Taking screenshots in Mac OS X

Here is a quick FYI prompted by some recent emails we’ve received from readers:

In Mac OS X Tiger, use these shortcuts to take pictures of the screen:

⌘-Shift-3 (Command-Shift-3): Take a picture of the entire screen and save as a file
⌘-Control-Shift-3 (Command-Control-Shift-3): Take a picture of the entire screen and copy to the clipboard

⌘-Shift-4 (Command-Shift-4): Take a picture of the dragged area and save as a file
⌘-Control-Shift-4 (Command-Control-Shift-4): Capture dragged area and copy to the clipboard

⌘-Shift-4 then Space bar (Command-Shift-4 then Space bar): Capture a window, menu, desktop icon, or the menu bar and save as a file
⌘-Control-Shift-4 then Space bar (Command-Control-Shift-4 then Space bar): Capture a window, menu, desktop icon, or the menu bar and copy to the clipboard

By default, Mac OS X Tiger saves screenshots as .png files to the Desktop.

You can also take pictures of the screen using the Grab application (in the Utilities folder).

Use Bruce Phillips’ free Screenshot Settings 1.1 to change default location and file formats (bmp. gif, jp2, jpg, pdf, pict, png, psd, sgi, tga, tif) of your screenshots.

MacDailyNews Note: To record video and audio from the Mac’s screen, we use iShowU (US$20) from shinywhitebox.

[UPDATE: 1:54pm EDT: Revised default format to .png and added “Command” in parenthesis.]

45 Comments

  1. There’s a great widget for doing screen captures available for download from Apple’s site called “Screenshot Plus”. I use it to do technical documentation writing. It can do timed captured, windows, widgets, and import the pics directly into a program like iPhoto.

  2. I write loads of system books for companies and use Screen Grab a lot to produce the booklets… it’s just always been there for me, from OS 8 to OS X 10.4.8

    Now I’m doing a manual for InDesign on a PC… does anyone know if XP has this feature, or am I havin’ a laugh (to quote Ricky Gervais)?

  3. You can also hold a camera up to your screen and take a picture. Brilliant!

    Or, you can take a shot while in front of your screen…thus “screenshot”.

    I’m a genius.

    Microsoft is far better than Mac.

  4. Jim, In Windows, Print Screen will take a screenshot of the entire screen and put it in the clibboard ready for pasting. Alt+Print Screen will take a snapshot of the frontmost window only and put it in the clipboard.

  5. An easy way to change the format of your screenshots is to download the free copy of Cocktail, go to the Interface tab and select the ‘Misc’ option. You will then be given access to a drop down menu that allows you to choose from a range of formats for your screen shots. Works a treat!

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