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How to take a screenshot on a mac ( print screen on a mac)

There is no Print Screen button on a Mac Keyboard as you may find on Windows, but there are some advance options available that we can use to capture screens. You need to press certain key combinations in order to take a screenshot.

Here is how you can take a screen shot on a Mac (like what we call print screen on Windows)

1. To capture complete Window



  • Command Key (⌘) + Shift + 3

  • This will take a screenshot of the entire window (just like print screen works for Windows) and you will find the screenshot on the mac desktop.

    2. To capture selected portion of the screen



  • Command Key (⌘) + Shift + 4

  • When you press these combination keys a plus sign will appear with x and y co-ordinate indicators,you can simply select the area that you want to capture, again the screenshot will be available on the mac desktop.

    3. To capture an Application window



  • Command Key (⌘) + Shift + 4 , then hit spacebar

  • When you press 3 combination keys a plus sign will appear, then press spacebar, an Camara icon will appear when you click your mouse button, only the active window screen will be captured, the screenshot will be saved



    Capture Custom Portion of Window



    You would see that when you press any of the key combinations you hear a click sound and the screenshot image is stored by default on the desktop with a format Screen Shot YYYY-MM-DD at HH.MM.SS AM/PM with an .png extension (example Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 1.17.56 pm)

    If you want that the image should be copied to the Clipboard instead of being saved, you have the following key combinations to press.

    4. To capture complete window and Save as ClipBoard



  • Command Key (⌘) + Control(^) + Shift + 3

  • This will take a screenshot of the entire window (just like print screen works for Windows) and you will copy it to the Clipboard.

    5. To capture selected portion of the screen and Save as ClipBoard



  • Command Key (⌘) + Shift + 4

  • When you press these combination keys a plus sign will appear with x and y co-ordinate indicators,you can simply select the area that you want to capture, again the screenshot will copied to Clipboard.

    6. To capture an Application window Save as ClipBoard



  • Command Key (⌘) + Shift + 4 , then hit spacebar

  • When you press 3 combination keys a plus sign will appear, then press spacebar, an Camara icon will appear when you click your mouse button, only the active window screen will be captured, the screenshot will be saved to Clipboard





    Taking Screenshots without using a Keyboard



    Preview App

    If you do not want to use keyboard key combinations to take a screenshot (print-screen/screen capture) there is an option available using Preview App

      1. Goto Spotlight Search and look for Preview App and Open it

      2. Now you must see that Preview Menubar is loaded

      3. Now goto File -> Take a Screen Shot
      Preview Take Screen Shot

    There are 3 options available
    Preview App file save as extension options

      a. From Selection..
      This will make the cursor pointer as a cross-wire, when you click and drag a portion of the window gets selected and will be displayed with Preview App.

      b. From Window..
      When you select this option, your mouse pointer turns into a Camera icon and it highlights the selectable windows that are available on the screen, when you click, the selected window is captured and displayed with Preview App.

      c. From Entire Screen
      When you select this option, you would see that a message is poped-up at the center of the screen saying "Countdown to Screen shot has started" and after few seconds the entire window image is taken displayed with the Preview App.



    Advantage of taking a Screen Shot with preview App.



      There are a few advantages of taking a Screen Shot using the Preview App.

      1. It lets you edit the image on a go, before being saved. It lets you do some basic editing on the image like rotation, croping, adding text and so on ..

      2. You can save the image in formats other them Png like JPEG, JPEG-2000, OpenEXR, PDF and TIFF.




    Taking Screen Shots using Grab Application


    Grab App


    There is another application that lets you take screenshots, you may find it under /Applications/Utilities/

    How to use it,
      1. Open Grab (type Grab in Spotlight search)

      2. Now on the Grab menu, select Capture, you get the following options,

        a. Section
        b. Window
        c. Screen
        d. Time Section

        Capture using Grab



    Taking Screen Shots using Terminal



    This is for advance users.You can even take Screen Shots using terminal command screencapture.There are loads of options available to capture a screen, You can create your own custom scripts to take screencaptures.

    List of options available.

      -c : It will force screen capture as a clipboard instead of a file.

      -C : If you want to capture the cursor as well as the screen you can use this option

      -i : It will capture screen interactively,a cross-wire will appear and you can select a selection of the window.

      -m : This will only capture the main monitor.

      -M : It opens the taken picture in a new Mail message.

      -o : This will not capture the shadow of the window.

      -P : This will open the taken picture in a Preview window.

      -s : Allow mouse selection mode only.

      -S : capture the screen instead of the window.

      -t : Save image format to create, default is png (other options include pdf, jpg, tiff and other formats).

      -T : Take the picture after a delay of seconds, default delay is 5 seconds.

      -w : This only allow window selection mode.

      -W : This start interaction in window selection mode.

      -x : This will not play sound when screen shot is taken.

      -a This option will not capture attached windows.

      -r This option will not add screen dpi meta data to captured file.

      files : where to save the screen capture, 1 file per screen.


    Some Terminal Screen Capture Examples :



      1. screencapture -i ~/Desktop/myScreenCapture1.jpg
      screencapture using Mac OSX terminal command


      When you fire this command, mouse pointer will turn into a cross-wire (interactive mode) and you can select an area on the screen and this file will be saved as myScreenCapture1 with jpg image format extension on the desktop.

      2. screencapture -ix ~/Desktop/myScreenCapture2.tiff

      Now we have added -x option, so no sound will be played when the image is captured.

      3. screencapture -ixC ~/Desktop/myScreenCapture3.png

      Now we have added -C option too, so no sound will be played when the image is captured and even the Cursor will be captured in the image.

    Screen Capture in EditText App



      Screen Capture option is available with TextEdit, all you need to do is Right-Click and Select Capture section from Screen, the image that you capture with the mouse drag will be embedded to the TextEdit window at the cursor location.

    SceenCapture in TextEdit.gif



    Screen Capture in Mail App



      Screen Capture option is also available with Mail App, Right-Click and select Capture section from Screen, the image that you capture with the mouse drag will be embedded to the Email window at the cursor location.

    ScreenCapture in Mail App Mac OS X




    Changing Default Key Combinations for Screenshots Mac OS X



      If you want to have custom key combinations for screen capture, you can do so by going to System Preferences -> Keyboard

      Now go to Shortcuts tab and select Screen Shots, All the key combinations are available here, you can click on them to change them according to your custom needs.
      Changing default key combinations for Mac OS X Screenshots


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