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How to screenshot on Mac?

Not sure how to take screenshot on your Mac? Want to take a timed screenshot without the shadows? We got you covered in our article, see how you can take screenshots on your Mac with a few simple clicks. Learn how to open the options for taking all kinds of different screenshots. Even if you are using an older version of macOS then also got you covered with the steps. If you want to take a short way then check out the video on our youtube channel.

We all know about screenshot since we take them all the time on our iPhones, but not so much on our Mac. There are multiple ways to take screenshots on our Mac which you may not know.

We are going to see how we can take screenshots easily and troubleshoot some of the problems related to screenshots. The steps will be the same for all of the Mac version and macOS versions. But older versions like Mojave (before 2018) will not have support for the screenshot option.

Along with core topics, we will also see how to edit the screenshots and where they get saved. You can skip any section where you feel like you already know the steps.

How to screenshot on Mac?
How to screenshot on Mac?

Methods to take screenshot on Mac:

There are different button combinations and programs we can use to take the screenshot. And here are all how we can take the screenshot:

Command + Shift + 3

We can use this key combination to capture (screenshot) the whole screen and you don’t have to do anything. If you want to have a particular section of the screenshot, then we can edit it later. In the later section, we will how to edit screenshot on Mac.

These screenshots will be stored on your desktop by default.

Command + Shift + 4

If you want to avoid editing the screenshot later then this is the best way to take a screenshot. Rather than the whole screen, you can select an area for the screenshot. A cross-hair will appear on the screen and with it, we can select the area. Follow the steps mentioned below to take a screenshot this way:

  1. Press Command + Shift + 4 and wait for the cross-hair to appear.
  2. Once it appears, click on the mouse and drag the cross-hair to the area you want to take the screenshot. And then click to grab the area and drag it.
  3. After this when you will release the mouse, the screenshot will be taken and stored.

Command + Shift + 5

This is perhaps one of the most useful features in the Mac when we click this button combination. A menu will open with different options related to screenshots, see down below:

  • Capture select area (Above method)
  • Capture selected potion
  • Capture entire screen
  • Record entire screen
  • Record selected portion

This feature was introduced in the Mojave 2018 and if you are using the macOS version older than it. Then you will not be able to use this feature unless you update your macOS version. We would recommend using “Capture selected portion” since we can adjust the dimensions according to our needs. The best way to know is to try, so try out different settings on your Mac to know more.

Tips for better screenshot on MAC

You can skip this section if you usually edit your screenshots later, but if not then we would recommend not to. Here we are going to see small things you can do to take better screenshots on your Mac. Follow these tips:

  • If you want to copy the screenshot to your clipboard, then tap on the Control key while taking the screenshot.
  • If you want to move the cursor horizontally while taking the screenshot, then tap and hold the Shift key.
  • When taking a screenshot of the selected area, leave all keys when cross-hair appears. And once you click the mouse, start dragging until you cover all the areas for the screenshot. Press the Space key to move the screenshot area.
  • If you want to cancel taking screenshots midway, then press the Escape key.

Where are screenshots saved on Mac?

This is a really important thing which we should know since taking and keeping screenshots is not the main aim. Now after the macOS version “Mojave”, the screenshots can be saved wherever we want them to be stored. But if you are using an older version of the macOS like “Grab”, then the screenshot will be stored at the default location.

Now we will be looking at the steps for changing the default save location of screenshots:

  1. Open your Mac, tap & hold the Command + Shift +5 key combination.
  2. After clicking combination, click on Options and find the folder where you want to save the screenshots.
  3. After selecting the location, click on the Save button to finalize.
  4. Keep in mind to select the folder/location which you can find easily.

How to choose dimensions of screenshot

If you are working on sites that require specific dimension images, then this will be a life-saving feature for you. But even if you are not looking to have specific dimensions then also you should know how to. Follow the steps mentioned below to choose dimensions:

  1. Open your Mac and press the button combination “Command + Shift + 4”.
  2. Once the cross-hairs appear, you will see some numbers there. These numbers are the pixels that you are currently pointing at with the cross-hair.
  3. Click and drag the cross-hair to select the area for your screenshot, the numbers will change as you move the cross-hair. 
  4. From the numbers, you will get an idea about the height and width, keep both of them safe to make a square screenshot. Drag it until you are satisfied with the screenshot area and then release it.

NOTE: If you want to change the area of the screenshot but keep the shape/box. Then tap Space before releasing the mouse key and then you can move the box around.

