Different ways to take a screenshot in Mac OS X

By | June 3, 2014

If you are new to Macs or simply never needed to take a screenshot, don’t worry – it’s quite easy. There’s actually a couple of ways you can take a screenshot in Mac OS X (now simply called OS X), and certain methods might work better on a particular occasion.

Taking a full screen screenshot

You can take a screenshot of the whole screen simply by pressing Command + Shift + 3 at the same time. The screenshot is saved directly on your desktop, and the file name will look similar to this “Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 12.42.52 AM.”

Taking a screenshot of a certain area

1-mac-screenshot-areaBy pressing Command + Shift + 4 together, you will be able to use your mouse to highlight the area that will be captured. Once you let go of the mouse, you will hear a shutter noise, and the screenshot will be taken. In case you are not satisfied with your selection, simply press escape, and your Mac will not take the image. Just like before, your screenshot will be saved on the desktop.

Taking a screenshot of a window

If you press Command + Shift + 4 and then hit Spacebar, your cursor will turn into a small camera. Now you can easily move it over the window that you want to capture. Hovering over a window will highlight it, letting you know which window is in the focus. When you’re ready simply left click with your mouse, and the captured image will be waiting on your desktop.

You might have noticed that in every case the screenshot will be saved on the desktop. In case you want to skip this process and instead save it to clipboard, all you have to do is add Ctrl in front of previously mentioned buttons. For example, if you want to save a full screen screenshot to the clipboard press Ctrl + Command + Shift + 3. You can easily paste the image by pressing Command + V.


Taking screenshots using Grab App

Another great and easy way of capturing a screenshot with your Mac is by using the built-in Grab App. To access it, go to Applications -> Utilities -> click on Grab. This will open the Grab app, and you will be able to see the menus at the top of your screen. Clicking on Capture menu item will let you choose between different screenshot options. Three of them work pretty much the same way the aforementioned methods work – you can capture the whole screen, part of the screen, or a window. However, there is another option that is particularly interesting, and it enables you to take a timed screenshot.

This option can help you out in certain cases. For example, if the usual keyboard shortcut (Command + Shift + 3) performs a certain action in the application you are trying to capture, screen capture might not work properly. This is where Grab and timed screenshots come in. Once you select Timed Screen from the Capture menu, click on the “Start Timer” button. This will start the countdown, and you will have 10 seconds to stage your screenshot.

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