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How to Take Great Screenshots on your Mac

22nd August 2021

Jacob Woolcock



There are several ways to take screenshots on a Mac, from capturing the whole screen to getting a perfect screenshot of just a single window (complete with curved corners and a subtle drop shadow!). I prefer to use Keyboard Shortcuts to take screenshots, but there’s also a built-in app in macOS Big Sur. I’ll show you both in this new #QuickTips tutorial video!

Here’s a #QuickTip to help you get perfect screenshots on your Mac.

The first thing to know is there are two ways of getting screenshots on a Mac. You can either do it through keyboard shortcuts, which I find quicker, or you can use a built-in screenshot app. I’ll run you through both of these, starting with keyboard shortcuts.

The main shortcut to take a screenshot of your entire screen is Command-Shift and the number 3. Hold these three keys at the same time on your keyboard, and you’ll capture everything on your Mac screen. That screenshot will disappear down at the bottom right-hand corner, and from here, you can drag and drop that thumbnail, or you can wait for it to save on your desktop to use.

As you can see, I’ve captured everything on my page here in one screenshot super quickly. But sometimes, you actually want to take a screenshot just of a particular part of your screen—maybe an application that you’ve got open or even just an item on the menu bar.

For this, you can press and hold Command-Shift and 4, and when you press those keys, you won’t take a screenshot immediately, but you’re primed and ready to go! Your arrow cursor has now turned into a little plus sign, and you can click and drag over the part of the screen you want to capture.

Here, I’m going to drag a box just around the Keynote window itself, and then that screenshot will only have the application area that I’ve selected.

But if you’re after a screenshot of just a particular app, there’s another really helpful tip here that you’ll find handy. Press Command-Shift-4 just like last time, but before you click and drag a box, press the Space Bar on your keyboard. When you press that Space Bar, your cursor will then become a camera, and you can move that camera over any open application window to get a screenshot just of that app—and even better, your screenshot will be really lovely with a nice little drop shadow and round corners to make it look like a really professional screenshot.

Super quickly, the other way to capture a screenshot is to use the Screenshot Utility, so jump onto the Applications Folder and then open the Utilities folder. In here, you’ll find Screenshot. I’m going to drag that onto my Dock so I can use it easily, and when you click on there, you get a floating toolbar at the bottom of your screen.

From here, you have options to capture the whole screen or to capture part of it, just like we did with our keyboard shortcuts. Don’t worry about that floating bar either because any screenshot you take will not include that floating bar—it may as well be invisible.

And there you have it, how to screenshot really simply and really quickly on a Mac. For me, I always use the keyboard shortcut Command-Shift and then 3 or 4, but you may find the app easier. Either way, have fun screenshotting, and don’t forget there are hundreds more #QuickTips on my YouTube Channel to help you make the most of your Mac, your iPad, or your iPhone. So go on, check it out now, and make sure you subscribe. I’ll see you next time!

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