5 Simple Steps for Taking a Screenshot on a Mac


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Macs are some of the most sophisticated and tech-savvy computers on the market today. Yet, one of the most powerful features is also among the simplest.

We’re talking about the ever-popular screenshot function. When you want to save an image of your screen to reference later, this tool makes it easy to capture the information you need.

Not sure how to take a screenshot on a Mac? We’ve got you covered. Once you learn the steps below, the process will be a breeze.

Take a Full Screenshot With Your Keyboard

Sometimes, you need to capture your entire screen. This feature can come in handy when you’re viewing a website with a ton of text, and you don’t have the time to copy and paste all of it. Or, you may want to save the entirety of an important email.

In any case, it helps to know how to take print screen in Mac. When you’re ready to save your screen, start by making sure the information is completely visible. Then, press and hold these three keyboard keys down at the same time:

  • Shift
  • Command
  • 3 (or #)

Once the screenshot has occurred, you can release the keys. You should see a small thumbnail at the bottom of your screen. If you need to edit the shot, then you can click this icon and make your changes there. 

If you don’t have any changes to make, then wait for the thumbnail to disappear. When it does, the file should be saved to your computer desktop.

Take a Partial Screenshot With Your Keyboard

You can also use your keyboard to take partial Mac screenshots. Why would you need this feature? Consider an online image that you want to crop or a document that contains just one passage you need to keep.

You could save an image of the entire screen, but then you’d have to go back into the screenshot and edit it later. By changing the keys you press, you can skip this step and save a little time.

To capture a partial screenshot using your Mac keyboard, press these three keys together:

  • Shift
  • Command
  • 4 (or $)

As soon as all three of these keys are engaged at the same time, you will see a crosshair icon appear on your screen. The crosshairs will have a small grey circle behind them.

Simply drag the crosshairs to the portion of your screen that you want to capture. You can expand or shrink them to fit the appropriate dimensions by holding the space bar as you resize with your mouse.

What happens if you capture the wrong part of your screen in the crosshairs?

In that case, just press the ESC key in the upper lefthand corner. When you’re satisfied with the area you’ve saved, release your finger from the mouse or trackpad. Again, you’ll see an editable thumbnail, followed by a file that will save to your desktop.

Use the Mac Screenshot Toolbar

Want to access all of your Mac screenshot options with one motion? If so, then press and hold these three keys together:

  • Shift
  • Command
  • 5 (or %)

When you do, then the Mac Screenshot Toolbar will appear at the bottom of your screen. With these tools, you can:

  • Record your entire screen
  • Record a select portion of your screen
  • Capture an image of your screen

Screen recording can be helpful if you need to capture fluid motion, such as a video, that’s running on your Mac. When you click the black camera icon, your pointer will change to a camera. You can start and stop the recording using the menu controls. 

Add Visual Aids

Are you planning to use your screenshots to inform an audience? For instance, you can easily add them into presentations to break up text-filled slides. Especially in professional settings, screen captures can help explain complex information in a way that’s simple and easy to understand.

Do you want to direct your audience’s attention to a specific part of your screenshot? If so, then consider adding text boxes, arrows, and other visual elements to the capture.

Most Macs will allow you to perform this function within the editable thumbnail. If this isn’t available, then there are many online tools that will do the job for you. 

Use Image Editing Tools Where Appropriate

If you need to make a partial screenshot bigger, then avoid simply dragging and expanding it.

Doing so will enlargen the area, but it can also make your final product super pixelated. If you plan to use the capture for a presentation or as an email attachment, you want to make sure it looks as polished as possible. In this case, it’s best to use an online image editor that can help you maintain a fixed width-to-height ratio. 

There may come a time when you want to share a screenshot with someone, but the capture contains sensitive information, such as financial information or contact details. Most screen capture software solutions will include blurring tools that allow you to make this data more obscure.

With this function, you can share screenshots with confidence and not worry that your confidential information is inadvertently exposed.

Screenshot on a Mac

Take a Screenshot on a Mac Today

Mac owners already know that their machines are some of the smartest and most feature-rich on the market. Now that you know how to take a screenshot on a Mac, you can expand the functionality of your favourite device.

These steps can come in handy for both personal and professional use, so bookmark this guide and reference it the next time you need to remember those easy shortcuts!

In the meantime, we have plenty of other informative guides for your reference. Check for more helpful tips on everything business-related. 

Raushan Kumar
A Cook, Software analyst & Blogger.


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