Shortcuts to take a screenshot on Mac computers

If you would like to quickly capture images of your Mac screen or certain sections of it to include in documents, presentations and videos. You will be pleased to know that Apple provides an easy way to take screenshots on your Mac thanks to its useful MacOS app that provides everything you need. The latest operating systems from Apple include a number of easy methods to capture screenshots and record your Mac screen and we will take you through how to screenshot on your Mac in this guide.

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Apple allows you to capture a copy of everything on your screen or just a small section similar to that provided by the Microsoft Windows alternative application which you may have used already called the Snippet Tool.

Mac Screenshot shortcut
1. First let’s cover the Mac shortcuts you can use to take a screenshot. The first is Shift + Command + 3 takes a complete copy of your entire screen and will save the image directly to your desktop by default although this can be changed and will be discussed later in this article. Your captured screenshot will then be saved to the to your Mac desktop by default.

Mac screenshot shortcut full screen
Capture a selection of the screen
2. The second Mac shortcut you can use to take a is Shift + Command + 4 allowing you to select a portion of your desktop to capture and save as an image file which you can then share via social media, email, iMessage or simply save to your photos library for reference.

Mac screenshot shortcut a selection of the screen
This will provide a handy cross hair your can use to draw a box around the screen area your would like to screenshot. Your captured screenshot will then be saved to your Mac desktop by default.

Where are your Mac screenshots saved?
Mac screenshot shortcut optionsStarting with the icons from left to right the first icon allows you to Capture the Entire Screen and mousing over each will provide the title for each. Then second from left icon allows you to Capture a Selected Window complete with window frame, the next icon allows you to Capture Selected Portion. Finally the two middle icons allow you to record video capture of your screen allowing you to record the entire screen or simply just a selection that you designate. Videos are also saved to the same directory or location you specify in the Options section.

mac screenshot options panel
If you would like to change the location of your saved screenshots on your Mac press Command + Shit + 5 buttons together to bring up the screen capture settings panel. Under the Options tab on the right-hand side you will open a new list options list and under ‘Save to‘ you can select from Desktop, Documents, Clipboard, Mail, Messages, Preview or another location more suitable to your needs. A number of other options are available to tweak your screenshot capture depending on your requirements after which the options menu will disappear and your standard desktop will reappear.

How to take screen shots on older Macs running High Sierra or earlier
If you are using a Mac computer loaded with an operating system High Sierra or earlier you will need to use the Terminal application to change the location of your saved screenshot. Start Terminal and enter the following command :

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location
Then simply drag the location from Finder into your terminal window and any screenshots you take from now on on your Mac will be save to that new location. To finish the process enter the command below and hit the Return button.

killall SystemUIServer

If you are unsure which macOS your Apple computer is running, jump over to the official Apple Support website for instructions on how to check.

Change the format of your Mac screenshot
You can also change the format the screenshots are saved in and by default Mac will save these as .png files but you can also save them as .jpg or .tiff formats if preferred. You can even save your Mac screenshots as PDF files rather than image files. Simply enter the commands below, adding your desired extension to the end and replacing the jpg text in the line below with : tiff, pdf or png

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