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How to take a screenshot on Mac OS X

David Price | May 19, 2016
Want to capture an editable image of whatever's on your Mac screen? Here's how to take a screenshot - or 'print screen' - on a Mac

Here's a closer (if darker) look at what you'll see while taking a Mac screenshot:

How to take a screenshot on Mac

How to take a screenshot on Mac: Pro tips for screenshotting on a Mac

Once the crosshairs appear, you can let go of the keyboard keys. Once you've clicked the mouse button and started dragging the cursor, press Space, and you'll be able to move the selected area around. Hold Space and Shift and you'll be able to move it horizontally only.

Press Escape at any time to abort the screengrab. No image will be generated or captured.

Another of our 'pro tips' was sent in by Lou Hattersley: Hold Ctrl when you drag the cursor and the resultant screengrab will be copied to the pasteboard - in other words, you'll be able to paste it into a Photoshop document or similar - instead of the desktop. Many power users will find this neater.

But what if you want to screengrab or screenshot a single window on your desktop? Instead of attempting the fiddly task of trying to line up the crosshairs exactly with the corners of the window, press Cmd, Shift, 4 as before, but when the crosshairs appear press space. The crosshairs will change into a camera icon, and the window your cursor is currently over will turn blue. Click to take a screenshot of this window only - and the resulting image will have a nice shadow effect, too.

And if you don't want that shadow effect, our friend, who isn't Jony Ive, says that adding the Option (or Alt) key will give you a final result without shadows. You'll feel like your fingers are playing Twister with your fingers, but it works.

@MacworldUK You're welcome. I use that one quite frequently. Shadows are revolutionary, but sometimes you just don't want them. ?

- not Jony Fucking Ive (@JonyIveParody)April 29, 2015

Mac screen capture selected window

Here's a happy medium - an easily captured window with a nice shadow

How to take a screenshot on Mac: More advanced screen captures

The options above cover most screengrab eventualities. If you need to do something more advanced, try the Grab application, which you'll find under Utilities in the Applications folder.

Launch it and click Capture in the top menu; you'll see options for the usual screen captures (with shortcuts) but also includes the handy option of timed grabs, for when you want to set up a capture and then activate whatever it is you want to grab.


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