4 shortcut. You will see your mouse pointer change into a crosshair. Drag the crosshairs to select the area you want to capture. Release the mouse button once you have made your selection. The screenshot will be saved on your desktop.

Step 4: Window Capture

To capture a specific window, press the shift + command + 4 shortcut, then press the spacebar. Your pointer will turn into a camera icon. Click on the window you want to capture. The screenshot will be saved on your desktop.

Step 5: Use Modifier Keys for Customisations

You can customize your screenshots by using modifier keys. For instance, if you want to copy the screenshot to the clipboard instead of saving it on your desktop, press the control key in addition to your regular shortcut command.

Step 6: Using Terminal

You can also use terminal commands to take a screenshot of your entire screen. Open terminal and type in “screencapture -x picture.jpg” The captured image will be saved in your home directory.

Step 7: Editing Your Screenshot

Once you’ve captured the screenshot, you can edit it using the built-in Preview app on your Mac. Open the screenshot using Preview and use the various editing tools available such as adding text, highlighting and cropping.

Step 8: Sharing Your Screenshot

To share your screenshot, simply drag and drop it into an email, chat message, or document. You can also share it on social media or upload it to cloud storage such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

Step 9: Saving Your Screenshot in Different Formats

Your Mac offers various screenshot formats depending on your preference. To change the default screenshot file format, go to the terminal and type in “defaults write type (format)”, where format can be PNG, JPG, PDF, BMP, and TIFF.

Step 10: Screenshots with a Timer

If you want to take a screenshot of something that requires a time delay, you can do so by using the built-in screenshot timer. To do this, press shift + command + 5 then select “Capture selected window” or “Capture screen” options for a 5-10 second delay.

Step 11: Keyboard Shortcuts

As you’ve seen from earlier steps, using keyboard shortcuts can make your screenshot capturing process faster and more efficient. Once you’ve mastered the shortcuts, use them as your preferred method for taking screenshots.

Step 12: Third-party Screenshots Apps

Finally, if you need more advanced features or better quality screenshots than what’s offered on your Mac, you can download and install a third-party app such as Snagit, Skitch, or Lightshot.


Capturing a screenshot on your Mac is a straightforward process. The first thing you need to do is to decide on the kind of screen capture that you want. Once you settle on the desired screen capture, you can use keyboard shortcuts to initiate the process. The screenshot will be saved on your desktop unless you choose to copy it to the clipboard.

Preview, the default image editor on your Mac, provides you with tools to edit the screenshot immediately after capturing it. Finally, you can share the screenshot once you’ve edited and saved it into your preferred image format. Alternatively, you can use third-party apps to capture better quality images and access advanced features.

Tips and Tricks

1. Use Keyboard Shortcuts

As mentioned earlier, keyboard shortcuts are a faster and more efficient way to do a screen capture. Mastering them will save you time and hassle in the long run.

2. Know your screen capture needs

Knowing what you want to capture and having a clear idea of what you intend to do with the screenshot can help you make better decisions on when and how to take the screenshot.

3. Use Third-Party Apps

Third-party apps can provide you with more advanced features for capturing screenshots. Evaluate your options and find a suitable app that meets your needs and preferences.

4. Use Editing Tools

After capturing your screenshot, Preview provides you with editing tools to make quick changes to your screenshot. Take advantage of these tools to improve the quality and make any necessary adjustments.

5. Set a Timer

Using the built-in screenshot timer can provide you with the necessary delay for capturing something that requires timing.

6. Save in Different Formats

Your Mac provides you with various screenshot formats than you can save your screenshot in. Make sure that you select the appropriate file format.

7. Use Shortcuts for Editing Tools

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to access various tools in Preview. This can significantly reduce the time you spend editing your screenshot.

8. Organize Your Screenshots

As you take more and more screenshots, organization becomes important. Develop a clear naming convention and folder structure to help you find the screenshot you need quickly.

9. Declutter Your Desktop

Your screenshots will be saved on your desktop by default. It is important to organize your desktop to prevent clutter, especially if you take a lot of screenshots regularly.

