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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

1605. Creating Screen Shots on the Mac

I need to email a picture of a portion of my computer screen to include as part of an article I’m writing. How can I do that on a Mac?
Taking a screen capture of all or a portion of the screen is a common need when creating documents, and you have a ton of options on both Mac OS X and Windows. You can download and install a software package (such as our favorite, SnagIt,, which is not free),  but on a Mac, this is completely unnecessary unless you need fancy and specific features.
Mac OS X includes a built-in application for capturing all or part of the screen, named screencapture. You can access this utility from the keyboard or from the Terminal window. For example, to capture the entire screen and save it to a file on the desktop, press Command+Shift+3. To capture a portion of the screen to a file on the desktop, press Command+Shift+4. Add the Control key to those shortcuts, and you save the screen capture to the clipboard, rather than to a file.
Mac OS X also includes an application, in the Applications/Utilities folder, named Grab. If it’s easier for you, you can simply run that application, and use the menu items it provides to take screen captures.

If you don’t like the default keyboard shortcuts for capturing from the screen, you can open the System Preferences application, select the Keyboard settings, select the Shortcuts option, and then select the Screen Shots category. Here, you can modify any or all the keyboard shortcuts for capturing from the screen. For more information about capturing all or a portion of the screen, check out these useful articles:, and

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