How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac (Partial & Full Screen)

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac (Partial & Full Screen)

If you have been a Windows OS user and looking for a tutorial on how to take a screenshot on a Mac or you’ve been using MacBook and want to know different methods, then you’ve reached the right place.

Here in this post, I’ll explain different methods of taking a screenshot on your Mac.

I heard from quite a few people that Macbook is a bit difficult to operate but things are completely opposite to that.

The MacBook is much simpler and has more options to perform a specific task.

Here in this article, I’ll discuss several ways of doing the same thing differently i.e. How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac.

Why do you need to take a screenshot?

There could be hundreds of reasons why one would need to take a screenshot.

Whether you want to take a screenshot of the payment confirmation page that displays after you make an online payment Or you want to take a screenshot of other documents such as a keynote slide with important points Or you need to take a screenshot of a game score that you want to share with your friends on Facebook or Twitter.

To be specific, taking a screenshot of the live chat with a customer support executive of the company you have purchased any product from can have you some proof to show them later if needed. It happened to me! thankfully I had taken screenshots.

I ordered a Bluetooth speaker from this website (can’t disclose the website). When I got it home, I found the product was faulty.

I got in touch with the customer support team through online chat.

This man assured me of replacing the item with a new one. I took a screenshot of all my discussions with him for my record.

In the end, this man told me, they will send someone within one day to pick up the item and replace it with a new one.

Nobody came for two days and I called them over the phone to understand the matter.

This time they said they can’t replace the item and they didn’t commit to replacing it.

I showed them the screenshot and won the argument and they had to replace this faulty Bluetooth speaker.

So the purpose of taking a screenshot could be different for different people, I am not going into many details.

Whatever a person wants to take a screenshot on a MacBook, I’m going to discuss the easiest ways of doing so.

You can choose to automatically save the file on the desktop or copy it to the clipboard to edit it further using a photo editor before saving it as a final version.

How to take a screenshot on a Mac – 4 different methods

So there are several methods you can do this task but I’ll discuss the most common and simple ones.

These methods are for taking a screenshot of full screen or partial.

You can choose to save the file automatically in .png format or copy it to the clipboard to edit with a photo editor before finally saving it.

Method -1: Take a screenshot of the Full Screen & auto safe on the Desktop

In case you decide to take a screenshot of the entire screen, go for this option.

It will take the screenshot when you press the keys that I’m going to tell below and save the file on your desktop.

Let’s take a look at the process.

Step 1– Open files /documents that you want to take a screenshot of. By default, it will capture the whole screen irrespective of what you have on the screen and whether or not you want to capture everything.

So let’s open all those files and documents you want to include in this screenshot.

Step 2– Make sure the speakers of the Macbook are not muted.

Step 3– Now you need to press SHIFT + COMMAND + 3. When you do that, you will hear a photo-clicking sound that confirms a Screenshot on Mac has been taken.

Screenshot on Mac

Step 4– By default, the captured screenshot is saved on the Desktop in a format that looks similar to “Screen Shot YYYY-MM-DD at Hour.Min.Sec PM.png”.

Here, the YYYY stands for year, for example, 2017, MM for month & DD for the date of taking the screenshot.

It also includes time as you can notice in the sample file name format.

The PM will be replaced by AM if you take the screenshot before the afternoon.

So the general rule is, when you have done taking the screenshot, go to the desktop and look for the file that starts with “Screen Shot”.

In case you have taken multiple screenshots, you will then have to open the file manually and see which one you want.

By default, it saves the file in the .png file extension.

Also see: Best iOS Emulator for Windows

Method -2: Take a screenshot of the partial screen & auto-safe on the Desktop

Sometimes you don’t want to capture everything from the screen and need to find out a way to capture only the selected area.

If you have to do that, try this method.

Here you will be able to select an area that you want to include in this screenshot and autosave it on the desktop.

Step 1– So here again open the file/documents which you want to include in the screenshot.

You need to bring the file forward on the screen. Since you can select the area, you can leave other files open backward.

Step 2– Make sure your Macbook speaker is not muted.

Take a screenshot on a mac

Step 3– Now you need to press SHIFT + COMMAND + 4 and the curser of your MacBook will be transformed into a crosshair.

You can now select the area (documents/images) on the screen that you want to capture in this screenshot.

When the cursor becomes a crosshair and you start with selecting the area to be captured, click & hold and move from start to endpoint and release.

You will hear a clicking sound which means the screenshot of the selected area on your Mac has been taken.

The format of the screenshot will be the same as I discussed in the above method and the file will be saved in the .png file extension.

Step 4– Open the file to check whether it captured all the areas you needed.

You can always change the file extension to other formats through the file editor’s “save as” option but that is not recommended as saving a screenshot in other extensions might result in a loss of picture quality.

It becomes troublesome when the screenshot has tables and figures.

Method -3: Take a screenshot of the full screen & copy it to the clipboard

If you don’t autosave the screenshot on the desktop, follow this method.

In this method, the screenshot that you capture will get copied to the clipboard and you can use any picture editor to edit the file before saving it as a final version.

Take a look.

Step 1– Again, open the document or images you want to take screenshots of. Re-arrange the file exactly like you want to see in a screenshot.

Step 2– Unmute Mac’s speakers if it is muted.

screenshot copied to clipboard

Step 3– Now you need to press SHIFT + COMMAND + 3 + CONTROL keys. Again at the time of screenshot is taken and copied to the clipboard, you will picture the clicking sound.

Step 4– Open your favorite photo editor and press “Command + V“. The screenshot capture will be pasted into the picture editor. Edit it or simply save it, it is your choice.

Bonus Tip-

If you want to select the area to be captured and saved to the clipboard, replace the numerical key “3” with “4” in the above method.

Take a Screenshot with a built-in App

Method -4: Take the timed/regular screenshot of full/partial screen/window with GRAB (inbuilt application of Mac)

This is the easiest method I’ve ever seen to take a screenshot on a Mac. You can take timed screenshots with the GRAB app which is an in-built app in Macbook.

The GRAB app takes 10 seconds to take a screenshot of the whole window and open the captured screenshot in the GRAB app itself.

Apart from that, you can also take regular screenshots as well with this app.

How to find GRAB App?

Go to “Finder” and type Grab. The Grab app will pop up in the result. Click the app to start.

Alternatively, you can go to the search option on the top right corner of your Macbook screen and search for the Grab app.


How to take the timed screenshot

With the Grab inbuilt app, you can take the timed screenshot. Open the Grab app and go to capture as shown in the below image.

timed screenshot

When you select the “Timed Screen” option from “Capture” It will ask you to start the timer for taking a screenshot.

When you click the button, the screenshot of the window is automatically taken after 10 seconds. Wasn’t it super easy?


The Grab app can be used for taking regular screenshots as well as the “selection”, “Window” & “Screen” options that you see in the above image.

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