How to Do a Screen Capture or Screenshot on a Mac or Apple Computer

Take a Snapshot of Your Computer Screen Using Your Mac

Taking a screen capture on an Apple computer is very simple! Below you'll find the easy, how-to steps.

  1. Press down the Shift--Open Apple (or Command)--4 keys all at the same time. There is no need to highlight what you want to capture first. If you do highlight, it will be saved on your desktop highlighted.
  2. An icon that looks like a compass/bulls eye will appear.
  3. Left click and drag the compass with your mouse from the top corner of what you'd like to capture diagonally to the bottom of what you'd like to capture. What you have selected will be greyed out.
  4. When you release the mouse, the image will be automatically saved as a .png to your desktop, and the file name will begin with "Screen Shot". You will know you captured the image when you hear the photo click sound.
  5. If you make a mistake just start over, save it again, and trash your previous capture.
  6. To capture the entire screen, press 3 instead of the 4 key in the above sequence.

Taking a Screen Capture of the HubPages Home Page

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The gray box is what I've selected to capture from the screen.This is the image that resulted from the above screen grab.This is what it looks like if you capture the entire screen, rather than a selection. You can see my desktop menu underneath the browser.
The gray box is what I've selected to capture from the screen.
The gray box is what I've selected to capture from the screen.
This is the image that resulted from the above screen grab.
This is the image that resulted from the above screen grab.
This is what it looks like if you capture the entire screen, rather than a selection. You can see my desktop menu underneath the browser.
This is what it looks like if you capture the entire screen, rather than a selection. You can see my desktop menu underneath the browser.

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Comments 11 comments

Ginny Jory 6 years ago

Thanks so much - really helpful :)


Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

thnaks for sharing info


johnr54 profile image

johnr54 7 years ago from Texas

If you are looking for motion capture of the screen, you have to go to 3rd party aps like Snapz Pro but for static shops the built in OS has great options.


Abhinaya 8 years ago

Thanks for the wonderful tips.I have been trying this for a long time but I still need some practice.


Isabella Snow profile image

Isabella Snow 8 years ago

Robin that's awesome, thank you!


ink 8 years ago

As jamestedmon says, open the Grab app in Applications/Utilities and then you can play around with the different options and learn the keyboard shortcuts:

Screen (entire screen): Command-Z

Window (any application window you click on): Shift-Command-W

Selection (what you drag the pointer over and select): Shift-Command-A

Timed Screen (gives you 10 seconds delay before taking, useful say if you want a picture of an open menu item) : Shift-Command-Z

(Command is the name of the key with the apple on it).

Although the image will open on your screen as soon as you take it, the file is not saved until you actually save it. So if you mess up, you can simply close the window (command-w -- works in any application) an do it over.

Press Command-1 to open the image inspector and see dimensions and bit depth.

To change the file format to something other than PNG, open it in Preview, choose "Save As" and select the format you want (GIFF, TIFF, JPEG, BMP, PSD, etc.)

Incidently, if you're new to the Mac, you'll find lots of great little applications in your Utilities folder. Give them a try.


darron profile image

darron 8 years ago from New York City

That is so cool. Thank you!


Mark Knowles profile image

Mark Knowles 8 years ago

Thank you. I have been trying to work out how to do that for ages.


jamestedmondson profile image

jamestedmondson 8 years ago from San Francisco

Also, if you want to caputure the whole screen, and not just a selection, just hit apple + shift + 3.

You can also open the application "Grab" which is in the "Utilities" folder in your "Applications" folder.


Robin profile image

Robin 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

Ha, thanks for the tip! ;)


Jude 8 years ago

That's soooo cool! :)

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