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Three ways to make a screenshot on a Mac



  Mac Screenshot Tool

Matt Elliott / CNET

If your workflow requires regular screenshots on your Mac, you need to know three key combinations. Two of the three have always been there and MacOS Mojave added a new screenshot tool and keyboard shortcut. Let's review your screen options on a Mac.

Command-Shift-3

Captures a screenshot of your entire screen.

Shift-Command-4

The cursor turns into a crosshair You can drag to select a portion of your screen for capture. Release the mouse button or trackpad to take the picture.

After pressing the Shift-Command-4 shortcut, you have more options:

Press and release the spacebar. : The crosshair becomes a small camera icon that you can move over any open window. Click on the desired window to take a screenshot of it. A screenshot taken with this method shows a white border around the window with a small shadow.

Hold down the SPACEBAR (after you've dragged an area to mark an area, but before you release the mouse button trackpad): This locks the shape and size of the selection area, but lets you do it reposition on the screen. This is very useful if the initial selection range is shifted by a few pixels. Hold down the space bar to reposition it before releasing the mouse button to take a screenshot.

Hold down Shift (after dragging to select an area, but before you release the mouse button or trackpad): This locks on each side of the selection area created with the crosshairs Saves the bottom edge so you can move the mouse up or down to position the bottom edge. Release the Shift key without releasing the mouse button, and then press it again to reposition the right edge of your selection area. You can switch between the lower and the right edge movement by holding down the mouse button or touchpad and pressing the Shift key.

Shift-Command-5

MacOS Mojave has introduced this keyboard shortcut. At the bottom of your screen, a small screen with screen capture options will appear. There are three screenshot buttons that allow you to capture the entire screen, a window, or a selection of your screen. Likewise, you can use the two video capture buttons to record your entire screen or a selection of them. On the left side there is an X key to close the screenshot window. You can also simply press the Escape key to exit.

There is an Options button on the right. Here you can choose where you want to save your screenshot ̵

1; desktop, documents, clipboard, email, messages or preview – and set a delay of 5 or 10 seconds, so you can arrange items that might otherwise disappear if you choose your Enable Screenshot Tool

By default, the Show Sliding Thumbnail option is enabled, which displays a small preview thumbnail of your screenshot in the lower-right corner of the screen. This is similar to the screen method introduced with iOS 11. (and with whom you are very familiar if you own and operate a iPhone X ). Unlike your iPhone ($ 1,000 on Amazon) you can disable this preview thumbnail on your Mac. Finally, you can choose to show the mouse pointer in a screenshot or video.

If the screen panel is in the way, you can drag it with the left edge to a new location on the screen.

Simple Note

Hugging the Floating Thumbnail gives you quick access to markup tools to comment on your screenshot. You can drag the floating thumbnail away or just let it disappear by itself and it will be saved where you last saved a screenshot. Click the floating thumbnail. It will open in a preview window of the markup view (but not in the preview) with all of the markup tools you receive in the preview.

You can right-click the floating thumbnail to:

  • Save the screenshot to your desktop, folders, or clipboard
  • Open in Mail, Messages, Preview, or Photos
  • View in Finder
  • Delete
  • Opening in the markup preview window described above
  • Close (and save the window))
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Screenshot by Matt Elliott / CNET

Many years of Mac screenshots are slow to adopt the new Command-Shift-5 keyboard shortcut, but I am increasingly using them to annotate screenshots without having to open the preview, and I can quickly delete screenshots, which I know I messed up. The 5 and 10 second delay options are also useful and appreciated additions.

Originally published on May 17, 2012.
Update dated April 1, 2019: Adds information about MacOS Mojave.

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