Thoughts of an Eaten Sun

through the mind of kyle tolle

Taking Screenshots on OS X

There are several ways to take screenshots on OS X.

Some are covered in an Apple support article, but I’m never going to remember that page. So I’m going to make some notes here.

I’m a fan of keyboard shortcuts, so I’ll emphasize those.

You can capture the entire screen, a window, or use your mouse to select an area.

If you save a file, it will be saved to your desktop by default.


Save Screenshot of Entire Screen

To a File

Shift+Cmd+3

To Clipboard

Shift+Cmd+Ctrl+3


Save Screenshot of a Window

To a File

Shift+Cmd+4, Space, then use your mouse to hover over the window you’re interested in.

To Clipboard

Shift+Cmd+Ctrl+4, Space, then use your mouse to hover over the window you’re interested in.


Save Screenshot of a Portion of your Screen

To a File

Shift+Cmd+4, then use use the crosshairs to drag and select the portion of the screen you’re interested in.

To Clipboard

Shift+Cmd+Ctrl+4, then use use the crosshairs to drag and select the portion of the screen you’re interested in.


Clipboard vs Files

Capturing the screenshot to the clipboard instead of a file can make it faster and easier to use. You can paste the screenshot in your clipboard to Slack, GitHub, Messages and use it right away. No need to use the upload file dialog or drag and drop the screenshot.

Extending Screenshots

You can use apps like Dropbox or CloudApp to tweak your screenshot workflow.

Dropbox can save the screenshots to a Screenshots folder, instead of the desktop. And then it puts a shareable link into your clipboard. This can make it fast to share with someone else.

CloudApp can do something similar.