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How to take a screenshot on Mac

Our simple step by step guide takes you through several different methods that you can use to capture a screenshot on a Mac. 

Capturing screenshots can be useful when reporting technical issues that your computer is experiencing, sharing images and a range of other uses. Luckily for Mac users, Apple’s system offers a range of straightforward ways to capture good screenshots.

Our guide will walk you through various methods, as well as when to use them. For example, you may want a screenshot of your whole screen or just a partial screenshot to transfer an image or message. There are handy ways to do both.

Related: Best MacBook 2020 – Which Apple laptop should you buy?

How to take a screenshot on Mac

If you want to take a screenshot of your entire screen:

  • Press Shift-Command-3
  • Find the screenshot on your desktop as a .png file

How to take a screenshot of a selected area of your screen:

  • Press Shift-Command-4
  • The pointer will become a crosshair
  • Move the crosshair to where you want to begin your screenshot, then drag your cursor to select an area
  • When you are sure that you’re happy with the chosen area, release your mouse or trackpad. Alternatively, press the Esc (Escape) key before releasing to cancel the screenshot
  • Find the screenshot on your desktop as a .png file

How to take a screenshot of a window:

  • Press Shift-Command-4
  • Then press the Space bar, and the pointer will change to a camera icon
  • Move the camera onto the window you want to screenshot, and it will become highlighted
  • Click your mouse or trackpad. Alternatively, press the Esc (Escape) key before clicking to cancel the screenshot
  • Find the screenshot on your desktop as a .png file

How to take a screenshot of a menu:

  • Click the menu, revealing its contents
  • Press Shift-Command-4
  • The pointer will become a crosshair
  • Drag the crosshair to select the menu
  • Release your mouse or trackpad. Alternatively, press the Esc (Escape) key before releasing to cancel the screenshot
  • Find the screenshot on your desktop as a .png file

How to take a screenshot of a menu, but not its title:

  • Click the menu, revealing its contents
  • Press Shift-Command-4
  • The pointer will become a crosshair
  • Press the Space bar, and the pointer will change to a camera icon
  • Move the camera onto the menu to highlight it
  • Click your mouse or trackpad. Alternatively, press the Esc (Escape) key before clicking to cancel the screenshot
  • Find the screenshot on your desktop as a .png file

How to take a screenshot of the Touch Bar (requires Mac with a Touch Bar, plus macOS Sierra 10.12.2 or later):

  • Press Shift-Command-6
  • Find the screenshot on your desktop as a .png file

All of your screenshots will be saved to the desktop in Mac OS X v10.6 and later. They’ll automatically be named ‘Screen Shot date at time.png’.

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