How to Use Snipping Tools Shortcuts for Mac to Take Screenshots and Screen Recordings

Screenshots are handy. We often use it to capture order numbers, receipts, funny tweets, addresses, and whatnot. Knowing the importance, Apple has built screenshot feature in macOS, and it works flawlessly. Let us look at how to use all these incredible snipping tools for Mac.

Why use snipping tools on Mac?

Because they enable us to capture important information, we might need very quickly. You do not have to type or note something. In one or two clicks, screenshot and screen video recording save everything precisely the way you see. And also, nowadays we express more via pictures and videos than with words.

Where they come useful?

  • Screenshots and screen recording may serve as proofs.
  • Quickly saving important info for some other time.
  • Sending an error screen to tech support.
  • Sharing something on the screen with co-workers.
  • Capturing an address.
  • Sending how-to tutorials to your parents or elders who are finding it hard to do something on their device. (Personally, I have used snipping tools for this a lot.) etc.

Complete Guide on How to Use Snipping Tool on Mac to Capture and Edit Screenshots

Quick Access:

Let me now get straight into it and show you the snipping tools shortcuts for Mac. These are easy and memorable. You will remember them after using these a few times.

How to Take a Full Screenshot on Mac

To capture the entire screen, press together Command(⌘) + Shift + 3

Extra info: If there is another connected display, it will take a separate screenshot of that display too.

How to Take Screenshot of Selected Area in macOS

Suppose you do not want to take a screenshot of your entire screen but only a selected portion. To do this:
Press together Command(⌘) + Shift + 4

Now using the trackpad or the mouse, select the area you want to grab the screenshot of.

Further Pro Tips for this:

#1. Adjust selection to achieve screenshot perfection

Suppose you pressed Command(⌘) + Shift +  4 and then selected an area to take the screenshot. However, now you find that you need to move your selection as you have to also include an area you did not select. Don’t worry. You do not have to cancel. Just press and hold the SPACE BAR. Now you can move your selection box anywhere you want with the mouse. Try it now. To resize further, just leave the space bar and use the trackpad (or mouse) to achieve the perfect selection.

#2. Resize the selection area in proportion from all sides

When you select a region using Command(⌘) + Shift + 4, one corner of the screen selection tool gets fixed. Now, if you press and hold the OPTION key, the selection area becomes larger or smaller in proportion from all four sides. Try moving your selection cursor towards the center of the rectangle or away from it. You will see this shortcut in action.

#3. Want to move your selection only in one direction? Easy.

While you are selecting the area, you want to take the screenshot of, press and hold the SHIFT key. Now the selection edge will move only in the direction/dimension (horizontal or vertical) depending on which you first wanted.

In short, the other three sides of the selection area stay fixed, and only one side can be moved. If you need to resize in another direction, release the shift key and press it again.

#4. How to take a screenshot of just a window, object, or element?

Press Command(⌘) + Shift + 4. Do not move the selection cursor. Now press the SPACE BAR once. Your mouse cursor will turn into a camera icon. Move this camera icon to any window, object, or interface element you want to take the screenshot of.

Using this, you can even take the screenshot of only your Dock or a list of files on the screen or even just the top menu bar! Pause reading and try now. Screenshot of just your dock is beautiful to look at!

Take Screenshot of Selected Area on Mac

How to Take Screenshot using Touch Bar

If you have a MacBook with Touch Bar, you may use it to take screenshots. It is convenient as it requires just one tap.

Open System PreferencesKeyboardCustomise Control Strip.

Click on Keyboard in System Preferences on Mac

Click on Customise Control Strip in Keyboard Tab on Mac

Now, drag the camera icon down on your Touch Bar. Click Done.

Drag Screenshot to Touch Bar and Click on Done in Mac

From now onwards, you will see a camera icon on your Touch Bar. Tap on it to take a screenshot.

Tap on Screeshot on Touch Bar to Take Screenshot in Mac

How to Take Screenshot of Mac’s Touch Bar

You can even take a screenshot of your Touch Bar. I do not know why you would, but probably if you are a tech writer like me, you may. I don’t know. However, here is how you can:

Press Command(⌘) + Shift + 6

Instead of saving, to copy Touch Bar’s screenshot directly to clipboard press Command(⌘) + Shift + 6 + Control

Copy The Image to Clipboard on Mac

After you take a screenshot, it is saved on your desktop (or the path you assigned for screenshots). However, there are times when we take a screenshot for just one-time use like inserting in a word document or note file or sending it as iMessage, etc.

