Today’s operating systems offer a vast array of different features, some of which users find essential, and some that are deemed non-essential but are still handy. One such feature is the ability to take a screenshot. There is a good chance that you probably have taken screenshots before, but have you ever wished that there was a better way to take them? Here are four tips for better screenshots on OS X.
1. Know the shortcuts
As a Mac user, you likely know that the system is shortcut heavy. From navigating, to switching screens, to even opening programs, there is a shortcut for almost everything, including screenshots. With OS X there are a number of shortcuts associated with screenshots, and it is worthwhile knowing them:
- Command + Shift + 3: Takes a screenshot of the entire screen.
- Command + Ctrl + Shift + 3: Captures the entire screen and copies it to the clipboard. If you select Paste in a program like a word processor, it should paste the image.
- Command + Shift + 4: Allows you to select the screenshot area and save it.
- Command + Ctrl + Shift + 4: Allows you to select the screenshot area and copy it to the clipboard.
- Command + Shift + 4 followed by spacebar: Captures an open window, folder, menu bar or desktop icon and saves it.
- Command + Ctrl + Shift + 4 followed by spacebar: Captures an open window, folder, menu bar or desktop icon and copies it to the clipboard.
With Command + Shift + 4, you can also press and hold the spacebar once you have drawn a shape to move it around and select a different area. Also, pressing esc will cancel the screenshot selection if you have say selected too big of an area.
2. Including the cursor
Sometimes you may want to capture the mouse cursor pointing at something within a screenshot. You can do this by:
- Opening the Utilities folder on your computer. The quickest way to do this is to hit Command + Spacebar and typing Utilities.
- Scrolling down to the Grab app and opening it.
- Selecting Grab from the top right of your screen, followed by Preferences.
- Clicking on the cursor you would like to show up in your screenshots.
When you take the screenshot, the pointer will appear where you left it when the screenshot was taken.
3. Using Preview to take screenshots
If you have documents or files that contain images or text stored on your hard drive that you would like to take a screenshot of, the shortcuts will work fine, but did you know that you can use the Preview app to take screenshots as well?
If you right-click on the file that contains the information that you would like to take a screenshot of and select Open with followed by Preview, you will see the file open in preview mode. Clicking on File from the menu bar along the top followed by Take screenshot will allow you to capture the image.
When using this feature, you can select either:
- From Selection… – Will allow you to draw a box to capture the screenshot.
- From Window… – Will save the whole open window.
- From Entire Screen… – Will capture the open window plus anything else on your screen.
4. Using the Grab app
Did you know that there is actually an app already installed on your computer that allows you to take screenshots? Most users rely on the shortcuts listed above, but these are actually related to the Grab app which is located in the Utilities folder.
If you open Grab (press Command + spacebar and type in ‘Grab’, select Grab under Applications), you can manually take screenshots using the app by:
- Clicking Capture.
- Selecting the type of screenshot from the drop-down menu.
The types of screenshot you can take with Grab include:
- Selection – Draw a box around the area of your screen you would like to capture.
- Window – Allows you to select a window to capture. Simply open the window and select Choose Window from the pop-up box.
- Screen – Will snap a screenshot of your entire screen.
- Timed Screen – Will start a timer then take an image of the screen in 10 seconds.
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