We use 1,600 x 900 as the default image size on Mac, if you want more settings then press Command + Shift + 5.

How to Screenshot a window without a shadow

If you don’t want to get distracted by the shadow in the screenshot then we got a simple fix for it. Simply follow the steps mentioned below while taking a screenshot:

  1. Start taking screenshots by pressing “Command + Shift + 4”.
  2. Once the cross-hair appears, tap the Space + Alt/Option key, the cursor should get highlighted in blue.
  3. Now the window below the cursor will become without a shadow and now you can take the screenshot as usual.
  4. If this does not work on the first try then repeat the steps, the key combination could be wrong.

Screenshot a dropdown menu

This is a tricky situation when it comes to taking screenshots of a dropdown menu. Since the menu will disappear as soon as you press any other key. But there’s a simple technique to handle this problem, follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. Start your Mac and open the drop-down menu which you want to capture/screenshot.
  2. Once it open, tap “Command + Shift +4 keys” and the cross-hair should appear.
  3. When it appears, tap on Space & take the cross-hair over the dropdown menu and click.
  4. After clicking you will get the screenshot of the dropdown menu, but the title of the menu will be missing.

NOTE: You can use the same steps to capture a screenshot of any component which disappears after clicking.

For example, you can take a screenshot of the dock without the wallpaper or any other distraction. We would suggest you try to capture using this trick once and decide for yourself if you like it or not.

How to take a timed screenshot

This is another neat trick which we can use to make our life easier, and save us from taking multiple screenshots. As the name suggests, we can time a screenshot, and then we can do what we want to do.

The main use of this feature is to capture screenshots when you are using software or want to time it perfectly. For example, you are using software and want to screenshot while opening a certain menu or widget. Most of the time, these widgets disappear as soon as you leave the program/software.

For newer macOS versions (Mojave and later):

  1. Open your Mac and tap “Command + Shift +5 keys”, click Options.
  2. A dropdown menu will appear with multiple options to take a screenshot, choose 10 seconds under Timer.
  3. Now pick the screengrab size, we would recommend using “Entire screen”, but “selected portion” and “selected window” options are available.
  4. You can start the timer and do your work as the screenshot will be taken automatically.

For older macOS versions (before Mojave):

  1. Open Grab (press Command + Space keys) and click on “Capture”, then on “Timed screen”.
  2. Now you can start the timer by clicking on “Start Timer” and a red dial will start near the camera icon.
  3. After the timer begins, you can do what you were doing and the screenshot will be taken automatically.

How to edit a screenshot on Mac

This is a very useful and helpful feature since it allows us to edit any screenshot without opening any application. Whenever we take a screenshot, a thumbnail will appear in the corner of the screen, also known as “Quick look”. If you click on the quick look, then you will be able to edit the screenshot with different tools like texts, shapes, and more. Follow the steps to open the edit tools:

  1. Open the file on the desktop and search for the screenshot which we just took, we saw how to find screenshots in the previous section.
  2. Once you open the screenshot, you should see multiple options at the top of the screen, do not open the preview.
  3. From the multiple options, select the icon with pen and circle, this will allow us to edit our screenshots. We can underline words, or mark images or text notes, and more. The best way to get familiar with all the options is to try them for yourself.
  4. If you are done with the editing, you can send it by clicking on the share icon. If you will click on the Share icon, you will see the mail option, message, add to photos, and more.

Why are my screenshots blank?

This is a very common problem that occurs when you try to take screenshots of the apps which does not allow you. The most common example would be that of Netflix. You must have noticed that if you try to take a screenshot on the Netflix app, it either does not allow you to take it or the screenshot is black. This is not a bug but a feature that keeps the content on Netflix safe from piracy.

This is not limited to Netflix since many payment apps also don’t allow you to take any screenshot until the transaction is complete. There is no direct solution for this problem however, you can try different apps which let you take screenshots.

If you are not using any such app and the screenshot is still blank then there must be a problem while capturing screenshots. You should try to take a screenshot again and this time the screenshot will not be blank.


In the article, what is a screenshot, and how we can take the screenshot on our Mac? Along with taking a simple screenshot, we also saw how we can take screenshots in another way. There are different options given by Apple to take screenshots on the Mac. If you are not sure about any of the steps then feel free to drop your query in the comment section. We are more than happy to help out our readers.

If you want to read more useful articles then check out our page.

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