How to Print Screen on a Mac, 6 different ways to capture screen on a Mac

If you are reading this tutorial it means that you have recently switched from Windows to Mac and you can’t find “Print Screen” button on your keyboard. Don’t look any further because there is no such thing as a “Print Screen” button. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t create a print screen on your Mac.

Apple designers think that “Print Screen” button is unnecessary and takes up too much space on keyword. Instead of using separate “Print Screen” button you can use 3 different keyboard combination shortcuts, depending on the screen capture variation you want to take.

I will show you all three ways to do a print screen, or screen capture on a Mac:

How to Print Screen to the Clipboard on a Mac (Windows world equivalent)

With this tutorial you will get a Windows equivalent Print Screen. This will save a Print Screen to clipboard and you will be able to paste it into photo editor or other apps. Here is how you can get it done:

Capturing the whole screen (or screens if multiple monitors are used)

  • Press the Command + Control + Shift + 3 (for older Mac versions use Apple key ⌘ + Shift + Control + 3) all at the same time. It will take screen capture of the entire screen and saves it to clipboard for further use. You can now use it by pasting it to other apps.

How to print screen on Mac

Capturing a selected area of your screen

  • Press the Command + Control + Shift + 4 (for older Mac versions use Apple key + Control + Shift + 4) all at the same time.
  • You will notice that cursor changes to +
  • Now drag a box around the section that you want capture on print screen and release the mouse button
  • Now screen capture is saved on clipboard for further use in apps
How to print screen on Mac

Capturing a selected application window

  • Press the Command + Control + Shift + 4 (for older Mac versions use Apple key + Control + Shift + 4) all at the same time.
  • You will notice that cursor changes to +
  • Now press the spacebar (the longest button on your keyboard) and you will notice that cursor changes to a camera.
  • Simply click on the window you want to capture.
  • And again the screen capture will be saved to clipboard for further use

How to Print Screen to a file in Mac

This is something you can’t do on Windows without an app but is very useful because you don’t need to open photo editor to save screen capture.

Again there are 3 different ways to create a “print screen” and save it to desktop:

Capturing the whole screen (or screens if multiple monitors are used) and save it to file

  • Press the Command + Shift + 3 all at the same time. It takes screenshot of the whole screen and saves it as file to the desktop. The file is named ‘Picture _’
How to print screen on Mac

Capturing a selected area of your screen and save it to file

  • Press the Command + Shift + 4 all at the same time.
  • You will notice that cursor changes to +
  • Now drag a box around the section that you want capture on print screen and release the mouse button
  • Now the print screen is saved to desktop as file ‘Picture _’

Capturing a selected application window and save it to file

  • Press the Command + Shift + 4 (for older Mac versions use Apple key + Control + Shift + 4) all at the same time.
  • Now press the spacebar (the longest button on your keyboard) and you will notice that cursor changes to a camera icon.
  • Simply click on the window you want to capture.
  • Screen capture is now saved on your desktop as ‘Picture _’

These are all the options for how to print screen on a Mac but I believe you won’t use more than two or three of them but now you know where to find instructions.

Which option do you prefer to capture a print screen on Mac?

Thanks printscreenmac.info for this great tutorial!

Other Mac Tutorials: 

1. How to show hidden files on Mac

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