How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac | 7 Ways to Capture your Mac’s Screen Easily

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to take a screenshot on a Mac, but you’ve been unsure of how to do it, this guide will help you out. 

By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to take a screenshot of whatever you’re viewing on your screen with ease.

Plus, if you ever need to take a screenshot of a whole page or application, we’ll show you how to do that as well. 

So whether you just want to capture a quick screenshot for your blog post, or you need to capture an entire page for troubleshooting purposes, this guide will have you covered.

  • Use Cmd + Shift + 3
  • Use Cmd + Shift + 4
  • Use Cmd + Shift + 5
  • Use Cmd + Shift + 6
  • Take a Screenshot on Mac with Preview
  • Take a Screenshot on Mac with Terminal
  • Use a Third-Party Application to take a Screenshot on Mac

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac

Use Cmd + Shift + 3

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac

The first method involves using a keyboard shortcut Command + Shift + 3.

This will let you take a screenshot of the entire screen including the page that’s open as well as the menu bar.

Use Cmd + Shift + 4

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac

The second method turns your mouse cursor into crosshairs that can be dragged over a specific area of the screen.

To complete the screenshot, simply let go of the mouse button.

While using the Cmd + Shift + 4 shortcut, there are other options you can use such as:

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac
  • Press and release the spacebar – Here the crosshairs will turn into a camera icon. Drag the icon over any open window and click once to take a screenshot of that window. When the screenshot is captured, the image will have a white border around the image along with a light shadow at the bottom.
  • Press and hold the spacebar – This method locks the frame in place after releasing the mouse button and you can drag the frame to any part of the screen or even resize it in case you missed a part in the original screenshot.
How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac
  • Hold the Shift key – When you take a screenshot and hit the Shift key, the sides of the frame will freeze and you can extend the frame vertically. Hitting the Shift button once again will freeze the top and bottom and the sides can be adjusted accordingly..

Use Cmd + Shift + 5

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac

Here’s an older command that was first introduced in 2018 with the Mojave OS. Pressing Cmd + Shift + 5 will launch a small pop-up screen that lets you choose whether you want to capture the entire screen, a particular window or a section of the screen.

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The same command lets you video record your screen as well. You can choose between video recording the entire screen or only a portion of the screen.

You can either click the X button or Escape on the keyboard to close the screen recorder tool.

Once you take the screenshot, a floating thumbnail will appear in the lower right corner of the screen. You can either click on it to open the screenshot or wait for the thumbnail to disappear.. 

While using this command, it’s good to know that you’re even able to show the mouse cursor in the screenshot/screen recording by toggling the setting in the Options tab.

Use Cmd + Shift + 6

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac

The final method is available only to those who have a new-gen Macbook that comes with a Touch Bar above the keyboard.

Pressing Cmd + Shift + 6 will take a screenshot of the Touch Bar and what’s currently shown on it. 

Take a Screenshot on Mac with Preview

Preview is a built-in tool that allows you to view and edit images and PDF files.

The Preview screenshot tool lets you take screenshots of particular files and turns them into previews that can be edited, resized and have annotations added to them.

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac
  • To take a screenshot on your Mac using Preview, click on the Apple Menu and select a file
  • Now tap on Take Screenshot and then select the section of the page you want to capture.

Now proceed to edit or save the file in any destination of your choice.

Take a Screenshot on Mac with Terminal

While it’s not something you would normally use on a daily basis, you can take screenshots on your Mac through the Terminal. To do this,

  • Launch the Terminal window on your Mac
    • Launchpad > Other > Terminal
  • Enter the command
    • man screencapture
  • This will take a screenshot of your desktop and what’s present on it. You will then receive a success notification in the Terminal window that looks like this
    • screencapture -T 10 ~/Desktop/screenshot.png
  • This means that the image has been captured and the PNG file has been saved. 
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You can then locate the file in your directory and change the format or edit the image.

Use a Third-Party Application to take a Screenshot on Mac

If you prefer using third-party tools to take screenshots on your Mac for whatever reason it may be, SnagIt is a great option, but it’s pricey and can cost over $50 for a subscription. 

You can try using free tools that are available on the Mac Store such as Skitch, Snappy and LightShot.

Snappy is a wonderful tool to use because if you download the iOS variant, you can sync screenshots between your Mac and iPhone/iPad.

How to Change the Format of the Screenshot Permanently on Mac

Since all the screenshots taken on a Mac will be in PNG format, you can change the format permanently by using the Terminal window.

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac

To do this,

  • Launch the Terminal window on your Mac
    • Launchpad > Other > Terminal
  • Enter the command
    • defaults write type jpg
  • If your Mac is password protected, enter the password and then restart the computer to save the settings.

Once done, all screenshots you take on your Mac going forward will be saved in the file format you set.

If you wish to change the file format to any other, then simply enter the same command once again and instead of JPG at the end, enter PNG or PDF.

How to Share Screenshots taken on a Mac

There are a number of ways you can share screenshots that were taken on a Mac but the easiest and most common ways are either Google Drive, iCloud or Dropshare.

how to take a screenshot on mac

These tools let you automatically upload screenshots and then have them shared with anyone with the help of a link. 

How to Paste a Screenshot on Mac?

If you want to paste a screenshot you just took rather than save the file, simply press Control while taking the screenshot.

This will copy the screenshot to the clipboard and you can paste it in any tool by pressing Cmd + V on the keyboard.

How to Annotate a Screenshot?

The easiest way to annotate a screenshot is by using the Cmd + Shift + 5 shortcut.

Once the floating thumbnail appears after you’ve taken a screenshot, click on it to open the Markup View preview box where you can add annotations to the image. 

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If you right click on the floating thumbnail you will be able to save the screenshot in a particular folder, open it in a mail or messages app, show in the folder, delete the screenshot, and close the screenshot. 

How to Save Screenshots in JPG?

When taking screenshots on a Mac, all the captured files will be saved as PNG and might not be compatible with a range of apps. You can make changes to the file format by using the Previews tool.

Open the screenshot in the Previews tool and proceed to save the file. Now select the file type as JPG or PDF and click on Save to store the new file.

How to Disable Screenshot on a Mac?

To disable the screenshot feature on any Mac simply go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Screen Recording and disable the screenshot options.

You will have to enter your user password to open the options and then select the applications that can use the screenshot option and disable the rest.


As you can see, it’s quite easy to take a screenshot on a Mac. Simply pressing a combination of keys on the keyboard will get the job done.

The best thing about using a Mac to take a screenshot is that you also get the option to record a video of the screen that can be used for guides and informational content if you have a Youtube channel.

Once you master these methods, you will be at the top of  your screenshot game and I hope this article has helped you learn how to do that.

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