A person using MacBook

How to screenshot on Mac: 6 different ways to screen capture.

12 minutes, 45 seconds Read
A person using MacBook

How to screenshot on Mac: 6 different ways to screen capture.

Do you know how to screenshot on Mac? Im sure you know that one way of doing it. But if you actually did your research on search engines such as Google and Bing you will notice there are several ways to take a screenshot on Macbook. Some of which are explained in detail in this blog.

 If you ever wondered about the hidden screenshot menu on your Mac, we are here to give you all the insights. Even if you’re a newbie user of Mac, these instructions should be too hard to follow. You will be a master at the command key and apple menu in no time. If you would like you can get a screen recording to not miss out on the instructions.

So here is the deal, most Windows users have the print screen button on their keyboards. However, the Apple keyboard doesn’t have it. The print screen button is a way of convenience for Windows users but if you have just switched to Mac, you can use other Mac keyboard shortcuts. If you have purchased a higher operating system, such as Mojave or more, you can utilize the screenshot app that has more features than Windows such as screen recording.

The screenshots on Mac can be taken in five ways. We will cover all of them step by step for a better understanding since we would call ourselves experts in the area. Our pro users of Mac have tried and tested each of the screenshots and have a lot to explain. To get a brief view of what you can expect in this informative blog, these are the content of the blog.

Apple Macbook Pro

How to take screenshots on a mac computer?

There are several ways you can take a screenshot on a mac computer, the screen capture options are shown below. Follow these methods for screen recordings or screenshots of the entire screen.

Options 1:

One of the mac screenshot shortcuts to take a screenshot of the entire screen is to press and hold “Command key = Control key and shift command and 3“. By pressing this the screenshot menu will capture the entire screen. Instead of pressing the print screen button on Windows. You can follow these steps to fully utilize the keyboard shortcut for screenshot on your mac.

Marked buttons on a keyboard, showing screenshot buttons

After using the screenshot tool, you should use the shift key to get a keyboard shortcut for the screenshot. You can pick where to save the file on your desktop folder. The entire screen will be saved in the default save location every time you take a screenshot.

The entire screen will be captured and saved in your Macbook pro

Command = Shift + 3 – Capture a screenshot and save it as a file

Command = Shift + 3 – Capture a screenshot and save it as a file

Option 2:

The second option you can use is to take the mouse pointer to the selected place for screen shot, then press and hold the capture button = control key and shift key and 4.

What happens when you press this keyboard shortcut

In this method, a camera icon opens and a certain partial screenshot will be taken of your desktop, in-use application, or your window. This is a more elegant and intelligent method of taking screenshots of just a portion of the page or window. The screenshot toolbar allows you to take this advanced screenshot so that you don’t have to capture and edit.

To memorize this method, give it a try for few times and you will get used to it. Just make sure to preview the window before pressing the command key.

Now if you want to save the captured image, you need to press the shift command with 4 and save it to the clipboard or images for your use.

Take the screenshot of the preferred area by pressing the marked buttons

Command = Control + Shift + 4 + point with the mouse. Capture your preferred area of the screen and save it where you want.

Saving the high-quality screenshots

When you press the command = + Control and Shift and 4 all at the same time, you will note that the mouse button/cursor changes to a crosshair and the pixel coordinates on the right-hand corner of your screen. Now that you can see the box, all you have to do is drag it to the section you want to capture and release the mouse button when you are happy with the results. The image or high-quality screenshots will be saved on your Macbook Pro. Not the whole screen but just the area that needs to be covered.

Take high-quality screenshot

Command ⌘ + Shift + 4 + Drag with the mouse. Capture the selected area of the screen and save it as a file on your desktop.

Options 3

This option captures the screenshot without showing the background.

If you want to stay discreet and don’t want to disclose what you have going on in the background or taskbar, you can use this option. This type of screen capture is usually used for video screening.

Detailed options menu available

All you have to do is press and hold the shift command with 4 and then press the spacebar. The mouse cursor will automatically become a camera icon. A camera that hovers over the application, desktop, or window you wish to capture. This way macbook pro owners can easily use this option key to highlight the selected area in blue. However, the screenshot app will include the window’s drop shadow as well don’t worry you can exclude it when you press and hold ⌥ when you click the window or menu bar. Now to cancel the screencap you should press down on esc key.

Of all the screenshot options this one is the most advanced and detailed. It will help you print screens for any application window, browser, notes, pages, etc.

Print anything by pressing these buttons

Command key =+ Control + Shift command + 4 + Space bar + Mouse Click. Print screen any preview window and save it on your computer.

Steps to saving the screenshot

  • Press down on command keys = control and shift command and 4.
  • Your mouse cursor will transform into a crosshair or “+”. Grab and drag this crosshair to the select area of your screen, application, or window.
  • Now you can release the mouse button or trackpad to shape and size the selected area. Or if you are not happy with the captured image you can always press esc key. The mac screenshots can be modified the way you want.

Other options menu you can unlock

That’s not all you can do with this method. With this method, you can unlock other options. You can capture any window with the shift command and 4, then you can press the spacebar.

The grey border screenshot

As mentioned before the crosshair will transform into a camera icon. You can use your mouse cursor to hover over the area you want to modify in the screenshot. When you press the mouse over the area the screenshot will be saved with a grey border around it.

The locked box screenshot

Another option key is to lock in the shape and size after dragging the cross to make a highlighted area. When you press the spacebar, the box is locked and it can’t be changed in size. Now you can drag the specific box anywhere across the screen, and when the spacebar is released you can take your screenshot. Save the screenshot as a png file according to system preferences.

The adjusted height and width screenshot

Press the control and shift command and then the space. Drag the mouse to the specific area and click. As mentioned above the crosshair will create a highlighted area, now all you have to do is press and hold the shift key.

