How to Screenshot on Mac: Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re new to the macOS environment or simply haven’t had the need to take a screenshot before, you might be wondering how to do so. Screenshots are useful for capturing moments, saving important information, or sharing what’s on your screen with others. Fortunately, taking a screenshot on a Mac is a straightforward process and can be accomplished in several ways. This guide will walk you through the various methods available for capturing screenshots on macOS.

Using Keyboard Shortcuts:

Mac computers have built-in keyboard shortcuts that allow you to capture specific areas of your screen, whether it’s the entire screen or a portion of it. Here are the common shortcuts:

  • Command (⌘) + Shift + 3: Captures the entire screen.
  • Command (⌘) + Shift + 4: Allows you to select a specific portion of the screen to capture. After pressing these keys, your cursor will turn into a crosshair. Click and drag to select the area you want to capture.
  • Command (⌘) + Shift + 4, then Spacebar: Captures a specific window. After pressing the keys, the cursor will turn into a camera icon. Click on the window you want to capture, and it will be saved as an image file.

After using any of these shortcuts, you’ll hear a camera shutter sound (if your Mac’s volume is on) and see a thumbnail of the screenshot in the bottom-right corner of your screen. You can click on this thumbnail to edit or annotate the screenshot before saving it.

Using the Screenshot App:

macOS also has a built-in app called “Screenshot” (previously known as “Grab”) that offers more options and flexibility. To use it:

  • Open the “Screenshot” app from the “Applications” folder or by searching for it using Spotlight (press Command (⌘) + Spacebar and type “Screenshot”).
  • Once the app is open, you can choose from four capture options: Selection, Window, Screen, and Timed Screen.
  • After selecting your preferred option, follow the on-screen instructions to capture the desired content.

Using the Touch Bar (on MacBook Pro models):

If you have a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, you can use it to take a screenshot. Here’s how:

  • Press and hold the “Command (⌘)” key.
  • Tap the “Shift” key on the Touch Bar.
  • You’ll see a thumbnail of the screenshot appear in the bottom-right corner of the screen, just like with the keyboard shortcuts. Click on the thumbnail to edit or save the screenshot.

Using Third-Party Apps:

If you need more advanced features, there are several third-party screenshot apps available on the Mac App Store. Some popular options include Skitch, Snagit, and Lightshot. These apps offer additional annotation tools, cloud syncing, and other features that may be useful depending on your needs.

Screenshots Folder:

By default, macOS saves screenshots to the desktop. However, you can change this location by using the Terminal app to set a new default location. Open Terminal (you can find it using Spotlight), and type the following command:

defaults write location /path/to/folder

Replace “/path/to/folder” with the actual path to the folder where you want to save screenshots. After entering the command, press “Enter.” Then, type:

killall SystemUIServer

Press “Enter” again, and the changes will take effect. All future screenshots will be saved to the new folder.

Editing Screenshots:

Once you’ve taken a screenshot, you might want to edit or annotate it before saving or sharing it. You can do this using the built-in Preview app. Simply open the screenshot in Preview, and you can use the Markup toolbar to add text, shapes, and other annotations. You can also crop the image or adjust colors if needed.

Additional Tips:

  • If you’re taking a lot of screenshots and don’t want them cluttering up your desktop, you can hold down the “Control” key while taking a screenshot to copy it to the clipboard instead of saving it as a file. You can then paste the screenshot into an image editor or document.
  • To take a screenshot of a specific menu or the menu bar, press and hold the “Command (⌘)” key, then press “Shift” + “4” + “5” and release all keys. Your cursor will turn into a camera icon. Click on the menu or menu bar to capture it.
  • If you’re using a MacBook with a Touch Bar and want to customize the screenshot options that appear there, go to “System Preferences” > “Keyboard” > “Customize Control Strip” and drag the “Screenshot” icon to the Touch Bar.

In conclusion, capturing screenshots on a Mac is a simple process that can be done using various methods, from keyboard shortcuts to third-party apps. Once you’ve taken a screenshot, you can edit it using the built-in Preview app and save or share it as needed. Whether you’re a casual user or a power user, knowing how to take screenshots on your Mac can be a valuable skill.

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