How to take a screenshot on Mac

Apple computers offer several options to save entire screens or individual windows: here are all the options we have available to take a screenshot on Mac.

Taking a screenshot on Mac is a simple operation but, especially during the first times of using this operating system and coming from the methodologies used by Windows, it can reserve some complications for less experienced users. Fortunately, some simple shortcuts are ready to help.

With a few quick key combinations and the use, if necessary of the mouse or trackpad, you can take screen snapshots to use within your documents. All this can be done without the use of tools, since Apple provides its users with multiple options to select the area of the Mac screen concerned as well as the window whose content interests us. In short, with just three keys and a few clicks you can have the screenshot that interests you on your desktop, ready to be used in any file or attached to an email. Let's see how.

Screenshot on Mac: full screen

Taking a screenshot of the entire screen on a Mac, regardless of the model or version of the operating system, is very easy and extremely fast. To have it immediately available on your desktop, just press the CMD - SHIFT (Shift) and 3 keys at the same time.

If the volume is on, the screenshot is accompanied by the sound of the camera shutter. Once you hear the sound, the snapshot is saved to your desktop.

Screenshot on Mac: Selecting the Area to Save

To take a screenshot of a certain area of the screen, the selection of keys to be used at the same time differs slightly from that of the full screen. In addition, you have to indicate the relevant section, in the shape of a rectangle, using the mouse or trackpad and the cursor.

The first step is to hold down the CMD - SHIFT (Shift) and 4 keys at the same time. Once this is done, the arrow cursor changes to a cross cursor with the coordinates of the current position on the screen.

Once you are on the first corner of the area you are interested in, you need to click or press the trackpad to start the selection. By holding down the key/trackpad and dragging the cursor to the opposite corner you can then complete the selection, release the pressure and save the screenshot to your desktop.

To reposition the selection area, keeping its shape and size unchanged, simply hold down the space bar before releasing the mouse/trackpad key.

To change the size of the selection, either vertically or horizontally you can use the SHIFT (Shift) key. Once you have indicated the box, before releasing the mouse/trackpad just hold down the SHIFT key: this will lock the left edge of the box and allow you to increase or decrease the width of the rectangle.

Releasing and pressing the same key again, you can do the same procedure fixing this time the upper edge. Once the correct size has been reached, you can release the pressure on the mouse/trackpad and the image will be saved on the desktop.

Screenshot on Mac: Snapshot of a Window

Saving a screenshot of a window is similar to selecting the area, as it involves pressing the same keys, but instead of locating the area using the pointer, you will need to use the spacebar.

Once you press the CMD - SHIFT (Shift) and 4 key combination, pressing the space bar will change the crosshair cursor to a camera icon. Moving it over the affected window, highlighted by the light blue color, simply click it to save the image of the content itself.

Screenshot on Mac: editing options

From macOS Mojave (2018) onwards, pressing the CMD - SHIFT (Shift) and 5 keys will allow you to open a control panel at the bottom of the screen to perform all capture operations. In addition, the Options button allows you to choose the folder for saving the new file, set a timer of 5-10 seconds to take the screenshot.

Screenshot on Mac: Touch Bar snapshot

Mac owners with Touch Bar can take a snapshot of this useful tool through the combination of CMD - SHIFT (Shift) and 6 keys.