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How To Take Screenshots On Mac

It is quite easy for the Windows users to hit the Print Screen key to capture a screenshot while the case is not same for the Macintosh users. If you want to take screenshots on Mac then there are multiple options for you to take it.


Whether you want to capture the entire window, a specific portion, or just a small area – Mac has subsequent commands for you.


If you’re new to Mac then these must be helping you as you are going to need this on an almost frequent basis.


If you are using Mojave then you have another option to take the screenshots on your MacBook than the High Sierra users.


So, let’s start from the common ground:


1. Screenshot the Entire Screen

If you think that the entire screen is full of information that you can’t skip, then it’s important for you to take a screenshot of the entire screen.


In other Versions
  • Press Command – Shift – 3 simultaneously to capture the entire screen.
  • The screenshot will be saved on your desktop.
In Mojave
  • Press Shift – Command – 5 to see the controls of Onscreen Capture.
  • Click Capture Entire Screen from these controls which changes the pointer into a camera.
  • You can either click on the screen to capture the display or use the onscreen control option Capture to take a screenshot of the screen.

screenshots on Mac

Note: If you’re using Mojave then the preview of your screenshot on mac will be appearing at the corner of your screen. It gives you quick access to the editing tools


2. Screenshot the Window

If you want to capture the only window then there are different methods on different versions to take screenshots on mac.


In other Versions
  • Press Shift – Command – 4 and then Space Bar which changes the pointer to a camera.
  • Click on a window whom you want to take the screenshot of.
In Mojave
  • Press Shift – Command – 5 to enable the onscreen capture controls and then click on the Capture Selected Window option from these controls.
  • Here your pointer will change to a camera.
  • Click on the window you want to capture.
  • A screenshot thumbnail will appear in the corner of the screen where you can edit it or take other actions.
  • A few moments later, the screenshot will appear on your desktop if not edited through thumbnail option.

Note: Press and hold the Option key while you’re clicking the capture command to eliminate the window’s shadow as you take a screenshot on Mac.

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3. Screenshot a Selected Portion

You can also take a screenshot of a selected portion of your Mac screen if you don’t want any other part to be included in the image.


In Other Versions
  • First, press the Shift – Command – 4.
  • Now drag on the screen to select the area to capture.
  • If you want to move the selected area then press and hold the Space Bar while dragging.
  • After you release these buttons, your screenshot will be saved on desktop.
In Mojave
  • Press Shift – Command – 5 to enable the onscreen capture controls and then click on the Capture Selected Portion from the controls.
  • Drag on-screen to select the required area to capture. Drag within the selection to more it.
  • Now click Capture from the onscreen controls.
  • A thumbnail containing the screenshot will appear on your screen in a corner which you can use to edit your screenshot on Mac.
  • If you don’t use the thumbnail option then your screenshot will appear on your desktop after a while.

4. Screenshot a Menu

There are a variety of options to take screenshots on mac as per your requirement. You can take a screenshot of the menu through these two methods:


In Other Versions
  • Click the menu that opens its contents.
  • Now, press Shift – Command – 4.
  • Drag on the screen to capture select the area to capture then release the trackpad or mouse to capture it.
  • Or, you can use Space Bar which changes the pointer to the camera to be later used from the menu to capture the screenshot.
  • The screenshot will be saved on your desktop.
In Mojave

screenshots on Mac

5. Screenshot the Touch Bar

For the users of macOS Sierra 10.12.2 or later and those who use a Touch Bar can take the screenshot of the Touch Bar by the following method:


  • Press Shift – Command – 6 to capture the on-time display on the Touch Bar.
  • The screenshot will be saved on your desktop.

Note: If you need to include a screenshot button to your Touch Bar then use the customized settings to add Control Strip Region.

touch bars

6. Usage of Screenshot Thumbnail

You have been reading throughout the article about the thumbnail of screenshots on mac desktop which allows users to follow these functions:


  1. Appearance: Screenshot thumbnail will readily appear in the lower-right corner as soon as you capture.
  2. Swipe-up or take no action of thumbnail: The thumbnail disappears and screenshot automatically saves on your desktop or a chosen location.
  3. Enable more options: Control-click the thumbnail and it opens more actions like deleting the screenshot before saving it, change the default save location, open screenshot in the app, and more.
  4. Drag the thumbnail: In order to move the screenshot to another location, drag the thumbnail over that folder like to a Document, a Finder Window, an Email, or in the Trash.
  5. Edit the screenshot: Click the thumbnail which opens the screenshot and then use the markup tools from the toolbar to edit the screenshot. You can annotate, crop, or do any other action. You can also use the share button to share the screenshot.
  6. Disable Thumbnail: If you don’t want to see thumbnails each time you take a screenshot then toggle off the Slow Floating Thumbnail settings in the onscreen control options.

Note: Hover the pointer over editing buttons on the thumbnail to see their functionality.

thumbnail icon

Fast Facts

1. All the screenshots on mac are by default saved in the PNG file format on desktop as “Screen Shot date at time.png”.


2. Stacks is another feature which makes the group of similar files on desktop with just a click. Right-click on your desktop and Stacks will group them all together quickly.


3. If you don’t want to capture the screenshot, press Escape key to cancel it before clicking the capture button.


4. Press and hold the Control key to store the screenshot in the Clipboard instead of saving it on desktop.


5. Use Universal Clipboard to paste the screenshot to another Apple device.


6. To Use Preview, Safari, or similar apps to Edit the screenshots.


7. When you preview the screenshot, it changes its Format to a different one like JPEG, TIFF, or PDF.


8. There is Grab app which provides options to take screenshots on macOS having different versions whereas Screenshot app provides the screenshot controls in Mojave in the utility folder which is housed in the Application folder.


9. You cannot take screenshots in the DVD player or in some other apps.

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