Mac Tutorials

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac

There’s no Print Screen button on your Mac keyboard, which makes it seem harder to take a screenshot than it is using Windows. But in fact, there are several ways to take screenshots on a Mac, with and without using your keyboard.


In this guide, we’ll show you how to take screenshots of your entire Mac screen, particular app windows, or your selection areas of your screen.


Before we start

After learning how to take a screenshot on your Mac, you might find that your internal storage quickly becomes clogged with all the additional screenshots you start saving.  


Have no fear, you can always use MacKeeper to clean up your Mac storage with just a few clicks. The Safe Cleanup feature runs a deep scan to remove junk files that you don’t need and is an easy way to free up more space for screenshots.

How to take a screenshot on a Mac using keyboard shortcuts

The quickest way to take a screenshot on a Mac is by using one of the keyboard shortcuts below. Luckily, they’re all pretty easy to remember. But if you don’t want to memorize any shortcuts, we’ll show you how to use a Screenshot app later on.

Take a screenshot of your entire Mac screen

Press Shift + Command + 3 to take a screenshot of your entire Mac screen.


A screenshot preview appears in the bottom-right corner, which you can click to make instant changes to your screenshots. Otherwise, wait for the preview to disappear and the screenshot will save to the Desktop as a PNG file.

Take a screenshot of a selected area of your screen

Press Shift + Command + 4 if you only need to capture a part of your screen. Your cursor will turn into a crosshair. Click and drag to select the area you want to screenshot and let go of the mouse to capture it.

capture part of a screen

If you change your mind after dragging your selection, press the Esc button on your keyboard to reset it and start again.

Take a screenshot of a particular app window

Press Shift + Command + 4 and then hit the Space bar to take a screenshot of particular windows on your Mac. Your cursor should switch from a crosshair to a camera icon. Hover your cursor over different windows to highlight them, then click to take a screenshot.

take a screenshot of particular windows

This option captures an isolated screenshot of a particular app window, including a drop shadow and a transparent background so you can place the screenshot over anything you like.


Alongside app windows, you can also use this shortcut to take a screenshot of the menu bar, the Dock, the Desktop, and even any drop-down menus you’ve got open.

How to take a screenshot on a Mac without using a keyboard

If your Mac keyboard isn’t working, or if you don’t have the energy to memorize a bunch of new shortcuts, you can still take screenshots on your Mac without touching a keyboard.


To do this, simply open the Screenshot app.


You can find the Screenshot app by going to Applications > Utilities in Finder, opening the Other folder in Launchpad, or by searching for it with Spotlight.

launchpad other folder

If your keyboard works, you can also open the Screenshot app by pressing Shift + Command + 5.


After opening the Screenshot app, click the icons at the bottom of the screen to choose whether you want to:

  • Capture Entire Screen
  • Capture Selected Window
  • Capture Selected Portion
screenshot app Big Sur

Then use your cursor to click or click-and-drag on the part of the screen you want to capture.


At the bottom of the Screenshot app, you’ll also find options to start a video recording of your Mac screen or a portion of it.  


You can also open the Options menu to set various Screenshot settings, like choosing the save location, setting a timer, or deciding whether you want your mouse pointer to appear in screenshots.

Using Preview to take screenshots

If you don’t like using the Screenshot app, you can also use Preview to take a screenshot on your Mac.  


To do so, open the Preview app as you normally would using Finder, Launchpad, or Spotlight. Then go to File > Take Screenshot from the menu bar.


Choose from the three screenshot options below, then click or click-and-drag to capture your screenshot:

  • From Selection
  • From Window
  • From Entire Screen
menu bar take screenshot option


How do you change the default screenshot save location on a Mac?

Mac screenshots save to the Desktop by default, which can lead to it getting pretty cluttered if you need to take a lot of screenshots at once.  


Here’s how to change the default save location for your screenshots to avoid filling up your Desktop:

  1. Press Shift + Command + 5 to open the Screenshot app
  2. Open the Options menu
  3. Under the Save to section, choose a destination or click Other Location to choose a different folder
screenshot app

How do you save copy Mac screenshots to the clipboard?

Rather than saving all your screenshots to the Desktop, or another destination, you can also choose to copy screenshots directly to the Mac clipboard, allowing you to paste them into a document or web form you’re working on.


This is particularly useful if you don’t want to save the screenshot, you only want to use it quickly right now.


To copy a screenshot to the clipboard on your Mac, press Control while capturing the screenshot. Then press Command + V in any other app to paste the screenshot.

How do you take a snapshot of the Touch Bar on MacBooks?

If you want to take a screenshot of the Touch Bar on your MacBook, all you need to do is press Shift + Command + 6. This screenshot will capture whatever buttons appear on your Touch Bar at the time you captured it.


Now you know all the best ways to take screenshots on your Mac. Most of the shortcuts are easy to remember — especially seeing as they’re so similar — but if that’s not your style you can always open the Screenshot app instead.


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