Creating screenshots on the mac – this is how it works

Screenshots on the Mac

macOS knows several ways to capture the screen content. All shortcuts presented here apply equally to all operating system versions from OS X to version 10, if not mentioned otherwise.11 El Capitan and macOS version 10 and higher.12 Sierra, especially for the current operating system macOS 12 Monterey.

With these shortcuts you can take screenshots on your Mac or Macbook:

With Cmd-Shift-3 Create a screenshot of the complete screen content on Mac

With Cmd-Shift-4 take a screenshot of a selected area

With Cmd-Shift-4 followed by pressing the space bar take a picture of the selected window

With Cmd-Shift-5 take a screenshot of the activated window – and you will get a toolbar with additional functions.

With Alt-Cmd-3 create a screenshot with a delay of 10 seconds – but only within the "Screenshot" application.

With Alt-Cmd-6 you create a photo of the touchbar also with a delay – this also applies to the mentioned utility.

Screenshots on the Mac go quite simply. However, you can still get confused with the different types of screenshots. We show you how to do it.

But beside these standards you should know some more tricks. For example, you can change the format of the screenshot (ex works .png) or the storage location (ex works the desktop). The already mentioned tools do some work for you, in some programs there are some extras available. Read all the details here:

Taking screenshots on the Mac: photographing the entire screen

The easiest way to take a screenshot on a Mac is to use the key combination Cmd-Shift-3 – the complete screen visible at the moment of the keystroke is photographed.

Take a picture of the screen section on the Mac

If you want to have only a certain area in the screenshot, press Cmd-Shift-4 . The mouse pointer or cursor now becomes a crosshair with two numbers next to it, the coordinates of the point on the screen that the mouse is pointing at. This counts macOS from the top left, the upper number represents the number of the column, the lower number represents the number of the row. If you click with the mouse and drag a rectangle over the screen content of interest, you can see how the numbers change. This way you can photograph a certain section pixel-exactly, if you want to create a picture with 800 pixels width and 600 pixels height, for example. Here, too, the screenshot afterward shows the currently displayed screen content.

Using the shortcut CMD-Shift-4 you drag a selection up, the crosshairs inform üabout the pixels contained therein

There is one more special trick with the cutouts. Maybe you did not hit exactly the section you wanted to have. You can go back to the beginning, so to speak, if you now press the Esc key, but this is not necessary at all. Instead, after selecting a section, press the space bar and stay on it, you can now move the section freely on the screen with the mouse. Release the mouse button again, drag the section open and then when you release the mouse button your Mac will create the screenshot.

Photographing windows on the Mac

Presses one Cmd-Shift-4 and then the space bar , the cursor becomes a camera icon. Now you can take a picture of a specific window, which doesn’t even have to be in the foreground. It is enough to drag the camera icon with the mouse to the window in question. This one OS X highlights blue, clicking the mouse triggers the screenshot. By the way: If you have chosen a wrong key combination, tap the escape key once, the selection is deleted, but no photo is taken.

Save screenshots to the clipboard on the Mac

The Mac saves the screenshots as PNG images on the desktop, named "Screenshot [date] at [time]".png With the time more and more files accumulate, this serves neither the clarity nor the performance of the system, also the contents can be distinguished only with difficulty on the basis the file symbols. macOS does not write the screenshot to a file with the default name, if you hold down the ctrl-key, the screenshot will be copied to the clipboard.

If you now switch to a graphics or text program, you can paste the image from the clipboard into it. This way you can collect several screenshots in one document or name them correctly from the beginning. But of course the clipboard only takes one screenshot at a time.

Screen capture utility

The aforementioned shortcuts are so handy that hardly anyone still uses the "Screenshot" utility that comes with macOS uses. The can not only photograph the entire screen, a selected section or a specific window, but also offers a self-timer. Once activated, it shows a running stopwatch for ten seconds and then takes a picture of the entire screen content.

Screenshot is one of the utilities of Mac.  Advantage overüthe method of shortcuts: screen shot knows also  einen Timer und lässt beim Speichern die Wahl von Name, Ort und Format.  After work done ends itself the program by itself

In the time you can arrange in the Finder or in a program certain situations, which you would like to have documented – and which otherwise would not come on the photo, like further above the example with the selection and the crosshairs. Unlike the standard screenshot, the file created by screenshot is in the format .tiff before.

