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How to Take a Screenshot on Mac

Taking a screenshot is not as straightforward on Mac computers as it is on a standard PC or laptop, however, it’s very possible. You might be searching for the Print Screen (PrtScr) button on the keyboard with no luck, which led you to search on the internet and find this article.

take screenshots on mac

We’re here to help. Below is all the information you need to be able to take screenshots on a Mac computer, no matter what version of macOS you’re using. Learn how to take full-screen screenshots, selected region screenshots, or take a screenshot of one window on a Mac operating system with ease.

Use the pre-Mojave screenshot commands

If you prefer to use an older version of the macOS system, you’re most likely using one that was released before Mojave. The screenshot shortcuts for these versions of the system are the same as later versions, which means you need to familiarize yourself with the same set of keys as you would on Mojave and later.

Keyboard Shortcuts for taking screenshots on Mac Summary

Using hotkeys significantly increases the speed of your work. To take a screenshot on Mac, use the following commands.

  • To take a screenshot of entire Desktop screen use: Shift +⌘ + 3
    Take screenshot on Mac
  • To take a screenshot of certain Windows on Desktop use: Shift +⌘ + 4 + Space.
    screenshot a certain windows
  • To take a screenshot of a selected area: Shift +⌘ + 4
    screenshot a selected area on mac

If you want to copy the screenshot to a clipboard for further actions, like insertion to a text editor, use the following commands.

  • Save a screenshot to a clipboard: Shift +⌘ +Control
  • Save a screenshot to a selected area: Shift +⌘ +4 + Control.
  • Save a screenshot of a Windows to a clipboard: Shift +⌘+4+Space+Control

Once done, press Command + V to paste the picture. Equally, you can do this by navigating to the Menu- Edit-Paste.


The + Shift + 3 keyboard shortcut is used to capture a screenshot of your entire screen. If you’re using multiple screens at once, the shortcut takes a screenshot of each separate screen simultaneously.

How to take screenshots on mac

To capture only a selected area of your screen, use the + Shift + 4 keyboard shortcut. It prompts you to select an area with your mouse and takes a screenshot as soon as you let go of the mouse. This isn’t as quick as taking a screenshot of the entire screen, but it can be useful if you’re looking to only capture a specific region.

Did you know that you can also screenshot an application window? By pressing + Shift + 4 and then the Space key, you can hover over an application window and click on it to take a screenshot. This technique includes the signature application shadow on macOS as well, complete with transparency.


All of the screenshots you take go automatically to your desktop labeled as “Screenshot 2020-04-21 at 0.02.03.png” for example. Each screenshot has the time and date in the label to make organization and recognition easier, however, you can easily rename them by right-clicking and choosing the Rename option from the context menu.

How to use Grab to take a Screenshot on Mac

If you don't want to remember the keyboard shortcuts, you can still use the in-built macOS app, the Grab to take screenshots.

You can launch the Grab via Spotlight or Launchpad. Note, this is applicable for macOS High Sierra. The tool has different options that you can take advantage of, as shown below.

 how to use grab to take screenshots

To take a screenshot using Grab app, use the following shortcuts:

  • Take a screenshot of an entire desktop use:⌘ + Z
  • For time screenshot use: Shift +⌘ + Z
  • Take a screenshot of any open Windows: Shift +⌘ + W
  • Take a screenshot of a selected area: Shift +⌘ + A

How to take a screenshot on macOS Mojave 10.14 and above

If you're using macOS Catalina or Mojave, you can use the Screenshot utility app, an equivalent to Grab. Suing the utility app, you can take pictures as well as record your screen workflow.

You can locate the app in the Utility folder or search for it via Launchpad or Spotlight.

Now that you've located the app follow the steps below to take a shot on your screen using the Screenshot app.

