Taking screenshots on a Mac

For the past few weeks, I’ve had to take a lot of screenshots on my Mac.  The MacOS comes with a default application called “Grab” that allows you to take screenshots. What’s annoying is that screenshot’s taken by Grab are automatically stored in .tiff format and there’s no way to store those images as .jpg or .png – formats that are more suited for web.

Some search on the net and I found some cool ways to take screen shots – which I’m documenting here just in case I forget them.

The most commonly use key combination for me is Command + Crtl + Shift + 4. This combination turns the mouse pointed into a cross which shows screen pixel count as we move it around.  With a mouse drag, I can select the area that I want to capture on the screen – while I drag, the cross shows pixel count of selected area. When I release the mouse, a shot is captured and stored in the clipboard. Now I just paste it where ever I require the shot – in Mail, Keynote etc. If I want to edit the screenshot, I open the default Preview application and press Command + N (or goto the File menu and select “New from Clipboard”). In Preview, I can edit the image, annotate on it and store it in various formats including PDF.

If I just want to select an area of the screen and store it as a .png file on the desktop, I can do that with Command + Shift + 4.

Sometimes, in both the above scenarios of selecting a screen area and either copying to clipboard or saving as a file, I don’t want to select an area but I want a clean image of a window, a toolbar or an icon only. These icon’s or windows have curved edges so selecting and clicking them isn’t a solution. In such cases, after selecting the key combinations mentioned above and when the cross appears, I press the space bar. This turns the cross into a camera. Now I can highlight and window etc. and get a clean image of that only.

If I need the entire screen captured and stored on the desktop as a .png, I choose Command + Shift + 3 and if I need the entire screen in the Clipboard instead of being saved as a file, its Command + Ctrl + Shift + 3.

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