Mac Guide: 3 Ways to take Screenshot on Mac and Edit Them

Take Screenshots on Mac

Screenshots come in handy for various reasons. There are several tools available that help you capture screenshots and edit them. However, you don’t need to download any third party tool if you are using Mac OS.

In this article, we will learn about the three different ways to take screenshot on MacBook Air and MacBook Pro using the built in tools and features. In the next section, we will explore how to edit the screenshots using different options.

Option # 1: Use keyboard shortcuts to take screenshot on Mac

If you are a techie who is comfortable with the keyboard shortcuts, this option is for you.

How to screenshot a whole page on Mac?

  • Press Command – Shift – 3 to take screenshot of the entire screen on MacBook.

How to take a screenshot on your mac of portion of the screen?

Sometimes, you want to screenshot a portion of the screen. Here’s how to do it:

  • Press Shift – Command – 4.
  • The pointer turns to crosshair.
  • Drag over the portion that you want to capture.
  • Leave the cursor.
  • The screenshot appears at the bottom right corner of your desktop.
Screenshot of Selected Portion on Mac
Screenshot of Selected Portion on Mac

How to take a screenshot of window, covered by another?

If you have opened up too many windows and you want to take screenshot of a window that is not entirely visible on the screen.

Here’s the trick for you:

  • Press Shift – Command – 4.
  • The pointer turns into a crosshair.
  • Press the space bar.
  • The crosshair turns into a camera icon.
  • Hover it to any window, even if its covered by another window.
  • Upon hovering, the selection displays a light blue overlay.
Take Screenshot of Window at the back
Take Screenshot of Window at the back
  • Click and release the cursor.
  • The screenshot is captured.
  • When you open up the screenshot, you will see the complete window.
Screenshot on Mac
Screenshot on Mac

How to take screenshot of menu?

Screenshot of Menu

It is little tricky to capture menus because it goes away as soon as you click any other key. If you are finding a solution of how to take screenshot of menu, here it is:

  • Open up the menu that you want to capture.
  • Press Shift – Command – 4.
  • The pointer turns into a crosshair.
  • Press the space bar.
  • The crosshair turns into a camera icon.
  • Hover over the menu.
  • Click and release the cursor.
  • The screenshot is captured.

Option # 2: Use built-in ScreenShot Utility

Another way is to utilize the built-in screenshot utility for capturing screen on Mac. There are several ways to open up this tool. The quickest way is to

  • Press Shift – Command -5.
  • It will display the screenshot tool over the screen.
  • Use the tool to capture the screen, as needed.
  • The first three icons represent the capability to do the following:
    • Capture Entire Screen
    • Capture Selected Window
    • Capture Selected Portion
  • Once the screenshot is captured, it appears on the desktop
ScreenShot Utility on Mac
ScreenShot Utility on Mac

How to record screen on Mac?

Sometimes, screenshots are not enough. You need to record certain actions on the screen. Mac built in screenshot utility is a powerful tool that lets you record the screen.

  • The fourth and fifth icon from the left, gives you the option to do the following:
    • ‘Record Entire Screen’
    • ‘Record Selected Portion.
  • The video is recorded in .mov format.
  • It can be played in QuickTime Player.

Option # 3: How to Snip on Mac using Preview

Preview is a default tool in Mac that lets you preview PDF files, photos and images. You are probably interested in capturing any aspect of what you’re reading in a PDF or seeing in any other document. To do so, you might use the keyboard shortcuts or open the screenshot utility.

Interestingly, there is a ‘Take Screenshot’ feature available within the ‘Preview’ itself. Here is how to snip on Mac using Preview.

  • Go to the Menu bar.
  • Select File > Take Screenshot.
  • Choose amongst From Selection, From Window and From Entire Screen.
Take Screenshot using Preview
  • Once the screenshot is captured, it is opened.
  • You can edit the screenshot, as needed.
  • You can rename the screenshot and save it to your desired location.
  • You can select the desired format e.g. JPEG, PNG, PDF.
  • You can also delete the screenshot by clicking on the ‘Delete’ button.
Save Screenshot with Preview
Save Screenshot with Preview

Edit Screenshots on Mac

You have learnt three different ways of how to take screenshots on Mac. The next step is to understand how you can edit and tweak screenshots to help you complete your tasks.

Where to find screenshots?

The floating thumbnail for captured screenshots are immediately displayed on the bottom right corner of the desktop. It disappears from corner if you don’t open it for a couple of seconds. However, you can find the screenshots and screen recordings on the desktop.

If you are using Preview, you can specify the location for saving the snip.

Save Location in Preview
Save Location in Preview

If you are using screenshot utility, you can configure the destination location from Options.

Save Location in Screenshot Utility
Save Location in Screenshot Utility

How to crop a screenshot on Mac?

  • Open up the screenshot.
  • Click on the encircled A icon.
  • The toolbar will appear.
  • See the crop icon in the second last.
  • Click Crop.
  • Select the area to crop.
Crop screenshot on Mac
Crop screenshot on Mac

How to capture a menu or popup?

Sometimes, you need a couple of seconds to open up a menu or a particular action, say popup, that might disappear upon clicking a key. Here’s how to handle these scenarios:

  • Open up screenshot utility.
  • Go to Options > Timer.
  • Select an appropriate delay, say 5 seconds.
  • Click Capture to start timer.
  • Now, open up the menu or trigger the popup.
  • The menu or popup is captured.

How to annotate the screenshots?

Open up any image and you will see the built in markup capabilities. It provides you with several options. You can do the following:

  • Add some text to describe what is happening.
  • Add arrows or other shapes to point out details.
  • Make a sketch.
  • Crop the screenshot.
  • Resize the screenshot.
  • Rotate the screenshot.
  • Add signature using free hand text or upload an image.
Markup Toolbar
Markup Toolbar

How to rid off the floating thumbnail?

  • If you don’t want to see the floating thumbnail of captured screenshots, you can turn them off.
  • Go to Options.
  • Uncheck ‘Show Floating Thumbnail’.

How to copy Mac screenshot to clipboard?

There is a small trick that enables you to copy a screenshot directly to the keyboard. This might come in handy when you are in a hurry and want to paste the screenshot in the email or documents.

Simply, add control key to the keyboard shortcuts. For example, you want to capture the entire screen, do the following:

  • Control – Command – Shift -3
  • The screenshot is captured. You will hear the shutter sound.
  • Now, go to email or target document.
  • Command – V
  • The screenshot is pasted.

How to delete a screenshot?

There are several ways to delete a screenshot.

  • You can drag the captured image and drop it to the Trash icon on the dock.
  • You can select the screenshot and open up the context menu. Then, choose ‘Move to Bin’ from the menu.
  • If you are using Preview for taking a screenshot on mac, you can see the ‘Delete’ option when you review the details before saving it.
Delete Screenshot using Preview
Delete Screenshot using Preview
  • You can click on the floating thumbnail of screenshot and click ‘Bin’ icon on the top right.
Delete a Screeshot on Mac
Delete a Screeshot on Mac


There are several ways to capture the screenshot on mac. You can use keyboard shortcuts to capture the entire screen, a portion of screen or a window. Another option is to use ‘Take Screenshot’ option when you are already viewing any PDF or Image files using Preview.

Besides, Mac OS provides a built in screenshot utility to capture screenshots on mac easily. It comes with a bunch of options to help you cater to your editing needs.

In the next article, we will talk about different ways to open up screenshot utility.

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