Magic context menu

Apple’s programs that let you create text and add images don’t have to be left to take a screenshot. From Pages, Mail, Notes and TextEdit, the screenshot utility does the job with the help of the context menu. If you press the secondary or right click (ctrl-click), you will see a context menu, in the text programs mentioned above, the penultimate entry is "Photo of selection from screen". If you select this, you can then select an area of the screen with the mouse, the screenshot made from it immediately ends up in the text.

Screenshot üover the context menuü, directly in Mail, Pages, Notes, TextEdit

Terminal for customized options

Not everyone finds the default PNG format for screenshots to be the most suitable, but it can be switched. Unfortunately macOS does not provide a system setting for this, you have to help yourself with the terminal. Tip one into this

macOS then creates screenshots in JPEG format. The second command terminates the service responsible for the screenshots, but it immediately starts again on its own.

Even in JPEG format photographed windows have a drop shadow, which you don’t always want to have. In graphics programs you can remove the shadow, but you don’t have to let the shadow be cast in the first place. Again, the terminal will help you with

If you want to take pictures of the shadow again later, just replace TRUE at the argument -bool with FALSE.

You can save the way to the terminal, if you want to take pictures of windows with and without shadows, the following trick helps: After selecting the window with cmd-Shift-4 and the space bar, hold down the Alt key while clicking the mouse. This way there will be no drop shadow in the photo.

The screenshots don’t always have to end up on the desktop, maybe you create your own directory in your user folder, let’s call it "Screenshots" and put it in our documents folder. Let’s type into the terminal ([username] stands here for the short form of the own user):

then from now on all screenshots will end up in the folder defined for this purpose. If it should be the desktop again, which takes our screenshots, we replace in the above command "Screenshots" through "desktop.

More tools for taking screenshots on Mac

For practically everything that can be set in the terminal, there is also a tool. The free Screenshot Path, for example, allows you to configure the location and format, the now equally free Screenshot PSD even puts the windows gathered on the screen into a separate layer each, even the hidden areas. In Photoshop they can then be treated separately. Screenshot PSD knows the timer as well as the Screen Capture utility. By the way, Screenshot PSD quits when you log off or turn off your Mac, so it’s worth putting Screenshot PSD in your startup items.

Professional requirements as a screenshot tool are met by Snapz Pro from Ambrosia. For each screenshot you have the decision about format, drop shadow, location, optionally you can also add a watermark. Moreover, the software names the screenshots after the programs whose windows it has mapped. In addition, Snapz Pro is also able to capture the screen – thus putting actions on the screen into a video. However, the tool has not been further developed for years.

For 10 euros, you get SnapNDrag, an easy-to-use app that helps manage screenshots. Screenshots end up in their own browser and can be edited, named and exported to another format.

Relatively expensive but feature-rich is Snagit 2021 from Techsmith , which costs 48,90 Euro one-time. A one-year maintenance contract costs an extra 12.23 Euros, but this includes a free update to the next version. But Snagit 2021 is much more than a tool for capturing screenshots and simple screen videos. In principle, the software can be used to record everything that happens on the computer, moving images, sounds of the system and external audio. Even Safari and Chrome tracks the shot while scrolling. With various easy-to-use tools you can edit the screenshots, add annotations and highlights – and share the result with a variety of programs. For professional use a good recommendation, for occasional photos or videos of course a little too big. We tested Snagit 2020 here.

Screenshots with Firefox

Most screenshots are taken from websites, this fact is now taken into account by the Mozilla organization and integrates into its browser Firefox a convenient and helpful tool. This one is called via the context menu "Take screenshot". Strictly speaking, however, one does not record the entire screen, but the contents shown in the Firefox window – without frames. There are several useful options: By dragging the cursor, you can create a specific section of a website, while the Firefox tool already recognizes page elements, so that it is sufficient, for example, to click once on an image or a column in the window. With two buttons in the upper right corner you have the choice to take a picture of the visible area or to put the whole webpage into one picture – very nice!

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