10. Customise Your Keyboard Shortcuts

Finally, you can customize your keyboard shortcuts to suit your needs. This can be done by going to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts and clicking on Screen Shots in the sidebar. From there, you can assign new shortcuts for specific actions.


Advantages of Screen Capturing on Mac

Screen capturing, or screenshotting, on Mac has become an important aspect of everyday computer use. The functionality allows users to capture what is displayed on their screen at a given time. Here are some advantages of screen capturing on Mac:

  1. Easy to Use: Screen capturing on Mac is an effortless procedure. It’s as simple as pressing a few keys together and taking your screenshot.
  2. Effective Communication: Screen captures are an excellent way to communicate information visually, whether it is for business purposes or basic explanations.
  3. Visual Documentation: Screenshots serve as visual documentation of a process or progress and can be saved for future use. It’s a valuable tool for those who want to track how their ideas developed over time.
  4. Simple Editing: Mac’s screenshotting function allows users to trim and edit images, making it easier to highlight specific details and share it with others.
  5. No Need for External Software: Mac’s in-built screen capture function eliminates the need for external software, saving time and money.
  6. Improves Productivity: Screen capturing on Mac can help improve productivity as it enables users to capture information or tasks that they might forget or miss if they were to write it down.
  7. Useful for Designers and Developers: Screen capturing provides designers and developers with the ability to capture screenshots of bugs and issues they encounter, making it easier to identify and fix those issues.
  8. Creating Interesting Content: Screen capturing can be used to create interesting content, such as tutorials, reviews, and gameplays. It’s an excellent way to get creative and engage with an audience.
  9. Sharing Information: Screen capturing makes it possible to share information with others easily. It’s a convenient way to share information with someone who might be unable to access a particular website or software.
  10. Helpful for Customer Service: Screen capturing is a useful tool for customer support teams when assisting clients with technical issues. It allows them to visually identify what the problem is, making it easier to provide a solution.

Disadvantages of Screen Capturing on Mac

While screen capturing on Mac has many advantages, there are also a few drawbacks to be aware of. Here are some disadvantages:

  1. File Size: Screenshots can have large file sizes, which can take up a lot of storage space on your hard drive.
  2. Low Quality Results: Depending on the settings you use for screen capturing, you may end up with low-quality results that are difficult to read or identify.
  3. Privacy Concerns: If you end up sharing screenshots with personal information unintentionally, it can lead to privacy concerns.
  4. Requires Multiple Steps: Sometimes, screen capturing on Mac can require multiple steps, which can be time-consuming and frustrating.
  5. Not User-Friendly for New Users: For new Mac users, the process of screen capturing may not be user-friendly and may require a learning curve.
  6. Not Ideal for Video: While screen capturing can be used for creating tutorials and gameplay videos, it may not be ideal for professional users who require higher quality video recordings.
  7. Compressing Images: In some cases, you may need to compress the images you capture before sharing them, which can lead to a loss in image quality.
  8. May Distract from Work: Constantly taking screenshots and editing them can take away from productivity and distract you from your work.
  9. Difficult to Capture Specific Movements: Capturing specific movements on your screen can be difficult as it requires precise timing, especially if you’re trying to capture a specific segment in real-time.
  10. No Audio Recording: Mac’s in-built screen capturing feature does not include audio recording, which can be a disadvantage for those who require it.


1. What is a screen capture?

A screen capture is a digital image of the content that is displayed on your computer screen or mobile device screen. It can be a still image or a video recording of your screen.

2. Why do I need to do a screen capture on my Mac?

You may need to do a screen capture on your Mac to save an image of what is displayed on your screen, share a tutorial, create a presentation or save a screenshot of an important document.

3. What are the keyboard shortcuts to do a screen capture on a Mac?

The keyboard shortcuts to do a screen capture on a Mac are:

  • To capture the entire screen, press Command + Shift + 3
  • To capture a selected area of the screen, press Command + Shift + 4 and drag the cursor to select the area to capture
  • To capture a window or menu, press Command + Shift + 4 and press Spacebar. Then click on the window or menu to capture it.

