Monday, 11 Dec 2017

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac [Partial or Whole screen]

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac

If you have been a windows OS users and looking for tutorial on how to take a screenshot on a Mac or you’ve been using Macbook and want to know different methods, then you’ve reached to a right place. Here in this post, I’ll explain different methods of taking a screenshot on your mac.

I heard from quite a few people that Macbook is bit difficult to operate but the things are completely opposite to that. Macbook is much simpler and have more options to perform a specific task. Here in this article, I’ll discuss several ways of doing the same thing differently i.e. How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac.

Why do you need to take a screenshot?

There could be hundreds of reasons why one would need to take a screenshot. Whether you want to take a screenshot of the payment confirmation page that display after you make online payment Or you want to take screenshot of other document such as keynote slide with important points Or you need to take screenshot of a game score that you want to share with your friends on Facebook or Twitter.

To be specific, taking a screenshot of the live chat with a customer support executive of the company you have purchased/purchasing any product from can have you some proof to show them later if needed. It happened with me ! thankfully I had taken screenshots.

I ordered a bluetooth speaker from this website (cant disclose website). When I got it home, I found the product was faulty.

I got in touch with customer support team through online chat. This man assured me of replacing the item with a new one. I took screenshot of all my discussion with him for my record. At the end this man told me, they will send someone within one day to pick the item and replace with a new one.

Nobody came for two days and I called them over phone to understand the matter. This time they said they can’t replace the item and they didn’t commit to replace it. I showed them screenshot and won the argument and they had to replace this faulty bluetooth speaker.

So the purpose of taking a screenshot could be different for different people, I am not going into much details. Whatever a person wants to take screenshot for on a Macbook, I’m going to discuss the easiest ways of doing so.

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You can chose to automatically save the file on desktop or copy to clipboard to edit it further using a photo editor before saving it as final version.

How to take screenshot on a Mac – 4 different methods

So there are several methods you can do this task with but I’ll discuss the most common and simple ones. These methods are for taking screenshot of full screen or partial. You can chose to save the file automatically in .png format or copy it to clipboard to edit with photo editor before finally saving it.

Method -1: Take screenshot of Full Screen & auto safe on Desktop

In case you decide to take screenshot of entire screen, go for this option. It will take screenshot when you press the keys that I’m going to tell below and save the file on your desktop. Let’s take a look at the process.

Step:1– Open files /documents that you want to take screenshot of. By default it will capture the whole screen irrespective of what all you have on the screen and whether or not you want to capture everything. So let’s open all those files and documents you want to include in this screenshot.

Step:2– Make sure the speakers of Macbook is not muted.

Step:3– Now you need to press SHIFT + COMMAND + 3. When you do that, you will hear photo clicking sound that confirms a Screenshot on Mac has been taken.

Screenshot on Mac

Step:4– By default the captured screenshot is saved on Desktop in a format the looks similar to “Screen Shot YYYY-MM-DD at Hour.Min.Sec PM.png”. Here, the YYYY stands for year, for example 2017, MM for month & DD for date of taking screenshot. It also includes time as you can notice in sample file name format. The PM will be replaced by AM if you take screenshot before afternoon.

So the general rule is, when you done with taking screenshot, go to desktop and look for the file that starts with “Screen Shot”. In case you have taken multiple screenshots, you will then have to open the file manually and see which one you want. By default it saves the file in .png file extension.

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Method -2: Take screenshot of partial screen & auto safe on Desktop

Sometimes you don’t want to capture everything from the screen and need to find out way to capture only the selected area. If you have to do that, try this method. Here you will be able to select area which you want to include in this screenshot and auto save on the desktop.

Step:1– So here again open the file/documents which you want to include in the screenshot. You need to bring the file forward on the screen. Since you can select the area, you can leave other files opened backward.

Step:2– Make sure your Macbook speaker is not muted.

Take a screenshot on a mac

Step:3– Now you need to press SHIFT + COMMAND + 4 and the curser of your Macbook will transformed into a crosshair. You can now select the area (documents/images) on the screen that you want to capture in this screenshot.

When curser becomes crosshair and you start with selecting area to be captured, click & hold and move from start to end point and release. You will hear clicking sound which means the screenshot of the selected area on your Mac has been taken.

The format of the screenshot will be same as I discussed in above method and the file will be saved in .png file extension.

Step:4– Open the file to check whether it captured all that area you were needed. You can always change file extension to other format through file editor’s “save as” option but that is not recommended as saving screenshot in other extension might result in loss of picture quality. It becomes troublesome when the screenshot has tables and figures.

Method -3: Take screenshot of full screen & copy to clipboard

If you don’t to auto save the screenshot on the desktop, follow this method. In this method the screenshot that you capture will get copied to clipboard and you can use any picture editor to edit the file before saving it as final version. Take a look.

Step:1– Again, open the document or images you want to take screenshots of. Re-arrange the file exactly like you want to see in a screenshot.

Step:2– Unmute Mac’s speakers if its muted.

screenshot copied to clipboard

Step:3– Now you need to press SHIFT + COMMAND + 3 + CONTROL keys. Again at the time of screenshot is taken and copied to clipboard, you will picture clicking sound.

Step:4– Open your favorite photo editor and press “Command + V“. The screenshot capture will be pasted in the picture editor. Edit it or simply save it, its your choice.

Bonus Tip-

If you want to select area to be capture and saved to clipboard, replace numerical key “3” with “4” in above method.

Method -4: Take timed/regular screenshot of full/partial screen/window with GRAB (inbuilt application of Mac)

This is the easiest method I’ve ever seen to take a screenshot on a Mac. You can take timed screenshots with GRAB app which is an in-built app in Macbook. Grab app takes 10 seconds to take screenshot of whole window and open captured screenshot in GRAB app itself.

Apart from that you can also take regular screenshots as well with this app.

How to find GRAB App?

Go to “Finder” and type Grab. The Grab app will pop up in the result. Click the app to start. Alternatively, you can go to search option on the top right corner of your Macbook screen and search for Grab app.


How to take timed screenshot

With Grab in-built app, you can take timed screenshot. Open Grab app and go to capture as shown in below image.

timed screenshot

When you select “Timed Screen” option from “Capture” It will ask you to start timer for taking screenshot. When you click the button, the screenshot of the windows is automatically taken after 10 seconds. Wasn’t it super easy?


The Grab app can be used for taking regular screenshots as wel with “selection”, “Window” & “Screen” option that you see in above image.

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac [Partial or Whole screen]
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