How to Print Screen on a Mac

How to Print Screen on a MacThe Print Screen feature on Windows is one of the most important tools for anyone in the business of sharing information and tutorials on the Web. It’s quickly becoming a popular tool for folks using social networks to ask questions about whatever it is that might be popping up on their screen. You can also use it to do quick-and-dirty cropping of photos to share with someone via email or social network.

So why don’t Macs have a Print Screen key? How do you replicate that functionality in OS X?

The answer is actually pretty simple. There are five keyboard shortcuts you can use to take different types of screenshots.

  • command + shift + 3: Captures the entire screen.
  • command + shift + 4: Captures an area of the screen.
  • command + shift + 4 followed by spacebar: Captures an entire window.
  • control + command + shift + 3: Captures the screen to the Clipboard.
  • control + command + shift + 4: Captures an area of the screen to the Clipboard.

Screenshots captured through these keyboard shortcuts and saved as image files are placed on your desktop. From there, you can modify and crop them further using Preview before sending them wherever it is you want them to go.

If you elect to save a screenshot to the clipboard, you can paste it to an image editor of your choice and modify it to your heart’s content.

Either way, this is how you do it on a Mac.

Do you have any OS X questions you’d like to see answered in a future article? Please leave a comment below and let us know!

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • Hammid

    Every Mac user not knowing AT LEAST [Cmd + Shift + 3] is a self-proclaimed noob.

    • http://twitter.com/benwatkinsart Ben Watkins

      that may be, however the question is obviously a widly disscussed question and so they just gave up and told them how.

      • Hammid

        I know! You’re right ;-)
        Just like to be that sleezy-a**-beßerwisser once in a while.

  • clasqm

    … And for some unknown reason, Apple included a second, completely different way to take a screenshot: an obscure utility called Grab. It saves its files in TIFF format by default.

  • Kyle Mueller

    CTRL + Command + Shift + 4 followed by space also captures an entire window and puts it on the clipboard