The options menu opens up on the right side of the corner of your screen. You can adjust the height and width of the box accordingly with the shift key. Now let go of the mouse button or trackpad to capture the screenshot. You can cancel taking any screenshots at any time with quick access to the key esc.

Print screen on any windows and save it as a file on your desktop by pressing the marked buttons.

Command =+ Shift + 4 + Space Bar + Mouse Click. Print screen on any windows and save it as a file on your desktop. The screen capture will be specific to your needs and no background will be shown.

Option 4:

The fourth and final option provided by apple menu is the shift command and 5, you can open up the screenshot menu with this option.

The newer versions of mac operating system such as Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, Monterey, and Ventura all come with a Screenshot app. All you have to do is open up the app window with these steps:

Steps for perfect screenshot at anytime

1. Press the screenshot buttons to shift command and5to open the screenshot app, preview app, and find the small menu panel at the bottom of the screen.

2. The icons that appear on the left allow you to take s screenshot of the entire screen, a particular window, or a highlighted area. Now to record video of the whole screen or highlighted screen you can find two icons on the right side. Click on the options on the left icons or right icons to take a screen shot however and whatever you want. The next two icons to the right will let you record a video of the entire screen or just a highlighted section.

3. You can click the capture button on the extreme right to take the screenshot.

menu labeled Options

By clicking the capture button you can easily take your screenshot.

There’s also a menu labeled Options. This menu lets you choose where to save your screenshot, how much time you want between pressing Capture and the screenshot being taken, and more.

Steps for perfect screenshot at anytime

The “Options” menu lets you customize how your screenshots are taken.

These options menu or file menu also has the show floating thumbnail option, this option can be turned on by default and can be indicated by the checkmark on the left corner. This option creates a small thumbnail on the bottom right corner of the screen or window when you take a screenshot. The only way you know that screenshot has been saved in to your mac computer is when the thumbnail appears after a few seconds.

If you want to take a look at the screenshot even further you can click on the thumbnail before it disappears. The screenshot will open up in a new window and in the window, you make several modifications such as:

  • Drawing and typing on the screenshot.
  • You can easily crop the image to different size and shape.
  • Share it on your Apple ID account and send it others.
A Mac screen with the floating thumbnail highlighted in the bottom-right corner.

Did you know? You can also make the floating thumbnail move faster by clicking on it and dragging it off the screen.

Option 5: Take a screenshot of the touch bar with Shift and Command and 6.

Macbook users cannot use print screen options like Windows users. To get a screenshot of the touch bar, you will have to use a specific option that is only available on Macbook pro latest models. If you have the latest Macbook Pro models then you probably have a touch bar situated just above the keyboard and below the screen.

It has fun options such as swipe and slide to adjust settings, use Siri, use function keys, and doing tasks on multiple applications. However you probably didn’t know that you can also use the screenshot options specifically for the touch bar.

All you have to do is press and hold on the shift command with 6 to get a screenshot of whatever is present at the touch bar at that moment. This saves you from actually opening up different applications and windows. Therefore you can move swiftly with this shortcut. The screenshot is captured and saved as a png file or according to system preferences.

Formatting and changing the files for your Mac uses to save Screenshots

mac computers

Now that you know all your options, we are certain you must have tried some of the options mentioned above. While you were saving those screenshots you must have noticed that the system saved them in a png file. Although it is completely fine to use this format, you can also explore your options.

Why format from png file?

Png files are used around the clock but if you are looking for better image quality you can use the macbook retina or another 4k monitor to zoom in. You will notice that the images can be as large as 5-8 MB, which is way too big to send through emails and other applications. Most of the emails and applications don’t allow anything above 3MB.

There is a solution to your problem

The perfect solution for this is to change the default file type for screenshot with a simple command. Since every Mac operating system contains the terminal ( which can be found in the application under utilities) you can change the image formats with function supports. To find terminal you can do a quick search as well.

The operating system X supports a lot of formats such as PNG, PDF, GIF, TIFF, and JPG. We will always recommend you go with a JPG that is used universally and has a smaller image size. By changing the default to JPG format you can save time by switching the format up and share it real time.

Mac operating system

Open the terminal and copy and paste the command above, then you can press enter for the operating system to run it.

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg

To access the terminal in this manner you might have to put in your mac user and password. Then you can move on from there. If the mac computer asks for a restart, you can always ask for an instant one and copy and paste the command into the terminal window again. Dont forget to hit enter.

killall SystemUIServer

All your screenshots will now be saved as JPG files. However, if you want to change the default to png again. You will have to repeat the entire process again, just change the code from JPG to PNG.

Third-party apps for macOS

A lot of people don’t like to use the Mac’s internal screenshot tools, therefore they use a third party for screen captures. Some of the best free screenshot apps include Lightshot, it has been tried and tested.

  1. Search around for your options on the internet and download and install the provided app.
  2. Always ask for a free trial before you buy a screenshot app, some of the applications out there have a week trial period. If you can use the shift command and other options easily you should buy the app.
  3. Check out the correct tutorials for the specific application on Youtube to get a good sense of how you can use the application. Not only that, many paid screenshot applications have other features that you can explore.
  4. Don’t fall for a free application because they are not promising. They might not even work properly.

So there you have it, 6 ways to get a screenshot on your Macbook. You can always explore other options but these are tried and tested by old Macbook users.

You don’t have to learn all the options, but you can try one of the best ones for your work. since all the options provide a different spectrum of screenshots; entire screen, highlighted, and video screening. You should pick which is best for you and stick to it.


Sehrish Ahmedani

Hi, I am Sehrish the admin of this blog. I am very passionate in blogging and enjoy educating my readers through practical and optimized articles. written expertise spans from lifestyle, to publishing, technology, marketing and business and more.

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