mac screenshot apple imac

There are bound to be moments when you want to take a screenshot on your Mac, whether it’s to illustrate an app’s behavior, capture a moment in time or simply to share what your desktop looks like. Thankfully, macOS includes multiple ways to capture your screen, most of which only require a simple keyboard command or shortcut — we’ll show you how to take a screenshot with those methods.

See also: Best Apple laptops

How to take a basic screenshot on a Mac

apple mac screenshot full screen

The simplest way to take a screenshot on your Mac is to capture the entire screen. That can be helpful if you want to snap a picture of multiple apps or windows, and makes it easier if you want to capture system elements like the menu bar, desktop, and dock. You just need to remember a simple system command.

  1. Press Shift, Command, and 3 at the same time. You should hear a camera sound.
  2. If you see a thumbnail in the screen corner, you can click it to edit the image.
  3. The image will save to your desktop with a file name indicating when it was taken.
  4. If you want to copy a screenshot to the clipboard, hold Control while you capture the screenshot.

How to capture a window or menu on a Mac

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You’ll sometimes want to capture a screenshot for a single app or a menu. This not only produces a smaller, less cluttered image, but can save you the trouble of having to reshuffle your desktop to get a perfect picture. The process is only slightly more involved than taking a basic screenshot.

  1. Find the app window or menu you want for your screenshot.
  2. Press Shift, Command, 4, and the spacebar at the same time. The mouse pointer should change to a camera.
  3. Click on the window or menu you want to capture. MacOS includes the window’s shadow by default (see above), but holding Option when you click eliminates the shadow.
  4.  If you see a thumbnail in the screen corner, you can click it to edit the image.
  5. The image will save to your desktop with a file name indicating when it was taken.
  6. If you want to copy a screenshot to the clipboard, hold Control while you capture the screenshot.

How to capture part of the screen on a Mac

apple mac screenshot portion of desktop

In some cases, you’ll want to capture very specific parts of the screen on a Mac — a portion of a website, a social media post, or an important section in an app. This is quite an easy task, although you will want to remember a few extra commands and options.

  1. Press Shift, Command, and 4 at the same time. A crosshair will appear with numbers indicating the pixel position on the screen.
  2. Click, hold, and drag to select the screen area you want to capture. You’ll see numbers indicating the width and height of the resulting image in pixels.
  3. Let go of the mouse or trackpad button to take the screenshot. Alternately, you can press Esc to cancel the screenshot.
  4. If you see a thumbnail in the screen corner, you can click it to edit the shot.
  5. The image will save to your desktop with a file name indicating when it was taken.
  6. If you want to copy a screenshot to the clipboard, hold Control while you capture the screenshot.

How to capture using the Screenshot app on a Mac

apple mac screenshot app

If you want more control over how you capture screenshots on a Mac, you can open the Screenshots app in macOS Mojave or later. Most of its functionality is covered by the keyboard shortcuts we’ve discussed earlier, but there are some options that may be important if you need to specify a folder, set a timer, or even record your screen.

  1. Press Shift, Command, and 5 at the same time. The Screenshots app will appear.
  2. By default, part of the screen will be highlighted. You can click and drag the edges of this to customize the area you want to grab, and click Capture to take an image.
  3. Click the icons in the floating interface to customize what you capture. From left to right, you can capture the entire screen, capture a window, capture a screen portion, record the whole screen, or record a portion of the screen.
  4. Clicking Options lets you choose the destination folder for screenshots, set a timer, display thumbnails after capture or show the mouse pointer in captures.
  5. The image will save to your desktop or specified folder with a file name indicating the time it was taken.
  6. If you want to copy a screenshot to the clipboard, hold Control while you capture the screenshot.