Quick Screenshot Key Commands in Mac OS X

by Nate Croft

Every designer knows that at some point during a project there will screenshots, and lots of them. Third party applications often get this job, but if you are a Mac user (10.3 and later), you have another option built right into the OS. That option comes in the form of key commands, and the key commands come in three flavors:

1. If you want a file saved to the desktop for later editing use Shift+Command(Apple)+3 for the whole screen and Shift+Command(Apple)+4 for a selection.

2. If you want a screenshot that can be pasted directly into Photoshop/Illustrator/Etc. use Shift+Control+Command(Apple)+3 for the whole screen and Shift+Control+Command(Apple)+4 for a selection. Then go back to your application and paste it right in!

3. If your want just a window and need to be precise press Shift+Command+4 just like you would for a selection, then hit the space bar. Your cursor will turn into a camera. From there just click on the window you want. It can even be covered by another window and it will only include the window you picked. This also works with the control key added if you want to past it directly into an application.

I don’t know when I ran across these, but they are such a time saver.

For all the Windows users out there, is there anything like this for Windows? We’d love to know. Leave us a comment with your tips and tricks.

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February 13, 2008

Design, Tutorials

Comments

  1. Whoa! Great Tip - Copy & Paste to PS/AI, Awesome!

  2. You asked if there was a Windows way to do this? Well as far as I know you can press the “Print Screen” button on the top right of the keyboard, this takes a snapshot of your entire screen. Then you can just go to Edit>Paste if you are in Photoshop, if you don’t have Photoshop you can also use the generic Paint program and Edit>Paste it there.  If you want to do a screen grab of just the highlighted window, you can use “alt” along with “print screen” to just get a picture of the highlighted window.
    Hope this helps,

  3. How long have you been using a Mac?  Those screen shot keys have been around as long as I can remember, predating OS X, OS 9… way back in the days on MacOS 6.0.x (and earlier).  And Windows has had their equivalent almost as long, too.

    But thanks for posting it, though… I needed a reminder after being away from a Mac for so long…

  4. Thanks for sharing. I normally use windows and screenshots are easy.

  5. I too have been spoiled by these shortcuts, but I use both platforms at work.  So, I went on a desperate search for something FREE that would do a similar job on Windows.  Once the program is running, I’m sure you could set up shortcuts, but it’s not nearly as simple as the mac version. 

    Check it out at: http://www.mirekw.com/winfreeware/mwsnap.html

    Again, FREE was my goal.  I’m sure you could buy some fancy screen capture software, but this one’s simple and free.

  6. The screen shot image tip is awesome. Thanks!

  7. I use windows mostly instead of a mac but for screenshots within the browser fireshot is my favorite addon. It has so many additional features besides the capture. Love firefox.

  8. screenshots are easy To capture in Windows I am using Vista Home Edition.

  9. Thank you for your effort ..

  10. Then you can just go to Edit>Paste if you are in Photoshop, if you don’t have Photoshop you can also use the generic Paint program and Edit>Paste it there.  If you want to do a screen grab of just the highlighted window

  11. I am terrible when it comes to remembering keyboard short cuts!  My brother jokingly tells me I’m stupid becuase of this.

  12. I have thinkt hird party applications often get this job, but if you are a Mac user you have another option built right into the OS. That option comes in the form of key commands, and the key commands come in three flavors…Transfer Test Northern Ireland

  13. Thanks for sharing. I normally use

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  15. I love using my Mac shortcuts.  I would be lost without them.  Everything goes much quicker when you don’t have to use your mouse and point and click all of the time.  I love finding other Mac lovers!

  16. Then you can just go to Edit>Paste if you are in Photoshop, if you don’t accept Photoshop you can as well use the all-encompassing Paint affairs and Edit>Paste it there. If you wish to do a awning grab of just the accent window, you can use “alt” forth with “print screen” to just get a account of the accent window.

  17. Thanks for this information with the visitors and i more ting that Every designer knows that at some point during a project there will screen shots, and lots of them. Third party applications often get this job, but if you are a Mac user (10.3 and later), you have another option built right into the OS.

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  20. yea, I would be lost without them.  Everything goes much quicker when you don’t have to use your mouse and point and click all of the time.  I love finding other Mac lovers! ...thanks!

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  22. “I don’t know when I ran across these, but they are such a time saver.”

    Indeed they are. And they are great tips. Thanks, eh.

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  29. Thanks for sharing. I normally use windows and screenshots are easy.

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  31. In Windows you can press PrintScreen to copy the entire screen(s) to the clipboard, or Alt + PrintScreen to copy the currently focused window to the clipboard.  The clipboard can then be Pasted in Photoshop etc.

    In Windows (7 definitely, Vista probably, 8 most probably) you can open the Snipping Tool (I just hit the Start button or Windows key and type “snip” in the start search.  This built-in app lets you do full-screen, window, and selection screen captures, and then automatically produces an image, and gives you image format options, e.g. jpeg, png, etc. to save the image as a file.

  32. For a professional the speed of his job depends on how are uses the shortcuts in computer. The shortcut keys for Windows are very much known for us. The quick screen short key commands for Mac operating system is very useful. Thanks for the step by step explanation.

  33. Yea, i agree in Once the program is running, I’m sure you could set up shortcuts, but it’s not nearly as simple as the mac version.  Thanks for sharing!

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