How to photograph the Mac screen

, Tech

You have just switched to Mac, you feel comfortable, but you have not yet managed to become familiar with all the functions of your new work environment. Now, for example, a friend has asked you to send him a screenshot of a Web page, and you – who on Windows were used to using the classic Print Screen key – find yourself in trouble because you don’t know how to do it. In this article, you can know how to photograph the mac screen?

Don’t panic, my friend! I’ll give you some good news right away: to make screenshots of the desktop, portions of the screen or individual windows on macOS. You don’t need to install any additional programs. You can do everything using the screen capture feature included in the operating system. If you want to know more and want to learn how to photograph the Mac screen, read on, you will find everything explained below and multiport hub.

I anticipate that it is really a no-brainer. You just have to memorize some key combinations from the keyboard and learn some terminal commands that, if you need them, could allow you to change the format and appearance of your screenshots. Time a few minutes, and then it will be all-natural, you will see.

Photographing the Mac screen

Are you ready to find out how to photograph the Mac screen? Well, then let’s get down to business! To make a screenshot of the full screen, all you have to do is press the combination of keys cmd + shift + 3 on the keyboard of your Mac and an image in PNG format with the “photo” of the desktop will be automatically saved on the macOS desk. The correct execution of the command is signalled by the reproduction of the sound of a camera.

To capture individual portions of the screen. You must instead press the combination of keys cmd + shift + 4 on the keyboard of your Mac. Mark the area of ​​the desktop to be “photographed” by holding down the left mouse button (and then releasing it to make the shot ). The same key combination should be used when you want to take a screenshot of a single window. But instead of selecting the portion of the screen to be captured with the mouse. Press the space bar on the keyboard and then click on the window to be “captured.” The image obtained will have a very professional shadow effect.

Suppose you use a version of macOS equal to or later than 10.14 (Mojave). After taking a screenshot. You will see a thumbnail of it appear in the lower right corner of the screen, by clicking on the thumbnail in question. You can edit or share the screenshot quickly.

To change the screenshot, all you have to do is select the editing tools (e.g. geometric shapes, text fields, arrows, etc.) listed at the top left of the window that will open. While sharing it online, you will need to click on the icon of the sharing (the square with the arrow inside) located at the top right.

Alternative method

Don’t you like keyboard shortcuts? Then go to the Mac Launchpad, open the Other folder and start the Screen Snapshot: this is another utility included “standard” in macOS that allows. You make screenshots on Mac using the mouse directly. It also allows you to make computer desktop videos, all in a matter of clicks.

The operation of Snapshot is extremely intuitive. Its toolbar contains various buttons: the first three allow you to create a screenshot of the Mac desktop. A single window or a portion of the screen. Follow the buttons to record a video of what is happening on the Mac screen or a portion of the desktop. Then there is the Options button, which allows you to adjust various advanced settings related to the capture of screenshots. It allows, for example, to choose whether to show the mouse pointer in screen captures. Whether to show the floating thumbnail screenshots after their creation. To set a timer to delay the screen capture and to choose the folder in which to save the screenshots. To take a screenshot with the Snapshot screen. Just choose the capture mode that best suits your needs and click on the Acquire button: that’s all.

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Suppose you use a version of macOS prior to 10.14 (Mojave).  You can take advantage of a reduced version of the Snapshot screen, which does not support recording videos and does not allow you to adjust the advanced preferences related to the capture of screenshots. Here’s how it works: after starting the application. Click on its icon in the Dock bar (the scissors ) and select one of the four options available in the Shooting menu, at the top left.

  • Selection to take a screenshot of a portion of the screen.
  • Window to take a screenshot of a single window.
  • Screen to photograph the entire Mac screen.
  • Screen with a timer to create a screenshot 10 seconds later than when you give the command.

When the operation is complete, a preview of the screenshot just taken will open. To save it, select the Save item from the Preview File menu at the top left.

If you want, in the screenshots made with Snapshot, you can also include the mouse cursor. To activate this function, select the Preferences item from the Snapshot menu (top left) and click on the style you want to apply to the cursor to be included in the screenshots (e.g. arrow or hand).

Save the screenshots to the clipboard.

You can also create screenshots and copy them directly to the system clipboard instead of saving them as images on the desktop. An operation that can be useful. When you want to paste the screens of a program on the fly or photos of the desktop in a text document, an ’email or in other apps.

To copy the screenshots to the macOS clipboard, just use it. The same key combinations were seen previously by adding the ctrl key to the latter. In other words, if you want to copy the desktop snapshot to the clipboard, you have to press cmd + ctrl + shift + 3, while if you want to capture a single window or a portion of the screen, you have to resort to the combination cmd + ctrl + shift + 4.

