Since you are in this post , that precisely means that you are a newbie who has just recently migrated from Windows to an Apple device . So in this post, we will look into the steps required to take a perfect screenshot with your Macbook easily . So sit back and enjoy this post exploring the print screen Mac OS X functionality in easy steps.
So in Windows machine, if we recollect, for taking a screenshot we simply used to hit the ‘Print screen’ button right away present in our laptop keypad . After pressing the ‘ PrtScr ‘ button , we then have to open paint, then we need to press ‘ Ctrl + V ‘ , then it will display the screenshot and finally we will save it in whatever format we desire .
Now in any Apple’s product , in our case it is the Macbook , there is no such separate button present exclusively for print screen and taking screenshots. So initially you might think that this is a bad move , but trust me later you gonna realize that this step is well justified by Apple .
So without wasting your further time , let’s get started .
How to efficiently use the print screen Mac OS X Functionality ?
So you want to take a screenshot in your Mac device , then you started searching for the ‘ Print Screen ‘ button in the keypad , but unfortunately, it is not present .
The Apple devices indeed come with advanced and more thoughtful features as compared to its Windows counterpart (personal view) . Herewith click of the combination of buttons you can directly save the screenshot at your desired location in your Macbook .
So in your Macbook , you have to press a three buttons combination and it will automatically save your screenshot as an image format in some desired place already set by you.
Thus it completely eliminates the second step as we used to do in any Windows system (by using a photo editor tool like paint and converting the screenshot as an image file) , thereby saving your precious time.
In the three key combinations that you have to press all at a time , each button has a specified function . We will further divide this post into three parts (in the next section) .
The methods given here will work in every version of macOS or Mac OS X, moreover, there are few exclusive features present for the mac OS Mojave .
Screenshot On Macbook ( All the three types of print screen usage on Mac )
So in order to take a screenshot , the most generic way is to take the full-screen screenshot. So it eventually gives a print screen type functionality on your Mac device. The only difference here is that the screenshot will be saved at an already defined location in a specified image format asset by you.
The next type of print screen Mac functionality involves taking a screenshot of a specified region on your screen and not the complete screen .
This is really useful and this one is my personal favorite feature. Again the command will be different and you have to specify the exact region you want the screenshot to be saved .
Now comes the third and the final varied usage of the print screen Mac functionality, here you may want to take a screenshot of a particular application window and finally save it on the clipboard .
All these three types require a separate command in order to capture the desired screenshot you want to save. Now in the next section we will dig deep into each of these types one by one with all the required steps .
Steps To Print Screen In Any Mac OS X Device
So now we will look into the practical commands and steps to be followed for each of the types as mentioned above . Each shortcut for taking a screenshot will indeed use the pressing of the Command and Shift keys both at a time , followed by a number or another key .
We will initially start from the basic type (full-screen capture) and then eventually move towards the more advanced options .
Steps To Take Full Screenshot on Macbook
This is basically very similar to the print screen option present in the case of Windows. Here you want to take the screenshot of the complete screen ( the current screen in which you are working ) . The steps are really easy and simple to follow :
1. Press the key combination (all at a time) ‘ Command+ Shift + 3 ‘ , and then your Mac device automatically save the capture as an image file in the desktop (by default) .
On pressing the command, you will hear a sound like the shutter of a camera, and then in your mac OS , you will further get an option to preview the screenshot that appears in the bottom . You can then edit and crop your image before saving it .
So now you may want to take the screenshot of a specific area and not the complete screen . So if you want to take the screenshot of a particular portion of your screen then read further and go to our next point .
Steps To Take Screenshot of Specific Part In The Screen
So now you are interested to take the screen capture of some portion of your screen , and not the full screen , So for this you have to follow the below commands in your Mac device .
1. Hold the three key combinations i.e. ‘ Command + Shift + 4 ‘ , then you can see a cross mark (which is the ‘ + ‘ mark on the screen) . Then you can see the pixel coordinates on the right side . You then finally need to drag your mouse over the region which you want to save as a screenshot on your desktop .
