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Whenever I attempt to take a screenshot on the second monitor, it fails silently. Is this possible, or do I have to move whatever I want to take a picture of onto the first monitor?

  • Using Snow Leopard
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You can do this easily with the grab utility found under Applications -> Utilities.

There are 4 capture modes: Selection, Window, Screen, Timed Screen. If you select the Screen mode, grab will tell you to select the screen you wish to capture.

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That isn't working for me either – Casebash Jan 13 '10 at 2:54
What about Command-Shift-4 then Space. It will allow you to select a window on any screen. Does that work? – John T Jan 13 '10 at 2:56
I can select the window and it works on my main monitor, but not my secondary – Casebash Jan 13 '10 at 3:14
What about screencapture -i from the Terminal? I've never seen this behavior before. – John T Jan 13 '10 at 3:31
Doesn't work on the second monitor either :-( – Casebash Jan 13 '10 at 4:23

Below are the key combinations for screen captures, copied from

In my experience the most general purpose is cmd-shift-3, which makes multiple files on your desktop if you have multiple screens.

Press Cmd-Shift-3 to create a picture file on your hard drive, in the PICT graphics format, that depicts the entire screen image. A satisfying camera-shutter sound tells you that you were successful. (The file is called Picture 1. Each time you press Cmd-Shift-3, you get another file, called Picture 2, Picture 3, and so on.) You can open this file into SimpleText, Photoshop, AppleWorks, or another graphics program, in readiness for editing or printing.

Press Cmd-Shift-4 to turn your cursor into a tiny + symbol. Now drag diagonally across the screen to capture only a square chunk of it. When you release the mouse, you hear the camera-click sound, and a Picture 1 file appears on your hard drive.

Add Caps Lock to the Cmd-Shift-4 keystroke to turn your cursor into a bullseye symbol. Now you can capture only one window or dialog box - after you click inside it. This trick saves you the trouble of cropping out unnecessary background details in your graphics program

Add Control to either of those keystrokes if you want the resulting image to be copied onto your Clipboard, ready for pasting into (for example) Photoshop or AppleWorks, instead of creating a PICT file on your hard drive.

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Cmd-Shift-3 is still only showing one monitor – Casebash Jan 13 '10 at 4:20
Note that on Snow Leopard, names of screenshots will be formatted like: "Screen shot {date} at {time}" which is really nice because then you can easily tell when the screenshot was taken. – Kevin Yap Jan 13 '10 at 5:32
Those guidelines, while still somewhat accurate, date from the pre-Mac OS X days. Note that screenshots are now saved in the PNG format, with a different naming scheme (files still are saved to the Desktop, but the exact file name depends on the version of OS X). Also, you don't use Caps Lock to capture specific screen elements, you hit Space Bar after hitting Cmd-Shift-4. – mipadi Jan 13 '10 at 6:17

This stopped working when OSX added that feature where the Doc jumps from monitor to monitor. Whatever they did messes up the ability to take screen shots after you move your laptop between single/multi-monitor setups.

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