How to take a screenshot on a Macbook

6 ways you can take screenshots on your Mac

Person using Macbook

Taking a screenshot is a simple way to capture an image of whatever your Mac is currently displaying.

There are several ways to take a screenshot on a Macbook, depending on your needs. Whether you want to capture a specific portion of the screen, the entire screen, or just a particular window, Apple’s macOS provides easy-to-use tools to help you take a screenshot efficiently.

In this guide, we will walk you through the different methods available for taking screenshots on a Mac, so you can easily start capturing images of what’s on your screen.

Using keyboard shortcuts (shift + command shortcuts)

How to take a screenshot on a Macbook
You can use keyboard shortcuts, such as Command + Shift + 3 or Command + Shift + 4, to capture the entire screen or a specific area, respectively.

How to screenshot an entire screen:

Press command + shift + 3

This method will capture the entire screen, including all open windows, and save the screenshot as a PNG image on the desktop.

Click the thumbnail in the corner of your screen to edit the screenshot. Alternatively, you can wait for the screenshot to save to your desktop.

If this keyboard shortcut doesn’t work, you’ll need to check to see if the cmd+shft+3 is enabled under Keyboard system preferences: Keyboard Shortcuts: Screenshots.

How to screenshot a specific area of the screen

Press command + shift + 4

This approach will change your mouse pointer to a crosshair, allowing you to select a specific area of the screen to capture.

Then you can place the crosshair pointer where you want the screenshot to begin. Press and hold the mouse or trackpad button while dragging over the area you want to capture, and then let go of the mouse or trackpad button when you’re done.

The screenshot will get saved on the desktop as a PNG image. You can choose what to do with the screenshot by clicking on the floating thumbnail option.

How to screenshot a window

Press command + shift + 4, then hit the space bar

This method will change your cursor to a camera, allowing you to select a specific window to capture. Once you have chosen the window with your cursor, the screenshot gets saved on the desktop as a PNG image.

You can press the Esc key to cancel the screenshot if you press the wrong key or change your mind. By default, the screenshots will get saved on the desktop with the naming convention “Screen Shot [date] at [time].png.”

Using the Screenshot app

Screenshot is a built-in tool for taking Mac screenshots. Current and recent versions of macOS (Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, Monterey, and Ventura) all come with the Screenshot app pre-loaded.

Go to Applications > Screenshot and double-click on its icon to open it. Alternatively, you can press Shift + Command + 5 to open the Screenshot app.

Once you open ‘Screenshot’, you can choose the type of screenshot you want to take, such as a selection, a window, or the entire screen. After taking the screenshot, the image will get saved on the desktop as a PNG file.

To change the default location of saved screenshots in macOS Mojave or later, you can go to the Options menu in the Screenshot app.

Using third-party apps

Many third-party apps out there can help you take screenshots on a Macbook. These screenshot tools provide an easy-to-use interface for capturing screenshots and offer additional features such as annotation, editing, and cloud sharing.

Some popular screenshot tools for Mac include CloudApp, Lightshot, Snagit, Nimbus Capture, and Skitch. The location where the screenshot gets saved will differ depending on the app you use.

Some apps save screenshots to the desktop, while others store them in a designated folder within the app.

Save screenshots to your clipboard

Press Command + Control + Shift + 3 to capture the entire screen, or press Command + Control + Shift + 4 to capture a specific screen area. You can then paste the screenshot directly into any application supporting image pasting.

Scheduling a screenshot

You can schedule screenshots at a specific time using third-party apps like Nimbus Screenshot. Once you take a screenshot, it will automatically get saved to a predetermined location on your Mac. This feature is handy for capturing screenshots of specific events or pages at a particular time.

Changing the screenshot file location

The default location for saving screenshots in macOS Mojave or later is the desktop, with the filename “Screen Shot [date] at [time].png.” This naming convention makes identifying the screenshot and when you took it easy.

However, if you prefer to save screenshots in a different location, you can use the Options menu in the Screenshot app. To customize the default location for saving screenshots, follow these steps:

  1. Access the Screenshot app by pressing Command + Shift + 5. Alternatively, you can find the Screenshot app when you open the “Utilities” folder.
  2. Locate the Options button on the right side of the menu bar and click on it.
  3. Look for the “Save to:” option in the Options menu and click on the drop-down menu.
  4. Select “Other Location” for a new folder to save your screenshots.
  5. A Finder window will appear, allowing you to choose the folder to save your screenshots.
  6. After you have selected the folder, the Screenshot app will automatically save all screenshots to that location.

An alternative method is to drag the screenshot’s thumbnail that appears after taking a screenshot to a desired folder or document. This method lets you quickly save the screenshot to a specific location without going through the Screenshot app’s Options menu.

In both cases, the screenshots get saved in your selected folder, making it easy to find and access them.

Recording video of a Macbook screen

This method allows you to record your Mac’s screen, not just take screenshots. To begin recording your screen using the QuickTime player, follow these steps:

  1. Open QuickTime player.
  2. Go to File > New Screen Recording. This will open a small window.
  3. Select the area of the screen that you want to record.
  4. To begin recording, click on the red record button.
  5. Once you’ve finished recording, click the stop button, and the recording will get saved as a .mov file on your desktop.

Let’s recap

Taking screenshots on a Macbook is a quick and easy process that you can accomplish in a number of ways depending on your preferences and needs. You can use keyboard shortcuts, such as Command + Shift + 3 or Command + Shift + 4, to capture the entire screen or a specific area, respectively.

You can also use the Screenshot app or third-party screenshot tools to take screenshots with more advanced features.


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