In such scenarios copying the screenshot as clipboard comes handy. This does not save the screenshot.

Change Screenshot Keyboard Shortcuts in macOS

The snipping tools shortcuts mentioned above are memorable and easy. They also do not conflict with other shortcuts. However, if you like, you may change and use any set of keys. To change screenshot keyboard shortcut:

Apple () menuSystem PreferencesKeyboardShortcutsScreenshots.

Click on Apple Logo and then click on System Preferences on Mac

Click on Keyboard in System Preferences on Mac

Click on Shortcuts Tab in Keyboard on Mac

Now double click on the shortcut you want to change, and in one go press the new set of keys.

Double Click on Screenshot to Change Keyboard Shortcut on Mac

Pro tip: If you take screenshots multiple times a day and pressing two or three keys together is something you do not like, you may even set just one key to take the screenshot; Like only the left arrow. But then this key won’t perform its original function of moving the typing cursor to the left.

Remember One Shortcut for Everything on Mac

If you cannot remember any shortcuts, don’t worry. On the latest macOS, you just need to remember one, and you will be able to perform all the quick shortcuts I talked about above.

Press together Command(⌘) + SHIFT + 5

You will see a small dock-like bar. It has various screen snipping tools.

Take Different Types of Screenshots with Screen Sniping on Mac

The first one is Capture Entire Screen.
The second one lets you capture the selected window.
The third one allows you to capture the selected portion. You can move the selection cursor in multiple directions to achieve the perfection you want.

Next to it, is screen recording and then ‘Options’ that has self-explanatory sub-options.

Screen Video Recording on Mac

When I bought my MacBook, I had to get help from official Apple Support multiple times. Screen video recording came very handy. I used to send them these recordings explaining the issue. To record your screen on Mac:

Press together Command(⌘) + Shift + 5

You will see a dock-like bar. It has few snipping tools. The two rectangle icons with dots in the bottom right are for screen video recording.

Start Screen Video Recording on Mac

The first one records the entire screen. And using the second icon, you can record a selected portion of your screen.

When you want to stop recording, click the stop button in the top menu bar. After this, what has been recorded will open as a window. You can play it or share it via AirDrop etc. To save it, simply click on the red close icon, (rename it), and save it. The screen video recording will be saved as a .mov file.

Additionally, using the ‘Options,’ you can choose to record voice, set timer, show mouse click in your screen recording, etc.

You can also use QuickTime Player to screen record.

Step #1. Launch Apple’s inbuilt QuickTime Player. It is now shown in your dock.

Step #2. Right-click on the QuickTime icon and click on New Screen Recording.
Or, on the top menu bar of QuickTime Player, click on File and New Screen Recording.

Third-party apps and software for screenshots on Mac

Inbuilt Mac snipping tools are easy, simple and do not require any extra efforts. Still, there are some equally good third-party apps and software that let you take screenshots, edit them, put markups, upload to cloud services, provide a short sharable link, etc. Here are some useful third-party apps for screenshots on Mac.

Apart from these, you may use extensions or ad-ons, if you want to take screenshots of only your browser. Just head over to your browser’s store (like Chrome Web Store) and search for screenshot extensions.

What to do and not do while taking a screenshot on Mac?

Screenshots and screen video recordings capture everything that is on the screen. This includes usernames, passwords (if visible), new notifications that come, etc. Be careful when you use these snipping tools. Here are some tips.

Never share personal info: If you grab a photo or video of your screen for sharing with tech support or elsewhere, make sure that no personal information is visible.

Blur or scribble on it: If you see email address, or usernames, or other personal information on the screengrab, blur them or scribble lines on them using built-in Mac tools or third party editing software.

Do not let it upload automatically to cloud services: Many third-party snipping tools instantly and automatically start to upload the screenshot or recording and then provide you a sharable link. It is handy for tech support guys and other such people. But if you are an average user, try to disable this. Be always sure of what you upload on cloud services.

Share adequately: You use screenshots and screen videos for useful tasks. Do not capture and share extra information, and also do not limit too much. Make sure you capture the information adequately, so it is suitable and useful.

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