How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac

By Phil DavisPublished February 2012; Updated December 2016

Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Screenshots can be made using these shortcuts.

  • Capture screen, save to file CMD+SHIFT+3
  • Capture screen, save to clipboard CMD+CTRL+SHIFT+3
  • Capture a selection, save to file CMD+SHIFT+4
  • Capture a selection, save to clipboard CMD+CTRL+SHIFT+4

Use the Grab Application

You can also make use of Grab application which is included with the Mac OS. You can find it at /applications/utilities/grab. The captured image can be saved to a file or can be copied to another application.

  1. Open Grab
  2. Select Capture from the Menu
  3. Select the type of capture needed (Selection, Window, Screen, Timed Screen)
  4. Select FILE > SAVE to save the image, or
  5. Select EDIT > COPY to put the image into the clipboard

Or, use the following keyboard shortcuts

  • Capture selection CMD+SHIFT+A
  • Capture window CMD+SHIFT+W
  • Capture screen CMD+Z
  • Timed capture of screen CMD+SHIFT+Z (capture occurs 10 seconds after selection)

Use the Preview Application

Preview gives you the ability to annotate your capture without the use of other software.

  1. Open Preview (from the Dock or from the applications menu)
  2. Select FILE > TAKE SCREENSHOT
  3. Select FROM SELECTION, or FROM WINDOW, or FROM ENTIRE SCREEN
  4. If desired annotate the capture: Select TOOLS > ANNOTATE
  5. Save the file as a PDF or an image.

If you want to annotate the screen capture, check out some of the following applications: Monoshap, Snappy, Jing (free) or Powershot, Snagit, Capto, SnapZ Pro, Napkin (commercial apps).