How to take a screenshot on Mac (Complete guide)

How to take screenshot on Mac

Are you looking for a quick way to level up your screenshots game on Mac? Fortunately, macOS includes handy keyboard shortcuts and numerous customization for screenshots. In this guide, I’ll show you how to take a screenshot on your Mac in various ways to boost your productivity.

Keyboard shortcuts for taking screenshots on MacBook

Nothing is quicker than taking screenshots by only pressing keys, right? Here are some easy-to-remember keyboard shortcuts for capturing screenshots on a MacBook:

Keyboard ShortcutFunction
Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + 3Takes screenshot of the entire screen.
Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + 4Lets you highlight a specific area and take a partial screenshot.
Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + 5Opens the Screenshot app with more screenshot options and lets you screen record.
Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + 6Captures the screenshot of your Mac’s Touch Bar, if your Mac has one.

How to change keyboard shortcuts to take screenshots on Mac

While the default keyboard shortcuts are easy to remember, you might want to modify them to your preferred ones. Follow these instructions to learn how to change the screenshot shortcut on Mac:

  1. Open System Settings from the Apple menu ().

    Select System Settings from Apple menu
  2. Select Keyboard from the left pane → Click Keyboard Shortcuts.

    Go to Keyboard and select Keyboard shortcuts in System Settings
  3. Select Screenshots from the left pane.

    Select Screenshots from Keyboard shortcuts in System Settings
  4. Double-click the shortcut you want to change → Press the desired key combination.
  5. Tap Done to save the shortcut.

Tip: To return to the old keyboard shortcut, click Restore Defaults at the bottom.

But what if you don’t have access to your keyboard and still want to take screenshots on your Mac? Worry not! Below are the steps to capture Mac screenshots without keyboard shortcuts.

How to take screenshots on your Mac without keyboard

  1. Open the Screenshot app using the Launchpad.
    • To capture full-screen: Select Capture Entire ScreenLeft-click to capture.

      take full screen screenshot on mac
    • To take cropped screenshots: Choose Capture Selected Portion → Drag corners to select a portion → Click the window and drag to adjust the position → Hit Capture.

      click capture selected portion and hit capture in mac
    • To capture a specific window or menu: Select the Capture Selected Window option → Go to the window you want to take a screenshot → Just left-click.

      Capture Selected Window option on Screenshot tool

How to take Mac screenshots using the Preview app

While taking screenshots using the Mac Screenshot app is handy, you can do the same with the Preview app.

  1. Open the Preview app.
  2. Go to File from the menu bar → Select Take Screenshot.
  3. Choose one of three options:
    • From Selection to take a partial screenshot of a specific area
    • From Window to capture a screenshot of a window or menu
    • From Entire Screen to take a screenshot of the entire screen

      Take Screenshots using the Preview app

Now, the screenshot you took will open up in the Preview app. Here, you can use the Markup tools to annotate the screenshot.

How to change the default screenshot location on Mac

After you capture screenshots, you may wonder where it goes on Mac? By default, macOS saves the screenshots in the Desktop folder. However, you may save them to a different location on your Mac for easy access. Follow these steps to change the default location on Mac:

  1. Open the Screenshot app on your Mac.
  2. Click Options from the screenshot toolbar.

    Options on Screenshot tool
  3. Select a location provided, such as Documents, Downloads, etc.
    Choose Other Location to select a custom folder location.

    Save to options in Screenshot tool on Mac

Now, your screenshots will be saved in your chosen folder.

How to save screenshots to the clipboard on your Mac

Mac usually saves screenshots to the Desktop or your chosen folder. But do you know you can copy the screenshots to the clipboard and paste them directly into other apps without saving them?

All you need to do is press the Control key while taking a screenshot in any method mentioned above until your Mac captures it. Read our detailed guide to learn how to copy and save Mac screenshots to clipboard.

Bonus: Use Screenshot app to record Mac screen

We have discussed almost all the main features of the Screenshot app on Mac. So, why leave out one? You can also record your Mac screen using the same keyboard shortcut. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Screenshot app from Launchpad or press Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + 5.
  2. Select the Record Entire Screen option to screen record your Mac’s entire screen or Record Selected Portion to record a specific area of your Mac’s screen.
  3. Click Record.

    New Screen Recording option in the File menu in QuickTime Player

The screen recording will start on your Mac, and you’ll see a Stop icon in the menu bar; clicking it will stop and save the screen recording.


Where is the snip tool on Mac?

You can summon the Snip tool on Mac using the Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + 5 keyboard shortcut or launching the Screenshot app from Spotlight search.

How do you screenshot on a Mac without a button?

If you don’t have access to a keyboard or the shortcut buttons on the keyboard, you can bring up the Screenshot app and use the different tools provided there.

How do I take a long screenshot on my Mac?

Unfortunately, you can’t take long screenshots on your Mac. You’ll have to use third-party apps to take a scrolling long screenshot.

Final thoughts…

That’s how you can take screenshots and record the screen on your Mac. If you’re coming from Windows or Linux, it might take some time to get used to it. I hope this guide was helpful. If you’ve any further queries or suggestions on this guide, please leave them in the suggestions below.

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1 comment

  1. There’s definately a great deal to know about this topic. I love all of the points you have made.

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