Screen Shots on a Mac

Ever want to take a screenshot on a Mac? You can. The functionality is a little bit hidden though the functionality is incredible. The Mac has three varieties of screenshots. A screen shot can be taken of the entire screen, a rectangular portion of the screen or any window on the screen. Let’s explore how to do each.

The Entire Screen

This first option takes a picture of the screen, the whole screen and nothing but the screen (to date myself while butchering a Dragnet reference). To take a picture of the entire screen, press the keyboard combination -3. At that time, two things happen: (1)You will hear a camera shutter sound. (2) A new file will be put on the desktop with a title of the form Screen Shot at . For instance, the screen shot, Screen Shot 2012-04-19 at 8.06.49 AM.png, got taken at 8:06:49 AM on the nineteenth of April in 2012.

A Rectangular portion of the Screen

This option takes a screen shot of a rectangular portion of the screen. To take a picture of a portion of the screen, press the keyboard combination -4. The cursor will change to a cross hair:

Crosshair Cursor

At that point, click then drag out the area that you would like to capture. After dragging out the rectangular area, two things happen: (1)You will hear a camera shutter sound. (2) A new file will be put on the desktop of the rectangular area with a title of the form Screen Shot at .

There are a couple of options available for this style screen shot. First, to center a screen capture, hold down the

Camera Cursor


As the cursor is moved around, the current targeted window will turn blue. Upon clicking two things will happen: (1)You will hear a camera shutter sound (2) A new file will be put on the desktop of the current window with a title of the form Screen Shot at .

But Wait! If you act now!

Sometimes it is helpful to put the results of the screen capture on the clipboard instead of a external file. That is accomplished by adding the key to the key combination. These key combinations take a bit of finger stretching. So to put the entire screen in the clipboard, press -3. To put a rectangular region or window onto the clipboard, start with press ing the keyboard combination -4.