How to Do a Screen Capture on a Mac

Have you ever found something on your computer screen that you want to show someone else? Or perhaps you need to save an image for future reference. Whatever your reason may be, screen capturing is a vital skill to have as a Mac user. The process can be simple and straightforward, even for those who are not tech-savvy. In this article, we will guide you through 12 easy steps on how to do a screen capture on a Mac. So, let’s get started!


Step 1: Decide what you want to capture

The first step to capturing your screen is to decide what you want to capture. Is it a specific window or a portion of the screen? Once you know what you want to capture, proceed to step two.

Step 2: Launch the Screenshot app

The Screenshot app comes pre-installed on all Mac computers and can be found by holding down the Command, Shift, and number 5 keys. Alternatively, you can search for it in the Applications folder.

Step 3: Select the type of capture you want

There are several options when it comes to capture types. You can choose to capture the entire screen, a selected window, or a portion of the screen. Make your selection based on what you decided in step one.

Step 4: Select any additional options

Depending on the type of capture you chose in step three, additional options may be available, such as a timer or the ability to show the pointer in the capture.

Step 5: Click Capture

Once you have made all your selections and are ready to capture your screen, click the Capture button.

Step 6: Preview your capture

After taking the screenshot, a preview of the image will appear in the bottom right corner of your screen. You can either click on the image to open it or drag it to your preferred location.

Step 7: Save your capture

If you are satisfied with the screenshot, save it by clicking the Save button in the top right corner of the preview window. Choose a file name and location for the image.

Step 8: Use keyboard shortcuts

If you prefer using keyboard shortcuts, you can take a screenshot by holding down Command, Shift, and 3 to capture the entire screen or Command, Shift, and 4 to capture a portion of the screen.

Step 9: Use third-party apps

If you need more advanced capabilities, there are many third-party screen capture apps available for Mac users. Some of the popular options include Snagit and Skitch.

Step 10: Edit your capture

Once you have captured your screen, you may find that some editing is necessary. The Preview app on Mac allows you to crop, resize, annotate, and add text to your screenshot.

Step 11: Share your capture

If you need to share your capture with someone else, there are several ways to do so. You can email the image, share it on social media, or use a file-sharing service like Dropbox.

Step 12: Organize your captures

Lastly, it’s important to organize your captures. Create a folder on your desktop or in your file system to store your screenshots for easy access in the future.


Screen capturing is a useful skill to have, especially in today’s digital age where work and communication rely heavily on the internet. With a Mac, capturing your screen can be done in a few simple clicks. If you’re not satisfied with the default Screenshot app, there are several third-party options available for more advanced features.

When taking a screenshot, it’s important to decide what you want to capture beforehand and to select the appropriate capture type. Once you’ve captured your screen, you may need to edit the image before sharing it with someone else. The Preview app is a useful tool for basic edits such as cropping and resizing. Lastly, organizing your screenshots in a dedicated folder will make it easier for you to locate them in the future.

Tips and Tricks

1. Use keyboard shortcuts for quick and easy screenshot captures

2. Experiment with different capture types to find the one that works best for you

3. Use the Preview app to make basic edits to your screenshots

4. Use third-party apps for more advanced options such as video and timed captures

5. Organize your screenshots in a dedicated folder for easy access

6. Use the Screenshot app to record your screen for tutorials and demos

7. Take advantage of the markup feature in Preview to add text and annotations to your captures

8. Use third-party apps to capture scrolling web pages

9. Use file-sharing services to easily share your captures with others

10. Make use of macOS Mojave’s new screenshot features, such as screen recording and the ability to capture entire web pages.

In conclusion, screen capturing on a Mac is a simple and essential skill to have. With just a few clicks or keyboard shortcuts, you can capture and save anything on your screen. By following the twelve steps outlined in this article, you’ll be capturing screenshots like a pro in no time. Don’t forget to experiment with the many third-party options available and to organize your screenshots for easy access.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Doing a Screen Capture on a Mac


1. Easy to use – taking a screen capture on a Mac is very simple and straightforward. It can be done with just a few clicks of the mouse or keyboard shortcuts.

2. High-quality images – Macs are known for producing high-quality images and screen captures are no exception.

3. Variety of options – there are different options available for screen captures such as capturing the entire screen, a portion of the screen, or a specific window.

4. Quick editing – Macs come equipped with editing software such as Preview, which makes it easy to edit and annotate screen captures.

