how to take a screenshot on mac?

When you want to keep track of what's on your Mac's screen, there's nothing better than a screenshot. To use this function, integrated into the system for a long time, several methods coexist.

Whether it’s asking someone for a little help if something goes wrong with software, remembering a Web page that is in danger of disappearing, or even showing things to do – as we let’s do in the practical sheets on dotkeys –, the screenshot is an effective and fast tool. It makes it possible to take an instantaneous “snapshot” of all or part of what is displayed on the screen and to make an image file of it. On Mac, this file is in PNG format – with the .png extension, therefore – and automatically called Screenshot followed by the date and time – to the nearest second! – that any software — including web browsers — can open. By default, it is immediately saved to the macOS desktop.


To take a screenshot on Mac, there are several methods. The easiest and fastest way is to use hotkeys. But you can also use the Snipping utility that comes with macOS. It gives access to additional options such as choosing the folder for saving images and above all, a self-timer. As on a camera, a countdown will allow you to present on the screen what you want (for example a drop-down menu which disappears as soon as a key on the keyboard is pressed) before immortalizing it. Practical ! The icing on the cake, the tool also allows video recording of what is happening on all or part of the screen. A very useful function to present manipulations to be carried out to a loved one in trouble with his Mac.

How to take screenshots with macOS keyboard shortcuts?
Three, four and sometimes five keys pressed simultaneously are required to take screenshots on macOS. Main advantage: these shortcuts remain assigned to the system regardless of the software launched. Note that the numeric keys used here are those located on the upper row of the keyboard – above the QWERTY keys, therefore – and not those of the numeric keypad placed to the right of the keyboard, which is also absent from portable Macs.

Capture the whole screen
If you wish to obtain an image of the entire screen, menu bar and Dock included, simultaneously press the Cmd + Shift + 3 keys. The capture is carried out immediately and saved by default on the Desktop in PNG format and called Capture d screen with date and time.
Capture a specific area of the screen
To select only part of the screen, the shortcut varies and also requires manipulation of the mouse. Press the Cmd + Shift + 4 keys. The mouse pointer then takes on the appearance of a target. Click with the left mouse button and drag to define the frame you want to capture. The capture is only made when you release the mouse button and saved by default on the Desktop in PNG format and called Screenshot with date and time.

Take a screenshot of a window
To keep only one software or Finder window open on the screen, press the Cmd + Shift + 4 keys. Press the Space bar on the keyboard. Then move the mouse pointer over the window you want to “photograph”. It then tints with the macOS contrast color to indicate that it is indeed the one you are going to capture. The capture is then immediately saved by default on the Desktop in PNG format and called Screenshot with date and time.

In this case, macOS retains the small aesthetic effect brought to the Finder. If you open the image in image editing software, you may see a drop shadow below the window.

Take a screenshot and store it in the clipboard
If you want to copy your screenshot directly to a document, you can skip saving it to the Desktop. The image will then take place in the macOS clipboard. This requires using an additional key in the manipulation. Press Cmd + Shift + Ctrl + 3 to capture the whole screen or Cmd + Shift + Ctrl + 4 to select only part of it. You can also press the Cmd + Shift + Ctrl + 4 keys then press the spacebar on the keyboard to enter only one window.
The image is then copied to the macOS clipboard. To integrate it into your document (a word processor, a presentation tool or an image editing software for example), you just have to use the keyboard shortcut Cmd + V. Avoid copying anything else in the press -paper in the meantime at the risk of erasing the capture, because this temporary memory has only one place…

How to take screenshots with macOS utility?
Rather unknown, the screenshot tool integrated into macOS nevertheless provides many services. It offers additional options to perform more complex “snapshots” and even video captures to “film” what is happening on the screen.

From the Finder, pull down the view menu and choose Utilities.

In the folder that opens, double-click the Snipping Tool.

Immediately a selection frame is displayed on the screen. At its base is a small control panel.

Take screenshots in image format

Click on the Options menu. In the Save in… section you can choose the location where the screenshot file will be saved (remember that, by default, it takes place on the Desktop).

In the Timer section, here you can choose to start a 5 or 10 second timer.

Finally, in the Options section, you can choose to keep the mouse pointer in the image (by default, it never appears on the capture).

When everything is ready, choose one of the three capture options by clicking on the icons on the left of the control panel: capture the whole screen, the selected window or the selection for a portion of the screen only.

All that remains is to click on the Capture button on the far right of the control panel to start capturing.
How to Take Video Screenshots on Mac?
With the macOS screenshot utility, you can also “video” your screen. A practical function to perform the demonstration of a manipulation to troubleshoot a loved one.

Open the macOS Snipping Tool mentioned above. This time, instead of selecting one of the three options on the left of the control panel to get a still image, choose Record Full Screen or Record Selected Part.

Note that you can apply the same save and timer options as for an image screenshot (see above). Added to this is the possibility of also recording your voice using the Mac’s built-in microphone or that of your headset.

Click the Record button on the far right of the control panel to start recording.

Perform the manipulations you want to show. To stop recording, click the Stop button that appears in the menu bar at the top right of the Finder.

You then obtain a video file in MOV format (with the .mov extension). Be careful, video capture files can quickly become large. In our example, an entire screen with a definition of 2560 x 1440 pixels filmed for 20 seconds produces a file of 20 MB.


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