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How to Screenshot on Mac + Best Built In Tools

If you’re new to Apple products, or have just transitioned from a Windows PC, it’s not immediately clear how to screenshot on Mac. As well as showing you the four ways to take a screenshot on Mac, I’ll also show you 11 other useful MacBook shortcuts. You’ll be a pro in no time.

I’ll be showing you how to do this post MacOS Mojave update (MacBooks of 2018 and later). You can update to Mojave if your Mac is 2012 or later. If you have an older Mac, here’s how to screenshot on Mac pre-Mojave.

By clicking on the table of contents below, you can also jump right to the shortcut you’re looking for.

Table of contents

1. How to screenshot on Mac – (⌘ + Shift + 3)

Screenshot an entire mac screen
Screenshot the entire screen. Source: Apple

This takes a screenshot of your whole screen, including the top bar and all your applications.

Just to be clear, that’s these three buttons at the same time.

How to screenshot on Mac: capture your entire screen.
Source: OSX Daily

Taking an entire screenshot using command ⌘ + Shift + 3, is simple and useful.

But you might want a different technique to give less of your personal information away.

Luckily, Apple has built in a number of flexible alternatives and shortcuts on your MacBook.

Here they are.

2. Screenshot a portion of your screen – (⌘ + Shift + 4)

Screenshot a selection of a mac screen
Source: Apple

To protect your privacy and only show users a certain portion of your screen, you may want to customise your selection. You can do that by pressing command ⌘ + Shift + 4.

This will turn your cursor into a crosshair. Which looks like this:

When you press command + shift + 4, you'll get the Mac Crosshair
Macbook crosshair replaces cursor

Just to be clear, those buttons look like this:

How to screenshot on Mac: capture a specific selection.
Command + Shift + 4

You’ll be able to drag and select a portion of your MacBook’s screen, which on my screen looks like this:

Drag the selection of your mac you want to screenshot

When you let go, your screenshot of this portion of the screen will be taken, which looks like this:

Screenshotting a portion of your mac screen looks like this.

Here’s another example from Apple’s support website.

How to screenshot a selection  on your mac.
Source: Apple

Screenshot of a single window (⌘ + Shift + 4 + spacebar)

Screenshot a window of your mac screen
Source: Apple

This is almost the same command as above. If you also press spacebar it’ll turn from a crosshair into a camera icon and a selection of the entire window.

To cancel the screenshot, just press escape.

3. Screenshot options & screen record – (⌘ + Shift + 5)

For a range of easy options to take a screenshot on Mac, use the command ⌘ + Shift + 5.

It looks like this:

Bring up the Screenshot app with these three buttons
Bring up the screenshot app.

When you do, your cursor will turn into a camera icon and the Screenshot App will pop up in the centre of your screen.

The MacBook Screenshot App comes with a range of functionality, including:

  1. Three different types of screen capture
  2. Two types of screen recording
  3. Options to save your screenshot in a different place
  4. Delay timers on your screen recording

Let’s go through these one at a time.

First, bring up the Screenshot App using command ⌘ + Shift + 5.

The screenshot app on your mac

For a screenshot on Mac, just select one of these three options:

Take a screenshot on Mac with the screenshot app

You’ll be able to either:

  • Capture the entire screen
  • Capture selected window
  • Capture selected portion

(Pro tip: You can toggle between capture selected window and capture selected portion by pressing the spacebar.)

How to take a screen recording on your Mac

For a screen recorded video on your Mac, you can also select one of these two options:

Take a screen recording on Mac with the screenshot app

If you select either of these two options, you’ll be able to:

  • Record entire screen
  • Record selected portion

To take the screenshot or start the recording, simply press the cursor (which will have turned into a camera icon), or press the capture button.

The Screenshot App also allows you extra functionality.

Click the options menu and you can delay the recording on either a 5 second or 10 second timer.

Bring up the screenshot app options menu

From this menu, you can also change where your screenshots are automatically saved. The default is Desktop.

I will talk more about where screenshots are saved at the end of this section.

First, let me show you the final type of screenshot you can take on a MacBook: the touchbar.

4. Screenshot your Mac’s touchbar – (⌘ + Shift + 6)

If you’re writing a how-to guide, or showing someone how to use their touchbar functionality, you may want to screenshot your Mac’s touchbar.

In this case, you just need to press command ⌘ + Shift + 6, which looks like this:

How to screenshot on Mac: take a picture of your touchbar
Screenshot your mac toolbar

Your screenshot will look a little like this:

How to mark up your screenshots

If you’re using your screenshots to try and help people understand information, or guide them through a tip, you might want to consider marking up your Mac screenshots.

