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How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac

Taking a screenshot lets you save text, share images, and show tech support what you see on your screen. You can take a screenshot of your entire screen, a portion of your screen, a single window, and more. Here’s how to take a screenshot on your Mac using keyboard shortcuts in several different ways.

How to Take a Screenshot of the Entire Screen on a Mac

To take a screenshot of the entire screen on your Mac, press the Command + Shift + 3 keys on your keyboard at the same time. You will then see a small preview in the bottom-right corner of your screen. If you do nothing, your screenshot will be saved to your desktop.

How to Take a Screenshot of the Entire Screen on a Mac

If you click the preview icon, it will open a photo editor with a toolbar at the top of the window. This allows you to draw on your screenshot, add a shape, insert a signature, add text, and more.   

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If you wait for a few seconds, your screenshot will be saved to the desktop as a PNG file. You can save your screenshot faster by clicking and dragging it off the screen to the right. It will then be saved to your desktop instantly.

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If you want to find out how to change where your screenshots are saved on your Mac, check out our step-by-step guide here.

How to Take a Screenshot of a Portion of Your Screen on a Mac

To take a screenshot of a portion of your screen on a Mac, press the Command + Shift + 4 keys on your keyboard at the same time. Then your mouse pointer will turn into a crosshair. Finally, click and drag your mouse to draw a box around the area of your screen you want to capture.

How to Take a Screenshot of a Portion of Your Screen on a Mac

Once you let go of your mouse or trackpad, your Mac will take a screenshot of everything inside the box you drew.  

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You can also take a screenshot of a single window by pressing the Space Bar once after you press the Command + Shift + 4 keys on your keyboard. This will turn your mouse pointer into a camera icon.

Then left-click your mouse on any window to take a screenshot of it. You can tell which window you will capture because it will be highlighted in blue. This will even work if you are taking a screenshot of a window that is behind other windows.

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Note: If you press and hold the Option key while you left-click on a window, your screenshot won’t have any border around it.

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How to Use the Screenshot Toolbar on a Mac

To use the screenshot toolbar on a Mac, press Command + Shift + 5. Then select one of the buttons in the toolbar at the bottom of your screen to take a screenshot of your entire screen, a portion of your screen, or a window. Finally, click the Capture button, hit Enter, or left-click your mouse.  

Note: These steps will only work if you are running macOS Mojave or later software versions.

How to Use the Screenshot Toolbar on a Mac

Once you press the Command + Shift + 5 keys on your keyboard at the same time, you will see a screenshot toolbar pop up at the bottom of your screen.

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The first button in the toolbar will let you take a screenshot of your entire screen. Once you press this button, it will change your mouse pointer into a camera icon. Then you can click the Capture button in the toolbar, hit Enter on your keyboard, or left-click your mouse on any part of the screen.

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The second button in the toolbar lets you take a screenshot of a window, just like you can with the Command + Shift + 4 keyboard shortcut. Once you click this button, hover your mouse over the window you want to capture and left-click on the window or hit the Enter key on your keyboard.

How to Use the Screenshot Toolbar on a Mac

Note: You can also hold down the Option key as you take a screenshot of the window without a border.

The third button on the toolbar lets you take a screenshot of a portion of your screen. Unlike the Command + Shift + 4 keyboard shortcut, clicking this button will make a dotted box appear on your screen. Then use your mouse to reposition the edges of the dotted box around the portion of the screen you want to capture. To take the screenshot, you can click Capture or hit the Enter key on your keyboard.

How to Use the Screenshot Toolbar on a Mac

Finally, you can click the Options button in the toolbar to change where your screenshots are saved, set a timer for your screenshots, and more.

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Now that you know how to take a screenshot on a Mac, check out our step-by-step guide on how to record your Mac screen.

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Updated on August 31, 2021

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