How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac: A Comprehensive Guide

Hello there and welcome to another helpful article! Are you a Mac user who needs to take a screenshot? Fear not, for we have you covered with this step-by-step guide on how to make a screenshot on a Mac. With just a few clicks and taps, you can capture an image of your entire screen, a specific window, or a selected portion of your screen. Let’s dive into the details!


Step 1: Determine what you want to capture

Before you take a screenshot, you need to decide what exactly you want to capture. Do you want an image of your entire desktop? Or just a specific window or menu? Maybe you want to capture just a portion of your screen? Knowing what you want to capture will help you choose the appropriate screenshot method.

Step 2: Use keyboard shortcuts

The easiest and fastest way to take a screenshot on a Mac is by using keyboard shortcuts. Here are the main shortcuts you need to know:

– Command-Shift-3: to capture the entire screen
– Command-Shift-4: to capture a selected portion of the screen
– Command-Shift-4 then Space bar: to capture a specific window or menu

Step 3: Use the screenshot toolbar

If you prefer a more visual approach to taking screenshots, you can use the screenshot toolbar that comes with macOS Mojave or later. Here’s how:

– Press Command-Shift-5 to bring up the screenshot toolbar
– Choose one of the options: capture entire screen, capture selected window, or capture selected portion
– Customize the screenshot settings if desired (e.g. choose where to save the image, set a timer, show the mouse pointer)

Step 4: Edit the screenshot

Once you’ve captured the screenshot, you may want to edit or annotate it before saving or sharing it. Here are some basic tools you can use:

– Markup: to add text, shapes, or drawings to the image
– Crop: to trim the edges of the image
– Rotate: to change the orientation of the image

Step 5: Save the screenshot

After you’re done editing, it’s time to save the screenshot. Here’s how:

– Click File > Save in the menu bar
– Choose a location to save the image (e.g. desktop, documents)
– Give the image a name and choose a file format (e.g. PNG, JPG)

Step 6: Share the screenshot

If you want to share the screenshot with someone else, you can do so easily from the Preview app. Here’s how:

– Click File > Share in the menu bar
– Choose one of the sharing options (e.g. Mail, Messages, AirDrop)
– Follow the prompts to send the image

Step 7: Use third-party apps

If you need more advanced screenshot features or want to automate the process, you can use third-party screenshot apps such as Snagit, Lightshot, or Skitch. These apps offer additional tools and settings for taking and editing screenshots, and allow you to capture video as well.

Step 8: Use the Terminal

For advanced users who prefer command-line interfaces, there’s also a way to take screenshots using the Terminal app. Here’s how:

– Open Terminal from the Applications > Utilities folder
– Type in one of the following commands (without the quotes): “screencapture”, “screencapture -c” (to save to clipboard), or “screencapture -T 5” (to delay capture by 5 seconds)
– Press Enter to execute the command and take the screenshot

Step 9: Use a web service

If you want to share a screenshot quickly and don’t want to save it to your computer first, you can use a web service such as CloudApp, Droplr, or Gyazo. These services allow you to upload a screenshot directly from your screen and generate a shareable link or code.

Step 10: Use a specialized device

If you take a lot of screenshots and want a dedicated device for that purpose, you can invest in a specialized tool such as the Snipping Tool or the ShutterGrip. These devices attach to your phone or tablet and allow you to take screenshots with ease and precision.

Step 11: Use external software

If you work with screenshots frequently and need to organize, annotate, and manage them efficiently, you may want to use external software such as Adobe Creative Suite, Sketch, or Pixelmator. These programs offer advanced image editing and management features that go beyond what Preview or third-party apps can do.

Step 12: Practice and experiment

The more you practice taking screenshots on your Mac, the more comfortable and efficient you’ll become. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different methods, settings, and tools to find what works best for your needs.


Now that we’ve gone through the steps, let’s explain some of the concepts and terms we mentioned earlier:

– Keyboard shortcuts: these are key combinations that allow you to perform various actions on your Mac without using the mouse. The Command key (⌘) is the main modifier key for shortcuts in macOS.
– Screenshot toolbar: this is a feature introduced in macOS Mojave that allows you to take screenshots and screen recordings with a visual interface. You can access it by pressing Command-Shift-5.
– Preview app: this is the default image viewer and editor that comes with macOS. It offers basic editing and sharing options for images and PDFs.
– Markup: this is a feature in Preview that allows you to add annotations, shapes, or signatures to an image or PDF. You can access it by clicking the toolbox icon in the upper-right corner of Preview.
– Third-party apps: these are apps made by companies other than Apple that offer additional functionality for your Mac. You can find them on the Mac App Store or on external websites.
– Terminal: this is an app in macOS that allows you to interact with your computer using text commands. It’s mainly used by advanced users and developers.
– Web service: this is a website or app that offers a specific service or function on the internet. Examples include social media, email, streaming, and file sharing.

