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Guide to All Commands For Print Screen Mac

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Windows users are very familiar with print screen commands. They have a dedicated button on the Keyboard just for that!

In a bid to make things compact, Mac keyboards have cut down on the number of buttons from other standard keyboards. They accomplish print screen and other such functionality through a variety of keyboard shortcuts!

Today we will show you the various ways you can take screenshots of your Mac screen.

These methods will, of course, include some built-in programmes that are native to Mac OS X as well as other third-party applications that help you to perform a print screen in Mac.

So how to do a print screen on a Mac? Worry no more, for we have the answer for you folks right here!

Guide to All Commands For Print Screen Mac

The basic functionality of a print screen or screenshot as we call it in the world of Mac is to take an image showing the current status of the Mac with all the programmes running and create a unique image file on the desktop.

We can do this in multiple ways, with each number corresponding to a particular way of choosing which part of the screen will get captured in the screenshot!

 Mac-print screen shortcut
  • Command+Shift+3: takes a screenshot of the full screen (or screens if multiple monitors), and save it as a file to the desktop
  • Command+Shift+4: brings up a selection box so you can specify an area to take a screenshot of, then save it as a file to the desktop
  • Command+Shift+4, then spacebar, then click a window: takes a screenshot of a window only and saves it as a file to the desktop

In this way, the picture is taken and automatically saved into an image file! Pretty neat right?

However, if you don’t want it to be saved and rather have it copied to the clipboard so that you can use that later or in a different programme to edit it, you can also copy it to the clipboard.

We’ll show you how in the next method!

#2. How to Print Screen to the Clipboard on a Mac

Now while we know how to do a print screen Mac, we also sometimes need to do some other edits and stuff on the screenshot.

So if you want to take a print screen on a Mac and then save it to the clipboard, these are the commands that will come in handy!

  • Command+Control+Shift+3: take a screenshot of the entire screen, and saves it directly to the clipboard for pasting elsewhere
  • Command+Control+Shift+4, then select an area: takes a screenshot of the selection using the rectangular drawing box, and saves it to the clipboard for pasting elsewhere
  • Command+Control+Shift+4, then space, then click a window: takes a screenshot of a window as specified by the hovering snapshot cursor and saves that capture to the clipboard for pasting

Now if you guys have any trouble finding out the command key, remember that on some of the older Apple keyboards it used to resemble the logo of apple but nowadays all standard one has the same command key as shown in the picture below.

It’s the one key next to the spacebar on the left side.

Another thing worth pointing out is that screenshots that cover the whole screen will take a picture of all the screens in a multiple monitor setup. If you’d prefer not to do so, the rectangular selection method is a better bet!

So again, re-emphasizing the shortcut keys: Command+Shift+3 will print the screen to a file onto the desktop while Command+Control+Shift+3 will print the screen to the clipboard just like the Windows function works.

Now that you know the different ways in which both of them works, use whichever is the most useful to you in a given situation while doing a print screen Mac.

The Mac "Print Screen" Equivalent as seen on an Apple keyboard

Extra Tips On Print Screen Mac

#1. Get the exact coordinates on screen: When using the drag method top draw a rectangle onscreen on the Mac there will be two numbers appearing at the end of the crosshair. These are the on-screen coordinates of the pixels as we drag the rectangle across.

How to take a screenshot on Mac

#2. The print screen in Mac without holding onto the keyboard: Once the crosshairs appear you can let go of the keyboard keys.

Once you’ve clicked the mouse button and started dragging the cursor, press Space, and you’ll be able to move the selected area around. Hold Space and Shift and you’ll be able to move it horizontally only.

Press Escape at any time to abort the screengrab. No image will be generated or captured.

#3. Saving while moving the screengrab: Holding onto Ctrl as you drag the cursor will result in the screengrab being copied to the pasteboard.

That’s all from me as for today! Join us next time for another riveting discussion in the world of technology.

As for now, you can check out another one of our articles by clicking here! You can also leave your comments below, and we will be happy to resolve your doubts if you have any!


Aishwar Babber is a passionate blogger and a digital marketer. He loves to talk and blog about the latest tech and gadgets, which motivates him to run GizmoBase. He is currently practicing his digital marketing, SEO, and SMO expertise as a full-time marketer on various projects. He is an active investor in NewSmartWave and ImageStation.

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