5. Great for sharing – screen captures are useful for sharing information, tutorials, and demonstrations with others.

6. Saves time – screen captures can save time by eliminating the need to manually write or type out instructions.

7. Useful for troubleshooting – screen captures can help identify issues and errors, making it easier to troubleshoot and solve problems.

8. Can be used for documentation – screen captures can be used for documenting processes, software, and other digital information.

9. Useful for remote collaboration – screen captures can help remote teams work together more effectively by providing a visual reference.

10. Creates a record – screen captures can provide a record of important information that can be referred back to later.


1. Not always appropriate – screen captures may not be appropriate for all situations, such as when dealing with sensitive or confidential information.

2. Can be misleading – screen captures may not always provide the full context or scope of information, leading to confusion or misinterpretation.

3. Takes up storage space – screen captures can take up a significant amount of storage space on a device, especially if done frequently.

4. Could be considered invasive – taking a screen capture of someone’s personal information or conversation without their consent could be considered invasive and inappropriate.

5. May not work on all devices – if trying to take a screen capture on a non-Mac device, the process may be different or not work at all.

6. Distraction – constantly taking screen captures can become a distraction and may disrupt productivity.

7. May affect computer performance – repeatedly taking screen captures can impact the performance of the computer and slow it down.

8. Editing can be time-consuming – while Macs come equipped with editing software, the process of editing and annotating screen captures can be time-consuming.

9. Can be misused – screen captures can be misused for malicious or unethical purposes, such as in cyberbullying or harassment.

10. Inaccurate representation – screen captures may not always accurately represent the information or image being captured, leading to confusion or errors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is a screen capture on a Mac?

A screen capture on a Mac is a way to take a screenshot of all or part of your computer screen.

2. How do I take a screen capture on a Mac?

Press Command + Shift + 3 to capture the entire screen, or Command + Shift + 4 to capture a specific area of the screen.

3. Where are my screen captures saved on a Mac?

Your screen captures are saved to the desktop by default.

4. Can I change where my screen captures are saved?

Yes, you can change where your screen captures are saved by using Terminal to modify the default save location.

5. What file format are screen captures saved in on a Mac?

Screen captures are saved in PNG format on a Mac.

6. Can I take a screen capture of a specific window on a Mac?

Yes, by holding down Command + Shift + 4 and then tapping the Space Bar, you can capture a specific window.

7. Is there a way to delay a screen capture on a Mac?

Yes, by using the Screenshot app in the Utilities folder, you can set a timer for your screen capture.

8. How do I access the Screenshot app on a Mac?

You can access the Screenshot app by going to your Applications folder, then to Utilities, and then clicking on Screenshot.

9. Can I edit my screen captures on a Mac?

Yes, you can edit your screen captures using the Preview app, which comes with your Mac.

10. How do I open and edit my screen captures in Preview?

Right-click on the screen capture file and select “Open With” and then choose Preview. From there, you can edit the screen capture as desired.

11. Can I take a screen capture of a video on a Mac?

Yes, you can take a screen capture of a video on a Mac using the same keyboard shortcuts as taking a screen capture of the screen or a specific area.

12. Is there a way to take a screen capture of a scrolling window on a Mac?

Yes, you can take a screen capture of a scrolling window on a Mac using third-party applications like Snagit or Full Page Screen Capture.

13. Are there any other keyboard shortcuts for screen captures on a Mac?

Yes, you can use Command + Shift + 5 to open the Screenshot toolbar, which offers additional options for taking screen captures on your Mac.

How to Do a Screen Capture on a Mac

Screen capturing is an essential function that comes in handy for personal and professional use. It is an excellent way to keep records of everything you see on your computer screen. Whether it’s for work or leisure, screen captures can help you share information quickly and easily. If you’re a Mac user, you’re in luck. The Mac operating system has a built-in screen capture tool that you can use anytime, anywhere. In this article, we’ll show you how to do a screen capture on a Mac.

Conclusion and Closing

Screenshots are an indispensable feature of modern computers. They allow us to capture images and information quickly and easily, and in most cases, they are free. Mac users are particularly lucky in this regard, as Apple has built a powerful and comprehensive screen capture tool right into the operating system. Whether you need to capture a still image or make a video recording, you can do it all with a few clicks on your Mac. So, the next time you need to capture an important moment or save some information for later, you know what to do. We hope this article has been helpful and informative. Thank you for reading!

Until next time!