how to enable screenshot on mac

Snip snip 

When using a computer at work or at home, there are plenty of reasons that you might want to capture a screenshot. 

Maybe you want to capture an image that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to download. Or maybe you just need to show someone else what you’re seeing on your own screen. 

Thankfully, it’s incredibly easy to take a screenshot on your Mac. You can catch the whole screen, a window, or simply a selected part of the screen. 

Here’s how to enable screenshot on Mac computers using simple keyboard commands. 

Print screen option 

Back in the day, the print screen option on computers allowed a user to immediately send the current contents of their screen to whatever printer they had connected to their computer. 

As you might guess, this was a fairly limited feature, and it was really just an easy and relatively quick way to capture the contents of your computer screen and keep the page in your files or show it to someone else. 

It’s less likely that modern users want to print out the contents of their screen, but the full print screen option is still a common term. 

The shortcut to capture your full screen on your Mac into an image is COMMAND + SHIFT + 3. 

This is an easy keyboard shortcut that can be accomplished with just one hand by almost anybody. 

Keep in mind that this will capture the entire contents of your screen. If you didn’t want to capture the entire screen, you’ll have to edit the image later to get just the part you wanted all along. 

how to enable screenshot on mac

The alternative would be to use a different shortcut to enable a snipping tool that will allow you to capture just a small section of the screen, of your choosing. 

Capturing a selection 

If you only want to capture a selection of your entire screen, then you can enable a snipping tool by pressing the following keyboard shortcut: COMMAND + SHIFT + 4. 

When you successfully enter this key combination, in any window, in any program, your mouse cursor will become a small bullseye tool. This will let you more accurately see what you are selecting. 

All you need to do now is to click and drag this new tool across the area of the screen you would like to turn into an image. 

When you release, you should hear a camera snapshot sound in most cases, which signals that the image has been successfully saved. 

If you made a mistake and you want to try again, simple press the keyboard shortcut again and you’ll get your selection tool back. 

Find the screenshot on your desktop 

When you take a screenshot in Mac OS Mojave or later, a thumbnail of the screenshot appears briefly in the lower-right corner of your screen. Take no action or swipe the thumbnail to the right. 

The screenshot is instantly conserved to your chosen save area, which by default is the desktop.

Drag the thumbnail to move the screenshot to another location, such as to a file folder, an e-mail, a Finder window, or the Garbage. 

Click the thumbnail to open the screenshot. You can then use the markup tools in the toolbar to crop, turn, annotate, and take other modifying actions. Or you can click the share button to share the screenshot.

Hover your guideline over each button in the toolbar to see its function. If you do not desire the thumbnail to appear, click Choices in the onscreen controls, then use the “Program Floating Thumbnail” option to change the setting. 

Screenshot management in Mac OS Mojave or later are provided by the Screenshot app, which is in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.

By default, screenshots are saved with the name “Screen Shot date at time.png”. To cancel taking a screenshot, press the Esc (Escape) key prior to clicking to catch. 

To store the screenshot in the Clipboard instead of waiting, press and hold the Control key while you click to catch. You can then paste the screenshot into a file, message, or another area.

You can open screenshots with Sneak Peek, Safari, or other apps that can edit or see images. Sneak peek can export to various formats, such as JPEG, PDF, or TIFF. Some apps, such as DVD Player, might not let you take screenshots of their windows. 

Other options 

Please keep in mind that these methods are the default, built-in ways for you to take screen captures and screen grabs, as intended by Apple. 

If you have difficulty using keyboard shortcut commands, you can always access the Screenshots application through the Utilities folder, as mentioned above. 

However, if you still don’t want to use the common Mac tools for screenshots, there are also many different third-party applications and software packages that allow you to take screen captures in different ways. 

We would recommend strongly against using third-party applications if at all possible. Some of these programs may cost money, for one, while your Mac already has these tools built-in for no additional charge. 

Such programs could also potentially take up space on your hard drive that you may otherwise need for other programs and files. 

This is an especially important concern if you have a relatively small hard drive. 

how to enable screenshot on mac

Our advice would be to practice and master these truly simple commands. In just a matter of minutes or even seconds, you’ll be able to take great screenshots and partial screen captures, which can be a hugely effective tool, no matter where you’re using your computer. 

Another brief note we’d like to mention in closing is that you should try to keep track of how many screenshots you’re taking, especially if you take screenshots on a fairly regular basis. 

Yes, each image file can be quite small, but if you take a lot of screenshots, these small image files can really add up, leading to many problems including storage management issues, iCloud storage bloat, and even processing problems with your computer as a whole. 

Clean out screenshots you don’t need on a semi-regular basis by dragging them into the Garbage and then clearing out your trash often. 


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