Tips and tricks

To wrap up this article, here are some tips and tricks to help you take better and more efficient screenshots on your Mac:

1. Use the thumbnail preview

If you take a lot of screenshots and don’t want to clutter your desktop or Documents folder, you can use the thumbnail preview feature in macOS Mojave or later. When you take a screenshot, it will appear as a small thumbnail in the lower-right corner of your screen. You can click on it to open it in the Preview app and edit or save it.

2. Use custom keyboard shortcuts

If you don’t like the default keyboard shortcuts for taking screenshots, you can create your own custom shortcuts using the Keyboard preferences in System Preferences. This allows you to assign any key combination you want to different screenshot methods.

3. Use timed screenshots

If you need to capture something that’s time-dependent (e.g. an error message), you can use the timed screenshot feature in the screenshot toolbar. This allows you to set a delay of up to 10 seconds before the screenshot is taken, giving you enough time to prepare the screen.

4. Use the touch bar (if available)

If you have a MacBook Pro with a touch bar, you can use it to take screenshots with a single tap. Just press the screenshot button on the touch bar and choose the type of screenshot you want to take.

5. Customize the screenshot toolbar

If you use the screenshot toolbar frequently, you can customize it to show only the options you need. Just go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Screenshots and uncheck the options you don’t use.

6. Use the virtual keyboard

If you need to capture a keyboard shortcut or just want to show the keyboard in your screenshot, you can use the virtual keyboard feature in macOS. Just go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard and check the “Show Keyboard and Emoji viewers in menu bar” option. Then, click on the keyboard icon in the menu bar and select “Show Keyboard Viewer”.

7. Use the cursor highlight

If you want to draw attention to a specific area of your screenshot, you can use the cursor highlight feature in macOS. Just press Command-Shift-4 and then press the Space bar. Your cursor will turn into a camera icon, and you can click on the area you want to highlight. This will add a circular spotlight to the area in your screenshot.

8. Use the screenshot as wallpaper

If you have a favorite screenshot and want to use it as your desktop wallpaper, you can do so easily. Just open the image in Preview, click on File > Set Desktop Picture, and choose how you want the image to be displayed.

9. Use the screenshot as a reference

If you’re working on a project and need to refer to a screenshot frequently, you can keep it always on top of your screen using a third-party app such as Keep Screen On or Always On Top. This allows you to view the screenshot without having to switch windows or resize the image.

10. Share your screenshots with care

Finally, remember that screenshots may contain sensitive or private information, so be careful when sharing them online or with others. Make sure you crop or blur any parts of the image that you don’t want to reveal, and always ask for permission before sharing someone else’s screenshot.

Advantages and Disadvantages of How to Make a Screenshot on a Mac

If you’re a Mac user, knowing how to make a screenshot is an essential skill. Whether you want to capture an image or just a snippet of what’s on your screen, taking a screenshot is easy and quick. In this article, we’ll go over the advantages and disadvantages of making a screenshot on a Mac.


Advantages Description
Easy and Convenient Making a screenshot on a Mac is straightforward and easily accessible through keyboard shortcuts or the built-in screenshot tool.
Helpful for Troubleshooting Screenshots can be incredibly useful when troubleshooting technical issues. They allow you to easily share what’s happening on your screen with others so they can help identify problems.
Quickly Capture Information If you’re working on a project or need to save a piece of information for later, taking a screenshot is a quick and easy way to capture the information you need.
Save Time and Energy Taking a screenshot is often quicker and more efficient than trying to copy and paste information. This can save you time and energy in the long run.
Customizable Options Mac offers customizable options for taking screenshots, such as saving to a specific location or choosing what type of screenshot you want to take.
Helpful for Creatives If you’re a content creator or designer, taking screenshots can be helpful for capturing inspiration or referencing designs you come across.
Sharing Made Easy Once you take a screenshot, sharing it with others through email, social media, and messaging apps is simple and straightforward.
Integrated into Your Mac The built-in screenshot tool is integrated into your Mac, so you don’t need to download any additional apps or tools.
Time-Stamped Screenshots are automatically time-stamped, which can be useful for tracking progress or referring back to specific moments in time.
Useful for Educational Purposes If you’re a teacher or student, taking screenshots can be helpful for sharing information or referencing materials for homework and projects.


While there are many advantages to making a screenshot on a Mac, there are a few disadvantages to keep in mind as well.

