Mac OS X Tip: Capture that image using simple keyboard commands

Posted by Mac Upgrade Store on July 10, 2014
Mac screen captures (or screenshots) are the fastest route around Photo Shop, especially if you’re graphics-impaired - and, really, who isn’t? With a screen capture, you can select any portion of anything visible on your desktop (an entire window or some image or text in the window), surround it and capture it and save it as an image file.

You can then import the shot into some other application that accommodates images. Careful, though, you need to pay attention to copyright restrictions and avoid using someone else’s graphic without permission.

Here’s an example of something you can do: Say you want to design a presentation for a client with graphics that include the client’s and your own logo. Piece of cake - just go the screen capture route and use the following Mac shortcut keys:

Capture the whole screen

Command-Shift-3 takes a complete screen shot and immediately saves it as an image file on your desktop. The default image format is PNG. You can change the image file format by opening the image in the Mac Preview application and doing another screen capture using the Preview/File/Take Screen Shot. Choose Save and select from the choices of file formats in the menu.

Capture just a part of the screen

Command-Shift-4 activates a crosshairs cursor and allows you to select a portion of your screen. Hold down your mouse while pointing to the top left corner of the area you want to capture. Then with the mouse still depressed, select a rectangular portion of the screen.

Select and capture an open window on the screen

Use Command-Shift-4, plus the space bar, and click on an open window on the screen. Use the camera icon to select the window you want to capture.

Take a shot of an open menu or dialog box in an active application on the screen

Before you execute the keyboard shortcut, prepare the shot by opening the menu first. Leave your mouse pointer resting on the menu command to keep the menu open. Then do the keyboard shortcut that meets your screen-size needs.

Save to the clipboard instead of the desktop

The previous commands result in an instant screen capture that is automatically saved to your Mac desktop. If you would like to save the shot to the Mac clipboard, just add the Control key to the combinations described above. The screenshot stays in your clipboard memory and can be pasted into any application that can accommodate image files.

Use the menu-driven Mac Grab utility instead

If you don’t want to remember those keystrokes, you can always use the Mac Grab utility. You’ll find it in the Applications/Utilities menu. It’s the icon with the scissors superimposed over a tilted desktop.

Go to the Capture menu at the top of your desktop screen when Grab is activated. To do a shot of an open menu, you’ll need to select the “Timed Screen” option, use the 10-second delay to open the menu shot, and then stop. Grab will catch up and take a shot of the open menu.