Whether it is a video call or an online lecture, we encounter moments when we need to capture our computer screen. Unlike in Windows and Ubuntu installed computers, Macs don’t come with a PrtScn key. But they do come with preinstalled tools to take a screenshot on Mac. In this article, we will look at how to take a screenshot on Mac in different ways.

Not a Mac user? Click here to know how to take screenshots in Windows

The easiest way to take a screenshot on a Mac is by using keyboard shortcuts. There are other ways such as using preview or screenshot app to take a screenshot on Mac, but the shortcuts are the easiest and the quickest. All the screenshots which are saved as images are saved as “Screen Shot [date] at [time].png.” on the desktop.

Using ‘Command+Shift+3’

The combination of keys Command+Shift+3 captures the entire screen on Mac and saves it on the desktop. This is the fastest way to get a screenshot of the entire screen as a png image.

Using ‘Command+Shift+3+Ctrl’

Sometimes, we need to take a screenshot on Mac, but do not need to save it as a png file. Use Command+Shift+3+Ctrl to copy the entire screen to clipboard. Then you can paste it in any image editing software or mail or any document.

Using ‘Command+Shift+4’

There are times when you need to take a screenshot on Mac, but not of the entire screen. The keyboard shortcut for this is Command+Shift+4. The pointer on the screen becomes a crosshair. Now, use the mouse to click and drag on the screen to select the area you wish to save as screenshot. These images are also saved on the desktop.

Using ‘Command+Shift+4+Ctrl’

Again, you may want to take a screenshot on Mac, but not of the entire screen and not as a png file. Then, use this shortcut Command+Shift+4+Ctrl. Similar to the above shortcut, the mouse becomes a crosshair and you will be able to click and drag to select the region to copy as screenshot, but now it will not be saved as a png file, instead, it will be copied to the clipboard.

Using ‘Command+Shift+4+Spacebar’

This shortcut comes in handy when you want to take a screenshot on Mac of a window and not of the entire screen. It is a bit difficult and imprecise to select a window using a crosshair. By clicking ‘Command+Shift+4+Spacebar’, the mouse pointer becomes a camera icon using which you can select a window and save it as a screenshot on Mac. These screenshots are also saved on the desktop in the given naming format. It might be difficult to hold all 4 keys together, so what you can do is to hold the first three keys, so that the mouse pointer becomes a crosshair and then press spacebar to make it a camera icon.


As usual, if you don’t want to save a screenshot on Mac, of a window in png format, use Ctrl key in addition to the previous combination. It is tough to hold all keys at once, so click Command+Shift+4+Ctrl first and let the mouse pointer turn into a crosshair and then press spacebar to make it a camera icon. This way the selected window is copied to the clipboard and you can paste it in an image editor, or mail or any document for that matter.

A screenshot preview (thumbnail)  will be shown at the bottom-right corner of your screen from which you can go to editing mode (only in MacOS Catalina or newer) for all the above methods. Also, if you do not want to take a screenshot when the mouse pointer is turned into a crosshair or a camera icon i.e., you wish to exit the tool without saving click Esc key.

Screenshot App

In macOS Mojave and newer versions, you can find an app called screenshot app in “other” folder on the launchpad. This app provides three different modes of taking screenshots on Mac with a wide variety of options such as whether the pointer is to be included, save as .png file etc.., It can be accessed from the launch pad, but the better way is to use keyboard shortcuts.


In continuation with 3 and 4, we now have 5, which is used along with Command and Shift opens the screenshot app. The toolbar comes with icons for different methods of saving a screenshot on Mac. Shown below is the toolbar with different icons and options to customize the Screenshot app.

  1. The first icon(highlighted one) is used to capture the entire screen.
  2. The second icon is used to capture a selected window.
  3. When you wish to save a region of the screen as a screenshot on Mac, go for option 3.
  4. The fourth option, the one after the dividing line is to record the entire screen.
  5. The last icon is to record a selected portion of the entire screen.

Click on Capture to take a screenshot on Mac or to record the screen on Mac.


By default, these screenshots are saved on desktop. Use options in the menu to change the folder to which screenshots are saved. Also, you can use Ctrl to copy the screenshot to clipboard instead of saving it as an image file. Click on the cross icon to exit the app without saving.


Grab is an app used to take screenshots in the older versions of macOS. It comes with a variety of features including time-delayed screenshots and customizable shortcuts. The shortcut Command+Shift+5 was used to launch grab in those versions. In the later versions from MacOS Catalina, it has been replaced by Screenshot app. The Macbooks with older versions can use this functionality to take screenshots.


If you are not the one who likes shortcuts, then use preview. Preview is preinstalled tool which can be used to take a screenshot in Mac. Open preview from finder or utilities, and click on the file in the menubar to access the dropdown menu. The dropdown menu has an option “Take Screenshot”, and further sub-menu containing options regarding the selection of region or window or entire screen for a screenshot is displayed when the mouse hovers over the option. Select the one you need and the screenshot gets saved on the desktop.


If you are using Macbook Pro with Touch bar, then all the menu options will be displayed on the OLED screen. The screenshot of the OLED screen can be taken using Command+Shift+6 shortcut.If you wish to take a screenshot from the terminal, use the command “screencapture”.

Having explored all the inbuilt avenues of a Mac to take a screenshot on Mac, let us put them to practice. While Apple comes up with varied options and shortcuts to customize the devices to cater to your needs, we come up with various reviews and articles to customize the content to cater to your needs.