Disadvantages Description
Overuse Can Clutter Your Desktop If you take too many screenshots and don’t organize them properly, your desktop can quickly become cluttered and difficult to navigate.
No Video Recording Option The built-in screenshot tool does not allow for recording videos, which can be a disadvantage for those who need to record their screen.
May Not Capture Everything In some cases, screenshots may not capture everything you need, such as pop-up windows or video playback.
Can Be Time-Consuming to Sort If you take a lot of screenshots, it can be time-consuming and overwhelming to sort through them all and organize them properly.
Privacy Concerns Be mindful of what you’re taking a screenshot of, as it can potentially contain sensitive or private information that should not be shared.
File Size Can Be Large Screenshots can take up a decent amount of space on your hard drive, especially if they are high-resolution or if you take a lot of them.
Does Not Work for Non-Mac Devices If you need to take a screenshot on a non-Mac device, you will need to use a different tool or method.
Can Be Confusing for New Users If you are not familiar with the Mac interface, taking a screenshot can be confusing or difficult to navigate.
Not Ideal for Screen Recording If you need to record your screen for an extended period of time, taking screenshots may not be the most efficient option.
Some Options Are Hidden Some advanced screenshot options may be hidden or difficult to access for new or inexperienced users.

Overall, taking a screenshot on a Mac has many advantages, including convenience, customization, and the ability to quickly capture information. However, there are also a few disadvantages to keep in mind, such as cluttered desktops, large file sizes, and limited options for screen recording. Understanding these advantages and disadvantages can help you make the most of this useful tool for your needs.


1. How do I take a screenshot on a Mac?

To take a screenshot on a Mac, simply press the Command+Shift+3 key combination. This will capture the entire screen and save it to your desktop as a PNG file.

2. Can I capture a specific portion of my screen?

Yes, you can capture a specific portion of your screen with the Command+Shift+4 key combination. This will allow you to drag and select the portion of the screen you want to capture.

3. How can I capture a specific window?

To capture a specific window, press the Command+Shift+4 key combination and then press the Spacebar. Your cursor will turn into a camera, allowing you to click on the specific window you want to capture.

4. Where are my screenshots saved?

Your screenshots are saved to your desktop as PNG files.

5. Can I change where my screenshots are saved?

Yes, you can change where your screenshots are saved by opening Terminal and entering the command “defaults write location /path/”. Replace “/path/” with the desired location.

6. How can I take a screenshot of the Touch Bar?

To take a screenshot of the Touch Bar, press the Command+Shift+6 key combination. The screenshot will be saved to your desktop.

7. How can I take a screenshot of a menu?

To take a screenshot of a menu, press the Command+Shift+4 key combination and then press the Spacebar. Your cursor will turn into a camera, allowing you to click on the specific menu you want to capture.

8. Can I take a screenshot using a keyboard shortcut?

Yes, you can assign a keyboard shortcut to take a screenshot by going to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Screen Shots.

9. How can I take a screenshot without saving it?

To take a screenshot without saving it, press the Command+Control+Shift+3 key combination. This will copy the screenshot to your clipboard.

10. How can I take a screenshot using Preview?

To take a screenshot using Preview, open Preview and go to File > Take Screen Shot. From there, you can select the type of screenshot you want to take.

11. Can I take a screenshot in a specific file format?

Yes, you can take a screenshot in a specific file format by using the Terminal command “defaults write type [file format]”. Replace [file format] with the desired format (e.g. jpg, tiff, pdf).

12. How can I edit or annotate my screenshots?

You can edit or annotate your screenshots using the Preview app or a third-party app like Skitch or Snagit.

13. Can I take a screenshot on a Mac using Windows?

Yes, you can take a screenshot on a Mac using Windows by using the Boot Camp software or virtualization software like Parallels or VMware Fusion.

How to Make a Screenshot on a Mac

Mac users should know the importance of taking screenshots on their computer. Whether it is for personal use or for work, screenshots are definitely a convenient way to capture anything on your screen. But the question is, how to make a screenshot on a Mac? Is it complicated? Well, the answer is no. In fact, it is very easy and can be done in just a few steps. In this article, we will guide you on how to make a screenshot on a Mac.


Learning how to make a screenshot on a Mac is a simple and useful skill every Mac user should know. With just a few clicks, you can capture anything on your screen easily. Whether it is a webpage, an image, or a document, taking a screenshot is an efficient way to save and share information with others. We hope this article has been helpful in guiding you through the steps on how to make a screenshot on a Mac. Now, you can capture your screen effortlessly and share it with friends, colleagues, or family members.


Thank you for reading our article on how to make a screenshot on a Mac. We hope you found it informative and easy to follow. Remember, taking a screenshot is a simple yet powerful tool that can help you in many ways. Whether it is for a personal project or a work-related task, screenshots are definitely a convenient way to capture anything on your screen. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Until next time, happy screenshotting!