When you first take the screenshot, it’ll be shown in thumbnail form at the bottom right of your screen, like this:

Markup screenshots

Simply click the thumbnail. Along the top, you’ll have a user interface that looks a bit like this:

This interface allows you to draw arrows, outline useful information in boxes and annotate your screenshots how you wish.

It can be very useful in marking up your Mac screenshots to add value to the user.

Next time you take a screenshot on your mac, give it a go.

Where are Mac screenshots automatically saved?

Before we move on to other helpful shortcuts, here’s where to find the screenshots you’ve captured.

When you screenshot on Mac, it will be automatically saved to your Desktop as a .png file. It will have the following format:

  • Name ”Screen Shot [date] at [time]. png

You can change where your screenshots are automatically saved by bringing up the Screenshot App which we discussed a little earlier.

Just press command ⌘ + Shift + 5.

Screenshot App options menu

From the options menu, you can change where your screenshots are saved.

What are some other Mac shortcuts?

There are plenty of other incredibly useful Macbook shortcuts to get your head around.

In fact, Apple has built in shortcuts for almost every function you can imagine.

By having all of the relevant tools at your disposal, you’ll be able to:

  • Do better work using the best screenshots to highlight your point
  • Save yourself time by performing simple tasks instantly
  • Navigate your MacBook quickly and easily, ensuring everything is saved where you want it

I’ve already shown you the shortcuts for taking screenshots, so I’ll start here at number five.

5. How to copy and paste on a mac – (⌘ + c) & (⌘ + v)

To copy and past you need to highlight your text with your cursor.

You do this by clicking and dragging.

Here’s what it looks like on my screen:

Copy and paste mac shortcut

Once your text is highlighted, you just press command ⌘ + c. That will copy your text.

To paste it, just go to where you want it pasted and press command ⌘ + v.

6. How to make text bold on a mac – (⌘ + b)

To make text bold on a MacBook, just highlight it with your cursor like the step above. Then press command ⌘ + b.

7. How to select all on a mac – (⌘ + a)

To select all, just press command ⌘ + a.

8. How to make text italic on a mac – (⌘ + i)

To make text italic on a MacBook, just highlight it with your cursor and press command ⌘ + i.

9. How to undo an action on a mac – (⌘ + z)

If you make a mistake on a MacBook, just press command ⌘ + z and it’ll undo your last action.

To redo this action, just press shift + command ⌘ + z.

10. How to zoom in or out on your Macbook (& +) & (⌘ & -)

Sometimes, it’s useful to be able to zoom in and out on your screen, making your window bigger or smaller.

You might want to zoom out to include more information in your Mac screenshot.

You may want to zoom in to make the text larger or easier to read. Or to take a more detailed Mac screenshot, such as a button for instance.

To zoom in just press command ⌘ and +.

Here’s an example of my screen zoomed in to 250%.

Mac screen zoomed in to 250%

To zoom out, press command ⌘ and –.

Here it is zoomed out to just 50%

Mac screen zoomed out to 50%

As you can see, the writing is tiny.

However, if you were to screenshot on Mac, you might want to zoom out to fit in as much information as possible.

11. how to create a new tab on Mac – (⌘ + t)

Creating a new tab on Mac is simple: simply click the + button on the top right of your tabs.

Open new tab on Mac

However, there is an even easier way.

Just press command ⌘ + t.

The new tab will open on your top right.

12. How to create a new window on Mac – (+ n)

Sometimes when you have numerous tabs open, it can get confusing and you might want to open a completely new window instead.

Just press command ⌘ + n.

You’ll get a clean new window, just like this:

13. How to close a tab on Mac – (⌘ + w)

If you’re looking to close a tab with minimum effort, just make sure you’re on that tab and press command ⌘ + W.

This will save you having to do it all manually by clicking over the X on the tab bar.

14. How to send a doc to print – (⌘ + p)

You can send a doc to print on your MacBook just by pressing command ⌘ + p.

The print doc screen will pop up. Just click on print.

15. How to add emojis on a Mac – (^ + ⌘ + spacebar)

These days emojis are all the rage. We use them to communicate our moods and our reactions.

This comes from the way we communicate on social platforms, with emojis being a popular method of reacting to content.

Here’s how to bring emojis up on your Mac with a clever shortcut. Just press ^ + command ⌘ + spacebar.

Here is how it looks if I do it right now.

Shortcut to emoji menu on Mac

As you can see, you can easily add all the emojis you want! 😃

How to screenshot on Mac: final thoughts

Learning how to take a screenshot on a Mac is a useful trick to help you mock up pages or visuals for your audience. If you’re used to Windows products and aren’t familiar with macOS, I hope this article was useful to you.

If you’d like to discover another neat visual hack that allows you to mock up any webpage in seconds on both Microsoft and Apple products, you can read about that here.

In the meantime, try reading some of my other posts, including my ultimate guide on the best ways to make money from home.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. 😃