How to take a screenshot on Mac OS with keyboard shortcuts

In case you recently switched from Windows to macOS, you may find it confusing to take screenshots on your Mac. Definitely, no Print Screen on your keyboard too. But there are some shortcuts that you can use instead. With the right keyboard shortcut, you can take a screenshot of a window, the entire screen, or a specific part of it.

If you’ve upgraded to macOS Mojave or later, you can use the Screenshot app to capture different parts of your screen or even record a video of it. You can find it in the Utilities section of the Applications folder. For earlier versions of macOS, you can use the built-in Grab utility.

However, for all versions of macOS using the macOS keyboard command is still the easiest and fastest way to take a screenshot.

How to take a screenshot of your Mac

  • To capture the entire screen, press and hold Command + Shift + 3 keystrokes. Then you can find the screenshot on your screen. To cancel taking a screenshot, press EXIT (Exit) before clicking to capture.
  • In macOS Mojave and later, you’ll see a thumbnail of the screenshot appear in the corner of the screen. You can click on it to edit, move it or just wait until it disappears.
Mac computer screen

Take a screenshot of a window

  • If you just want a screenshot of an active window, click Command + Shift + 4 key. You should see your cursor change to a crosshair.
Screenshot of a window
  • Now press Spacebar. When the pointer becomes the camera icon, hover over the window you’re trying to capture. After you see that window highlighted, click on it to take a screenshot.
Screenshot of a window

Take a screenshot of a specific area

  • To capture part of your screen, tap Command + Shift + 4 key. You will then see the pointer become a cross.
  • Select the area you want to capture and click on it to take a screenshot.
Articles about Switching2Mac on the screen
  • If you upgraded to macOS Mojave or later, use a different keyboard shortcut. Click Command + Shift + 5 key. Then select the part of the screen you want to capture.
  • After taking a screenshot, you can choose where to save the image from the menu.

Take a screenshot of the menu

If you need to take a screenshot of a particular Mac menu, you can also use a keyboard shortcut for that menu.

Menu selected for screenshots
  • First, click on the menu. Press the same key combination as above – Command + Shift + 4. Then drag to select a specific area of ​​the menu that you want to capture.
Menu screenshot
  • For a full menu screenshot, press Command + Shift + 4 And after that Spacebar. When the pointer changes to the camera sign, hover over the menu and click on it to see the screenshot.

What to do if the shortcut doesn’t work

If you can’t take screenshots with these shortcuts, it’s probably because they’re disabled on your computer. To fix that, follow these steps:

  • Open the Apple menu in the top left corner of the screen.
  • Choose System Preferences > Keyboard.
  • Click Shortcuts. Then choose Screenshots from the menu on the left.
  • To enable keyboard shortcuts, check all the boxes.
Screenshots tab in Shortcuts

You can customize your shortcuts by changing the key combinations in the menu.

If the shortcuts still don’t work, or if your screenshots are blank, it could be due to a copyright issue with a third-party app on the desktop.

You can fix that by using one of the special apps for taking screenshots on Mac.

Where to find your screenshots

When you take a screenshot, it is automatically saved on your desktop. Your Mac will time stamp with the date and time it was taken and save it as a PNG file. For example, <Ảnh chụp màn hình 2019-12-22 lúc 8.17.56 chiều>.

Screenshot on Desktop

It’s useful for reference, but if you’re taking a lot of screenshots, it can cause some serious screen errors. If your computer is running macOS Catalina, you can work around that by using Stack feature.

Right click on your desktop and select Using stacks from the menu. It will automatically group similar screenshots. In older versions of macOS, you’ll have to use a third-party app or declarator manually by dragging the screenshot to the trash.

Keep your screenshots in the clipboard

By default, all your screenshots are saved to your desktop. Alternatively, you can copy them to the clipboard for future use.

To do that, keep Control while using the screenshot shortcut. That will create a copy of your screenshot that you can share, text, or paste into any document. Using the Universal Clipboard, you can move it to another Apple device.

If you need to edit your screenshot, open it with any image editing app like Preview. Using Preview, you can also change the format of your screenshot by exporting it as JPEG, PDF or TIFF.

Become a proficient MacOS user

Some people think that knowing and using keyboard shortcuts is only for advanced users and normal users don’t need them. That is simply not true. Most of the shortcuts on macOS are easy to remember and extremely useful in your daily computing experience.

Start by learning the simple combinations from this article and you will see how quickly you yourself will become a proficient user. Or take it a step further and learn more tips and tricks for taking screenshots like a pro.

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