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How to take screenshots in Mac OS X?

On Windows, I just hit PrtScrn. On my MacBook, there is no such thing.

What utility/app can I use for screengrabs?


Using keyboard shortcuts:

  • Whole screen: Command Shift 3

  • Selection: Command Shift 4, then click and drag a rectangle

  • Window: Command Shift 4, then press space, click a Window

All screen shots will appear on your desktop. To save the screenshots to the clipboard instead, you need to hold the Control key.

Using Grab.app:

There's a built in tool with the Mac OS X called Grab in your /Applications/Utilities folder.

It allows you to make a timed screen shot as well as select the cursor shown on the screen.

Making video captures:

Snow Leopard allows for video capture from the screen by using Quicktime Player X. Select File > New Screen Recording, and press the record button.

Third party tools

There exist many third party utilities that do the same as the above and some offer some nice features like an album system or a built in video editing suite. I'm sure a web search can help you if you need any more direction.

  • 2
    Holding the Control key down in addition to the other 3 keys listed by Kio will copy the desired screen capture to the clipboard instead of saving it. Handy if you don't want to clutter your desktop. Mar 21 '10 at 4:55

Several options are available:

Command-Shift-3: Full screen in a file on the desktop
Command-Shift-4: Selection in a file on the desktop


Add CTRL (Ex. Command-Control-Shift-3) to have the shot written in the clipboard instead of a file on the Desktop.

Tap Space bar to switch from selection mode to window mode.

  • More thorough answer, but not as quick. +1
    – Moshe
    Mar 17 '10 at 14:18

You can get these answers by searching for "Screenshot" in Mac Help as well should you happen to forget the key combinations some time, so you can find them again easily, and even offline.


I find Skitch to the best application for taking and sharing screenshots - Skitch.com

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