  1. Launch the Screenshot app.
  2. Next, you will see a small toolbar, as shown below.
    select option
  3. To take a screenshot, select one of the options
    -Choose Capture Entire Screen choose entire screen → click Capture or make a control-click.
    -Choose Capture Selected Window selected windows→ to move the pointer, which looks like a camera to choose the particular window you want to screenshot → click Capture> or make a control-click. You can also take a full-page screenshot of your web browser.
    -Choose Capture Selected Portion select options → you will see a selected area → control-click to catch and move this area; drag its edges to narrow or widen it → click Capture.


Other than these actions, the Screen Capture Menu comes with various settings related to taking screenshots of your screen. These are accessible by pressing the Options button, which will bring up a context menu. You can set a timer, choose whether the mouse cursor is shown on the screenshot/recording, and even modify where the file gets saved.

How to edit a screenshot taken on Mac

You might have noticed that every time you take a screenshot, a little thumbnail preview shows up in the bottom-right corner of your screen. If you wish to quickly edit a screenshot, click on this preview to open up the editor.

how to edit screenshots on mac

Here, you can make various edits to the capture such as crop it, add text, add shapes, and much more. Everything is customizable, so don’t be afraid to change up the default colors or pick a new font. When editing is complete, click the Done button in the upper corner of the window to save. Do note that this will overwrite the original screenshot.

Third-party applications to take screenshots on Mac

While the built-in options to take screenshots on Mac are quite extensive, many people are looking for further ways to screenshot. If you want extended functionality, make sure to check out the applications listed below and consider downloading them to make your screenshots appear just the way you want them to.

1. CleanShot


CleanShot is an application all about manipulating your screenshots after taking them. It allows you to easily blur out parts of a screenshot to hide confidential or distracting information, provides quick shortcuts for sharing your screenshots, and much more. Messy desktop? No issue, simply check the “Hide Desktop Icons” option. Want to quickly annotate something on the screen? The built-in editor has got your back.

The application is free to download on this website. No hidden fees or additional costs, just clean and pleasing screenshots.

2. Lightshot


Lightshot is a popular application on Windows, however, it also has a macOS version free to use for all Apple fans. It’s lightweight and easy to use, providing you with options to screenshot sections or the entire screen. After making your selection, you can easily draw or put shapes on your screenshot. Saving and sharing is made easy via many options, such as uploading online, copying to clipboard, or even print.

You can download Lightshot for free on this website. If you’re interested in the Windows equivalent, you can find it on the same page.

3. Skitch


For those looking to take editing and annotating screenshots to the next level, Skitch is the way to go. The software offers a plethora of options, tools, and shapes to work with when marking up screenshots. This makes it easy to highlight areas, place arrows, type text, and even blur out parts of a screen capture.

Skitch is completely free of charge and available to download here. You can also find it in the App Store by simply searching for the application and hitting the Get button.

Now that you have learned how to take screenshots on Mac using different methods, do you know where they're saved?

Change Screenshot location on Mac

By default, your screenshots are saved to the desktop. This, in itself, may make your desktop look untidy. To save your shots to another location.

  1. Launch the Screenshot app.
  2. Next click Options.
  3. From the Save To Suggested Locations, select your preferred location.
  4. Now that you've got a new location, your shots will automatically be saved here.

How to delete screenshots on Mac

Screenshots, just like other files, might consume space. Although each file isn't large, when they accumulate, they can take a lot of space on your disk. Therefore, we recommend you regularly get rid of the one you're not using.

If you're not sure where you've saved your shots, we recommend the use of the Cleaner-App tool. Follow the steps below to get rid of the unwanted shots.

  1. Launch the cleaner-app
  2. Next, select the screenshot section and sort the sizes according to your liking; either by date, file size, or name. Choose the unwanted files, then click Review and Remove button.
  3. Skim through the files you want to delete. Once done, click Remove.
  4. Lastly, empty the trash bin to free up space.

We hope this article was able to help you learn all about taking screenshots on the macOS system. If you need further assistance regarding technical questions, don’t be afraid to reach out to our support team. We’re always ready to help you out!

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