MacMost Now 769: Quick and Simple Screen Capture

You don't need any special software to quickly and easily capture your Mac's screen. With some simple keyboard shortcuts you can grab the whole screen, or a portion. You can save it to have a file, or copy to the clipboard to paste into an email message or document.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let me show you how to quickly and easily take screen shots on your Mac.

So before I show you how to do this I want you to go to the Apple Menu and then go to System Preferences. Under there go to Keyboard and then Keyboard Shortcuts. Then look at the list on your left and click on Screen Shots. Now this will show you the keyboard shortcuts that I'm going to talk about. The reason it is important to do this is because that sometimes these can be different. Somebody could have changed them, you could have changed them and a lot of times when I tell people how to do this they say it is not working simply because they have changed the keyboard shortcuts.

So take a look here. This is also a handy way to remember the shortcuts is to go here. You can see that Shift/Command/3 and Shift/Command/4 are the primary commands. Shift/Command/3 will capture a picture of the entire screen. Shift/Command/4 will save a picture of a selected area. Now if you add the Control key to this then you actually copy the screen to the clipboard or copy the selected area to the clipboard. So it's important to remember the Control key modifier after the Shift and Command.

So I've opened up this little Finder window so that we have something to capture. I'm going to use the simplest command, Shift/Command/3. It is going to capture the entire screen and save it to the desktop which is going to be in a file right below me there. I'm going to move it over so you can see it. You can see the file name says Screen Shot and the date and time. I can double click on it and it should open up in Preview here. You can see it as a window. I can shrink it down so you can see it more clearly. It's actually a png file you can see that. Which is a good lossless format to be able to save these screen shots. I can use Preview here to actually export it to something else if I wanted to.

Now let's use the variation that saves it to the clipboard. So I'm going to add Control to it. So I'm going to do Control/Command/Shift/3. I'm going to get that same sound effect of a picture being taken but no file is going to appear.

Now I can go to an imaged editing program like I'm going to open up Pixelmator here and I'm going to create a new document and you can see the width and height of the new document fit what is in the clipboard. Then if I Command/V to paste in there you can see it will paste in that screen shot.

Now what's really handy about sending a screen shot to the clipboard is that I can go into Mail here. Say I am composing a new mail message and I can paste the screen shot into my mail message there. So I can tell somebody this is what I am seeing when I use your website or use your software and give them a message about a problem or maybe show them how to do something.

You can also, of course, paste into other things such as Pages or Microsoft Word. So it is a really easy way to get something you see on your screen into a document that you are working on without creating an access file that you need to get rid of later.

Now to use the other option Command/Shift/4 what happens is that I get a little crosshair cursor here. I can quickly grab a section, release and you can see I get another screen shot but this one is only of that area that I had selected.

Likewise I can go to the Clipboard by using Control/Command/Shift/4. Then grab a section. So say if I wanted to show somebody what files I had here I can get that section right like that, switch to Mail where I'm composing an email message and paste that graphic in there.

If you want even more functionality you can run the Grab tool which is in your Application Utilities Folder. There you can Capture the selection in the Screen as before. But you have two different options here. One is to capture a Window. So I can select that and hit choose window and then select that window and I get this entire document's window here without having to exactly select it.

The other is a time screen capture which is useful if you want to capture a menu or things going on. You can set it to do a time screen capture. It will start the timer, you can select different things like in the menu right here and then you can see actually when the clock finishes here it will capture the screen. You can see it captured it with that menu dropdown.

But for most needs all you need to do is to learn those keyboard shortcuts and its really easy to capture a piece of your screen, paste it to an email and send it to somebody.

Hope you found this useful. This is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 9 Responses to “MacMost Now 769: Quick and Simple Screen Capture”

    Tripp Frohlichstein
    10/3/12 @ 2:14 pm

    A quick way to catch just a single window without going to Grab as is explained on the video. Instead, hold command-shift-4 and then press the spacebar. The crosshairs turn into a camera. Move it to the window you want and click. Very easy and convenient. By the way, MacMost Now is a wonderful service. I am going to buy your Pages book just because I want to contribute something to you, Gary, for all the great information and videos about a wide range of topics we care about.

      Bill Toney
      10/6/12 @ 6:45 am

      From comment: “I am going to buy your Pages book” – What “Pages” book for purchase are you referring? I too, would like to buy something from Gary.

    Squafdonoboles
    10/4/12 @ 1:30 pm

    This is great info! Grab has never worked for me. Once again, I wish we could get a compilation of these videos on a DVD.

      10/4/12 @ 2:50 pm

      With 769 videos, I estimate that it would take 33 DVDs!

        Earl
        10/5/12 @ 4:09 am

        With HTML you can save the videos to your Mac (right click, Download Video) then you can make your own series of relevant videos and drop them to DVD for YOUR PERSONAL USE ONLY. It might make more sense to save these to a Hard Drive and play via Apple TV.

          Earl
          10/5/12 @ 4:10 am

          Should have said HTML 5…

            10/5/12 @ 6:44 am

            That’s a lot of work (and something you should ask permission for before doing). An easier way is to simply subscribe to the Podcast. Then you can collect the videos you like in iTunes and watch them on Apple TV very easily.

    forgetfull65
    10/4/12 @ 1:45 pm

    I use preview for most of my screen shots,it seems to be easier for me.

Comments Closed.