4. What is the best screen capture tool for Mac?

There are many screen capture tools available for Mac, but some of the best ones include:

  • Screenshot – the built-in screen capture tool on the Mac
  • Snagit – a feature-rich screen capture tool with editing capabilities
  • Monosnap – a free screen capture tool with cloud storage options

5. How do I take a screenshot on a Mac without using the keyboard?

You can take a screenshot on a Mac without using the keyboard by using the Grab app. To use the Grab app, go to Applications > Utilities > Grab. Then select the type of screenshot you want to take under the Capture menu.

6. Can I annotate my screen captures on a Mac?

Yes, you can annotate your screen captures on a Mac using the built-in Preview app. Open the screenshot in Preview and click on the markup tool to add annotations to your screenshot.

7. How do I save a screen capture on my Mac?

To save a screen capture on your Mac, simply press Command + Shift + 3 to capture the entire screen or Command + Shift + 4 to capture a selected area. The screenshot will be automatically saved to your desktop.

8. Can I change the file format of my screen captures on a Mac?

Yes, you can change the file format of your screen captures on a Mac by going to Applications > Utilities > Terminal and entering the command ‘defaults write type (file format)’. Replace ‘(file format)’ with the desired file format such as png, jpg, gif, etc.

9. How do I take a screenshot of a specific window on a Mac?

To take a screenshot of a specific window on a Mac, press Command + Shift + 4 and then press the Spacebar. The cursor will change to a camera icon. Click on the window you want to capture and the screenshot will be saved to your desktop.

10. Can I take a screenshot of a video on my Mac?

Yes, you can take a screenshot of a video on your Mac by pausing the video at the desired frame and using the keyboard shortcut Command + Shift + 4 to capture a selected area.

11. How do I capture a screenshot of my Mac’s Touch Bar?

To capture a screenshot of your Mac’s Touch Bar, press Command + Shift + 6. The screenshot will be saved to your desktop.

12. Can I take a screenshot using third-party screen capture tools on a Mac?

Yes, you can take a screenshot using third-party screen capture tools on a Mac. Many popular screen capture tools such as Snagit and Monosnap are available for Mac users.

13. How do I share my screen captures on a Mac?

You can share your screen captures on a Mac by attaching the image to an email, saving it to Dropbox or Google Drive, or using the built-in sharing tools in Mac OS X.

How to Do a Screen Capture on a Mac

Screen capturing on a Mac is an essential skill for a variety of purposes. Whether it is for a video tutorial or a presentation slide, knowing how to do a screen capture on a Mac can be a lifesaver. In this article, we will be discussing the steps to do a screen capture on a Mac, so you can avoid the stress of not knowing how to do it.

Firstly, to do a screen capture on a Mac, you should know the different methods available. The most common ways to do a screen capture on a Mac include using the keyboard shortcuts or the built-in app, Grab. The keyboard shortcuts involve pressing certain keys at the same time, depending on the type of screen capture you want to do. For example, to capture the entire screen, press Command + Shift + 3.

If you prefer to use an app, then Grab is the built-in app for screen capture on a Mac. To use Grab, go to Applications > Utilities > Grab. Once the app is open, you can choose from the different screen capturing options that are displayed. For example, you can choose to capture a certain window or area of the screen, depending on your preference.

Secondly, it is important to know where you want to save your screen captures. By default, all screen captures are saved on the desktop. However, if you prefer to save them in a different location, then you can change the default location by going to the Screenshot app and selecting “Options.” From there, you can change the location of where your screen captures will be saved.

Lastly, once you have done your screen capture, you may want to edit and save it. You can edit your screen capture using the Preview app. To do this, right-click on the screen capture and select “Open With > Preview.” From there, you can make the necessary adjustments and then save it.

Conclusion and Closing

Learning how to do a screen capture on a Mac is simple and straightforward. From using keyboard shortcuts to using the built-in app, Grab, and knowing where to save and edit your screen captures, you will be able to take high-quality screenshots with ease. By following these simple steps, you will have the skills needed to capture any screen on your Mac. Good luck!

Until next time, happy screen capturing.