How to take a picture of the Mac screen

On Mac it is not necessary to download additional applications to “photograph” the computer screen or portions of it. In fact, macOS integrates some tools that allow you to take screenshots, even of individual windows, and automatically save them on the Mac desktop, with the possibility of making changes and sharing them online.

In particular, I am referring to the Screenshot application which is installed as “standard” on all Macs and which, through a specific combination of keys or directly using the mouse, allows you to photograph the Mac screen with extreme simplicity. In addition, it allows you to choose the format and folder in which to save the screenshots and also to record the computer screen.

If it is exactly the tool you were looking for, I suggest you take five minutes of free time and dedicate yourself to reading the next paragraphs, in which you will find the detailed procedure for “capturing” the screen of your Mac. Screenshot application does not fully satisfy your needs, it will be my job to show you some additional applications that might be right for you. Happy reading and good luck for everything!


  • How to photograph the Mac screen with keyboard
  • How to photograph Mac screen without keyboard
  • Other solutions to photograph Mac screen

How to photograph the Mac screen with keyboard

The first solution that I recommend you to consider to photograph the Mac screen is the use of macOS keyboard shortcuts , through which it is possible to take a screenshot not only of the entire screen but also of a portion of it and of specifics. windows.

To “capture” the entire screen of your Mac, all you have to do is press the combination of keys cmd + shift + 3 : the sound of a camera shutter will signal you that you have successfully made a new screenshot which, automatically, it is saved as a PNG image on your Mac desktop (you can change the format by giving the command defaults write type jpgin the Terminal, where instead of jpg you have to insert the graphic file format you prefer; to make the changes effective, give the command killall SystemUIServer).

If, on the other hand, you want to “photograph” a single portion of the screen , press the combination of keys cmd + shift + 4 and, as soon as a viewfinder icon appears on the screen , hold down the left mouse button , select the area of your interest and release the button. Again, the screenshot is automatically saved to your Mac desktop.

Finally, I point out that you can also take a screenshot of a single open window . In this case, use the combination of keys cmd + shift + 4 , press the space bar , select with the cursor (which in the meantime should have assumed the shape of a camera ) the window of your interest and click on it to “photograph” it.

After taking any screenshot, you will see a thumbnail of it appear in the lower right corner of the screen. By clicking on the thumbnail in question, you will be able to edit or share the screenshot quickly: in the first case, all you have to do is select the editing tools (e.g. geometric shapes , text fields , arrows , etc.) located in the menu relating to the opened window, while to share it online you can click on the share icon (the arrow inside a square ), at the top right, and choose the sharing option you prefer.

If your intention is to “capture” the Mac screen in order to use the screenshot in a graphics program , in a text document or in any other file, you can follow the instructions I have just given you and then import it manually.

Alternatively, you can use the key combinations ctrl + cmd + shift + 3 and ctrl + cmd + shift + 4 which allow you to “photograph” the entire Mac screen, a portion of it or a single window without saving the screenshot. In fact, this will be kept in “memory” and, after starting the application or opening the file of your interest, you can press the cmd + v keys to paste the image into the target application or document.

How to photograph Mac screen without keyboard

If you don’t particularly like keyboard shortcuts, you’ll be pleased to know that you can “snap” your Mac screen using the macOS Screenshot application (also known as Screen Snapshot ), which allows you to take screenshots directly using the mouse.

To use the application in question, open the Launchpad by clicking on its icon (the one with the colored squares ) on the Dock bar, access the Other folder and start the Screenshot application by clicking on its icon (that of the camera ). Alternatively, you can also open it by pressing the key combination cmd + alt + 5 .

Now, select the option of your interest among those available in the toolbar that appears on the screen: Capture the entire screen to “capture” the entire Mac screen; Acquire the selected window to “photograph” a specific window among those open and Acquire the selection to take a screenshot of a portion of the screen to be selected manually.

If you have chosen to “capture” the entire Mac screen or a portion of it, all you have to do is click on the Acquire button , while to “photograph” a single window you can simply click on the window of your interest.

It will be useful to know that by selecting the options Record full screen or Record selection , you can also record the entire computer screen or portions of it. Speaking of which, my guide on how to record Mac screen may be helpful .

Finally, I would like to point out that by pressing on the Options item , you can adjust various advanced screen capture settings, such as the inclusion of the mouse pointer in the screenshots, the appearance of floating thumbnails after the screen capture, the setting of a timer to delay the capture, choose the folder to save the screenshots and other options related to the screen recording activity.

Other solutions to photograph Mac screen

How do you say? Would you like to know other solutions to photograph Mac screen ? In this case, you should know that there are several applications that allow you to make screenshots of the entire Mac screen, of individual portions or of specific windows. Here, then, are some programs to capture the screen that could be for you.

  • CleanShot X : is a great tool for taking screenshots and recording the Mac screen. It has an advanced editor and other interesting features, such as the ability to take full screenshots of web pages by scrolling. It costs $ 8 / month or $ 29 one-time without a free trial, but it is also included in Setapp , a subscription service (with 7 days of free trial) that allows you to use over 200 applications for macOS (and iOS / iPadOS, with a small surcharge) which would normally be paid for by paying a single monthly or annual subscription. I told you about it in more depth in my guide on how Setapp works.
  • Shottr: is a free application that not only allows you to “capture” the Mac screen, portions of it or specific windows, but also entire Web pages or entire chats by scrolling. In addition, it has interesting additional features, such as the ability to add annotations and remove parts of the screenshot, and advanced tools, such as the OCR system that allows automatic recognition of the text within the screen (a function that is still available “as standard “In macOS 12 Monterey and later).
  • Monosnap: in addition to allowing you to “photograph” the Mac screen, including individual portions and specific windows, this application has an advanced editor for editing screenshots. In the free version, it also offers 2 GB of space to store your screens online, while the subscription version (starting from 4.49 euros / month) allows you to have 10 GB of space and to connect other storage services, such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
  • ShrinkTheWeb: is an online service that allows you to capture entire Web pages and not just a portion of it. It’s free with the ability to activate a subscription Pro version that offers more features. To learn more, you can check out my guide on how to save a webpage as an image.

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