When the operation is complete, open the application in which to paste the screenshot (e.g. Mail, Pages, Notes) and press the key combination Cmd + v to paste the image into the destination document if you don’t want to use the key combination from the keyboard. You can also call the Paste command from the Edit menu or from the right-click menu. It’s the same thing.

Change the Mac screenshot format.

As mentioned above, by default, macOS saves the screenshots in PNG format by applying an elegant shadow effect to those that portray single windows. If you want, however, you can change these parameters using simple Terminal commands (utility similar to the Windows Command Prompt that you can find in the Other folder of the Launchpad). To change the file format in which macOS saves screen snapshots. Use the following Terminal command. Defaults write capture type formato

Instead of the term format, you must type the file format extension in which you want to save the screenshots: JPG, BMP, TUF, TGA, JP2, PICT, PNG and PDF formats are supported. The changes concern both full-screen screenshots and screenshots of individual windows and individual portions of the desktop.

To make the settings effective, you must give the command killall SystemUIServer. After this, all the icons in the Mac menu bar will be reloaded.

Note: the screenshots in JPG or BMP format do not have transparencies. They have a white background. To restore the creation of snapshots in PNG format. You can use the same command by typing the PNGin place of formato.


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Turn off screenshot shading.

Don’t you like the shadow effect that macOS applies to snapshots of individual windows? No problem. You can turn off shading with this command, which applies to all file formats.

defaults write com. Apple. Screen capture disable-shadow -bool true. To make the changes effective, issue the command kill all System UI Server. All the icons in the Mac menu bar will disappear for a moment. This instead, is the command to use in case you change your mind and want to restore the shadow. Defaults write co. Apple. Screen capture disable-shadow -bool false

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Change the name and destination folder of the screenshots.

By default, macOS saves all the snapshots on the desktop and assigns them the name “Screenshot” (followed by the date and time of creation). These parameters can also be changed easily with Terminal commands.

  • To change the destination folder of the screenshots, type defaults, write Screencapture location cartellawhere instead of cartellayou have to enter the full path of the folder in which to save the images. Suppose you don’t want to waste time manually typing the destination path of the screenshots. Drag the folder to the Terminal. Its path will automatically appear on the command line.
  • To set the default name of the snapshots. Give the command defaults write Screencapture name “nome file”where instead of nome file, you have to type the name you want to assign to the screenshots (if the name is made up of a single term, you can also avoid using quotation marks).

To make the changes effective, you must give the command killall SystemUIServerthat will reload all the icons in the Mac menu bar.

Change the key combination to photograph the screen on Mac.

Would you like to change the key combinations that allow you to photograph the Mac screen? There is no problem. Open System Preferences (the gear icon located in the macOS Dock bar) and select the Keyboard item from the window that opens.

Now move to the Abbreviations tab, select the Screen Snapshots item from the left sidebar and click on the key combination corresponding to the command you want to modify.

  • Save a screen snapshot as a file if you want to change the key combination to take a screenshot of the Mac screen.
  • Instant screen copy to clipboard if you want to change the key combination to copy the Mac desktop to the clipboard.
  • Save the selected area snapshot as a file if you want to change the key combination to “photograph” a single window or a portion of the screen.
  • Snapshot selected area to clipboard if you want to change the key combination to save a single window or a portion of the Mac screen to the clipboard.

After clicking on the key combination to be changed, press the new key combination you want to use, and you’re done. You will see the new keyboard shortcut appear next to the command name, instead of the old one.

In the case of second thoughts, you can restore the default key combinations (the ones I illustrated at the beginning of the tutorial) by clicking on the Restore default button located at the bottom right.

Edit screenshots on Mac

Once you are done photographing the Mac screen. You can quickly edit the screenshots obtained with Preview. The default software for opening photos and PDF files is also available in versions of macOS that do not allow you to edit screenshots “on the fly.” By clicking on the thumbnails that appear in the corner of the screen.

The operation of the software is extremely intuitive.  You can find all the main editing tools in the program toolbar and in the menu bar. For example, you can adjust the size of the images by selecting. The Adjust size item from the Tools menu or inserting lines. Squares and writings in the screenshots by first clicking on the briefcase icon (top right). Then on the desired tool in the toolbar that appears in the window of the software.


You can export your edited screenshot as a PNG. JPG or even PDF file by selecting the Export item from the File menu. Suppose you use a Mac macOS version or later than Lion. You can also count on the automatic save function that records all the changes made on an image directly on the original file.

To restore the old version of a screenshot after modifying it, go to the File> Restore to… menu of Preview and choose whether to restore the previous version of the file. Browse all the versions of the screenshot available for restoration.

So, you can try editing your screenshots with Evernote’s Skitch. In other words, a free application that allows you to photograph the Mac screen and edit screenshots with arrows, writings and more. The software is available on the Mac App Store and is extremely intuitive. You will not encounter any difficulty in using it.

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