Quick Tips: Taking Screenshots on a Mac

I take a lot of screenshots on my Mac – for all sorts of reasons. Often it’s screenshots of web pages that I am going to draw over or modify for mockups. Sometimes it’s screen shots of bugs that need fixing so I can send off bug reports, and occasionally it’s screenshots for tutorials/ blog posts. I used to use a stand alone application for taking screenshots but now I do everything using OSX built in functionality.

Below are a few hints and tips to help you when taking screenshots on your Mac.

‘Screenshotting’ basics

The commands below are what I use most often.

  1. Command + Shift + 3: Save a screenshot to your desktop as a png file.
  2. Command + Control + Shift + 3: Copy the desktop to your clipboard to be pasted into another application (such as Photoshop).
  3. Command + Shift + 4: Save a section of the screen to your desktop. Press these keys and a cross-hair will appear that you can then click and drag to define the region to store.
  4. Command + Control + Shift + 4: Copy a section of the screen to your clipboard. Press these keys and a cross-hair will appear that you can then click and drag to define the region to store.

Bonus Advanced Screenshots Tip

Yesterday I wanted to screenshot just one application window and not the entire screen – I thought I needed a separate app for this but after some Googling found there was actually a way to do it quite easily.

  • Command + Shift + 4 + Space: Take a screenshot of the currently active Window.

Grab – Mac Screenshot Application

It’s not made very obvious but there’s actually an app called ‘Grab’ on the Mac that allows you to do all of this through a rudimentary menu based interface. You can access it most easily by searching for ‘Grab’ with Spotlight. I use Command + Space to access Spotlight then type GRAB.

The most significant additions in Grab include displaying a cursor in the screenshots (and being able to select what the cursor looks like), and the ability to do timed screenshots.

Was it good/ useful/ a load of old rubbish? Let me know on Mastodon, or BlueSky (or Twitter X if you must).

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