On completing the selection (dragging) , you should release the mouse , also while dragging the mouse you can hit spacebar or shift to do some other advanced functionalities as seen later in this post .
Also if you want to again repeat the task of selecting the chosen region , you press the ‘ Esc ‘ button on the keypad and again repeat the steps to capture the screenshot of particular area in your Mac device .
‘Esc’ button should be used only if you want to cancel the screen capturing process . And while dragging the mouse over the desired area , if you press Space, then you can be able to move the selected area around . If you hold Shift , then you can move it only horizontally .
Steps To Use The Print Screen Mac Functionality For Capturing A Specific Application Window
Now we want to take the screenshot of a particular application window in our Mac device . For this we need to follow the below steps :
1. Hold the three key combinations i.e. ‘ Command + Shift + 4 ‘ , then you can see a cross mark (which is the ‘ + ‘ mark on the screen) . Then you can see the pixel coordinates on the right side . Then you have to press the spacebar in your keyboard , then the mouse cursor will change itself into a camera icon .
The exact sequence will be :
Command+Control+Shift+4, then space, then click the application window as required
Finally just move this camera icon on the application you want to take the screenshot (the window will be highlighted ) .
Then click your mouse , and then the screenshot of the selected window will be saved on your desktop . Thus it will take a screenshot of a window as specified by the hovering mouse cursor, and saves that capture to the clipboard for pasting .
Screenshots are saved by default to your device Desktop screen, although you can change where your screenshots are saved. Generally, your screenshot will save as a .png file , which you may want to open in Preview or a similar image editor tool (like paint etc), and then Save As with a different file type extension as required by you .
So for all of the methods as mentioned above , the image file will automatically save to your Mac’s desktop as PNG file (as opposed to a JPG), with a name like “Screen Shot xx-xx-xx“. The naming convention will be on the basis of the date and time respectively (when the screenshot captured) .
The solution to change the default file type for screen captures by using a simple terminal command . Every installation of Mac OS X includes the Terminal which you can find in Applications -> Utilities. Or use search to find “Terminal” faster.
Additionally, you can even set the image dimensions by changing the image pixels while capturing . You might already saw the pixel coordinates displayed while selecting the specific region in the method 2 above .
So if you want to have specific pixel dimensions, it will only allow you to take that specific measured image screenshot. While dragging your mouse cursor, just look into the image dimensions it is displaying and select the area accordingly .
How to Print Screen to the Clipboard on a Mac
Saving the screenshot on Macbook directly to the clipboard is indeed very similar to the Print Screen functionality we have seen in the Windows systems. So if you want to store the image in the clipboard so that you can paste it into another app or some other doc , these are the commands you have to use :
1. Command+Control+Shift+3: It will take the screenshot of the entire screen, and place it directly to the clipboard for pasting elsewhere
2. Command+Control+Shift+4, then select an area (as seen above): It takes the screenshot of the selected area using the rectangular drawing box , and saves it to the clipboard for pasting elsewhere
3. Command+Control+Shift+4, then space, then click a window: This will take a screenshot of a window as selected by clicking it using mouse , and saves that capture to the clipboard for pasting elsewhere .
Screenshot With Macbook ( Print Screen Mac Functionality ) – Final Thoughts !!
As I told in the beginning, the ‘PrtScr’ button was intentionally not given by Apple , and rather it provides the more advanced solution to fill this void functionality . So now by using several combinations of keystrokes in your Mac device , it is really easy to save a screen capture at a specific pre-determined location (in a specific format indeed) .
Once you understand the keystroke combinations , then you ideally realize that there is really no need to over-complicate the keyboard with unnecessary buttons (as in Windows PC) . Let us know in the comments section what you think and your doubts (if any) . Stay tuned for more exciting stuff.
Aric is a tech enthusiast , who love to write about the tech related products and ‘How To’ blogs . IT Engineer by profession , right now working in the Automation field in a Software product company . The other hobbies includes singing , trekking and writing blogs .