How to Take a Screenshot on Mac (The Top 5 Screen Captures)

We've all googled how do you take a screenshot on Mac at one point or another. These days, I take screenshots on my Mac nearly everyday in order to capture either the whole, or part of my Mac’s screen for how-tos and tips. Luckily, once you learn the keyboard shortcuts for taking a screenshot on Mac, you’ll quickly memorize the ones you use most. It becomes second nature. There are two ways to screen capture on Mac that are the most regularly needed and we’ll include a few more to cover the spectrum and give you the top five way to take a screenshot on mac. Whether you need a screenshot of the entire screen or just a portion, we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to take a screenshot on Mac—the top 5 screen captures.

Related: How to Start an Email on Your iPhone and Finish It on Your Mac or iPad

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Table of Contents

How to Take a Screenshot of Your Full Screen

How to Take a Screenshot of a Select Part of Your Screen

How to Take a Screenshot of an Open Window on Mac

How to Save Your Screen Capture to the Clipboard

How to Capture Your Screen with the Mac Grab Utility (No Keyboard)

Our top five ways to take a screenshot on Mac cover every option you could need. The first four use keyboard shortcuts. After using them a few times, they’re easy to memorize and are definitely the quickest way to take a screenshot on Mac. Our last option for screen capture will use the Grab application you can find within your Utilities on Mac. Below we’ll cover how to take a screenshot of your full screen, a selected part of the screen, or a screenshot of only the open window. We’ll also feature a short variant that allows you save the screenshot to your clipboard for easy copy and paste. Screenshots automatically save to your desktop on Mac, which means you’ll want to move them to trash when you’re done using them. Otherwise those screenshots will begin to take over the screen.

How to Take a Screenshot of Your Full Screen

The graphic below shows the three keys you need to hold down simultaneously in order to take the screenshot of your entire screen. To do this,

  • select Command + Shift + 3.

Doing so will capture your entire screen and save it to your desktop.

How to Take a Screenshot of a Select Part of Your Screen

To select part of your screen for capture,

  • Simultaneously hold down the keys, Command + Shift + 4.

  • A cross will appear to help you easily select the portion of the screen you want to capture.

  • Place the cursor at the corner of the area you want to screenshot and drag to select the area.

  • When you let go, it will capture the selected part of your screen.

  • The screenshot will automatically save to the desktop of your Mac.

How to Take a Screenshot of an Open Window on Mac

This option allows you to screenshot  the window you have open. For instance, say you have a window open that doesn’t take up the entire screen—you don’t want to screen capture the open tabs behind it, just the singular open window. To do this,

  • Open the window you want to capture.

  • Simultaneously press the keys, Command + Shift + 4 + Space bar.

  • A camera icon will appear as your cursor. Hover the cursor over the window you want to take a screenshot of. It will appear highlighted. Click when the cursor is highlighting the correct window.

  • The screenshot will automatically save to your desktop on Mac.

How to Save Your Screen Capture to the Clipboard

This is the only method on our list that doesn’t save the screenshot you take. Instead, this keyboard shortcut allows you to copy the screenshot to your clipboard. You can then paste it where you’d like. The benefit of this is that you won’t have screenshots piling up on your desktop, but if you need that screenshot later on, you’ll have to retake it.

To capture your full screen and save it to your clipboard,

  • Simultaneously press, Command + Control + Shift + 3.

To capture part of your screen and save it to clipboard,

  • Simultaneously press, Command + Control + Shift + 4.

  • Drag the cursor to capture the portion of the screen you want to save to your clipboard.

To paste the screenshot,

  • Press Control + V

You can paste the screenshot into any compatible application such as a Word document, email, or picture editing software.

How to Capture Your Screen with the Mac Grab Utility (No Keyboard)

Alternatively, instead of using keyboard shortcuts, you can use the Grab application within Utilities on Mac. To do this,

  • Open your Applications folder. Select Utilities.

  • Tap Grab.

  • No window will open but the very top of the screen menu will show Grab with the options: Grab, File, Edit, Capture, Window, Help.

  • Tap Capture.

  • You have four options: Selection, Window, Screen, Timed Capture.

  • To choose a part of your screen to capture, click Selection.

  • To screenshot an open window, click Window.

  • To screenshot the entire screen, click Screen.

  • You can also choose Timed Capture. When you click this, it will let you know that a screenshot will be taken in 10 seconds after you start the timer. Click Start Timer.

 

Top Image Credit: Katsiaryna Pakhomava / Shutterstock

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Conner Carey holds a bachelor's in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and resides in Fairfield, Iowa. When she's not writing, you can find her singing jazz or watching anime. Her personal blog can be found at connerleecarey.com; you can also follow her on twitter @connerleecarey.