ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac and Annotate It!

Updated on February 18, 2014
Jonathan Wylie profile image

Jonathan is a certified teacher who has taught in the UK and in the US. He now works as a Digital Learning Consultant.

Mac desktop screenshot
Mac desktop screenshot

Keyboard Shortcuts for Screenshots on a Mac

You might not know this, but Apple has a number of options for taking screenshots on a Mac built-in to Mac OS X. They opted to include these as keyboard shortcuts. Not everyone is a fan of keyboard shortcuts, but once you learn the ones you need, you will quickly jump to it in your time of need. Each combination gives you slightly different options, so here is a quick summary of what you can do:

  • Command+Shift+3: Takes a full screen screenshot and saves it to the desktop as a PNG file.
  • Command+Shift+4: Don't need a full screen capture? This one lets you select the area to capture, then saves to the desktop. Simply click and drag to select the area you need.
  • Command+Shift+4+Space Bar: Click an active window to save it to the desktop.
  • Command+Control+Shift+3: Takes a screenshot of the screen, and saves it to the clipboard. You can then paste the screenshot into other apps.
  • Command+Control+Shift+4: Like above, but lets you select the area to capture first and then saves it to the clipboard to paste into other apps.
  • Command+Control+Shift+4+Space Bar: Wrap your fingers around this super combo and you can click any active window to save it to the clipboard for pasting later.

Selected area screenshot captured with Cmd+Shift+4
Selected area screenshot captured with Cmd+Shift+4

Annotating Mac Screenshots with Preview

If you chose to save your screenshot to the desktop, you can double click it to open it in the Preview app. Preview is a versatile app that can be used for all manner of useful things, one of which is annotating screenshots.

Once your screenshot is opened inside Preview, click View > Show Edit Toolbar to reveal the annotation tools at your disposal. You can also click the toolbar icon that looks like a pencil inside a square to the same thing.

There are a number of tools you can use to annotate your screenshot. They include:

  • Shape tools
  • The arrow tool
  • Text boxes
  • Speech bubbles
  • A crop tool
  • Image resizing tools

See the image below for an indication of which one is which, or simply hover your cursor over the toolbar icon to see a small popup explanation of what each tool does.

Preview annotation tools
Preview annotation tools

Skitch for Mac: The All-in-One Screenshot Solution

If the keyboard shortcuts are just to numerous or difficult to remember, you can always opt for an all-in-one solution like Skitch for Mac, a free screenshot app that will capture your image and give you the tools you need to annotate it.

Skitch is made by Evernote and has apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android devices. You can download the Mac app at the Mac App Store.

Capturing and Annotating Screenshots with Skitch for Mac

Skitch has a number of screen capture modes that include full screen screenshots, selected area screenshots, and even a timed screen shot that lets you select and area and then gives you a five second countdown before the screenshot is captured.

Skitch for Mac has many of the same annotation tools that are found in Skitch for iOS. They include:

  • An arrow tool
  • A text tool
  • The shape tool
  • Freehand drawing tool
  • Highlighter tool
  • A labeling tool
  • The blur tool
  • A cropping tool

Simply select the tool you want to use, and click and drag across your screen to apply your annotations. Once you are done, you can save your file, email it, or log in with your Evernote account to save and sync it to Evernote.


Skitch for Mac
Skitch for Mac

What Else Can I Use?

If you are serious about your screenshots, and want even more annotation options and customization, then Snagit for Mac is about the best you can get. Snagit is a paid app, but you get a lot for your money, and there are discounts for educational institutions, non-profits, and government organizations. You also get great customer support and free updates for life!

There are dozens of annotation options, as well as the possibility to create your own custom annotations and save them for the next time you need them. Snagit integrates with Google Drive so that you can import images and export finished screen captures. You can even record some basic video screencasts and share them straight to YouTube, Facebook and more.

Find out more about Snagit for Mac here.

Snagit for Mac
Snagit for Mac | Source

Summary

So, there are plenty of options for capturing screenshots on your Mac. The one that you choose will likely come down to personal preference, or how much money you are willing to spend, but these three are among the best options available for Mac users.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)