How to Screenshot on Mac and Crop

How to Screenshot on Mac and Crop
How to Screenshot on Mac and Crop

Have you ever encountered something hilarious on your Mac screen, stumbled upon a website with perfect instructions, or needed to capture a specific error message for help? In these situations, knowing how to screenshot on Mac and crop becomes a valuable skill. Screenshots, or digital snapshots of your screen, are incredibly useful for capturing information, sharing ideas, and creating tutorials. They can streamline communication, document workflows, and even provide visual proof when needed. This guide will walk you through the different methods for taking screenshots on Mac, along with effective techniques for cropping them to focus on the essential details.

Taking Screenshots on Mac: Cater to Different Needs

Full Screen Screenshot on Mac:

Sometimes, you might need to grab everything that's currently displayed on your Mac. This is where a full-screen screenshot comes in handy.  Whether you want to  capture an error message for troubleshooting or share your entire desktop layout for reference, here's the simple shortcut for a full-screen screenshot on Mac:

Simply press and hold these three keys together: Shift + Command + 3.

After a brief moment, you'll hear a subtle camera shutter sound, indicating a successful capture. The screenshot will be automatically saved as a PNG image on your desktop, typically named "Screen Shot [date and time].png".

This method offers a quick way to grab everything on your screen within the context of learning how to screenshot on Mac and crop. Remember, we'll cover cropping techniques later to focus on specific areas of your screenshots if needed.

Partial Screenshot on Mac:

Not everything on your screen might require capturing. Often, you'll want to focus on a particular section, like a specific program window, an error message within an application, or a funny image you found online. This is where a partial screenshot excels in the world of  how to screenshot on Mac and crop.

Here's the keyboard shortcut for taking a partial screenshot:

Press and hold these three keys together: Shift + Command + 4.

Your cursor will transform into a crosshair.  Now, you can drag the crosshair to select the specific area you want to capture. As you drag, a rectangular selection box will appear, highlighting the chosen portion of the screen.

Here are some additional points to enhance this section:

  • Fine-Tuning Selection: Hold down the Space bar while dragging to move the selection box around without accidentally resizing it.
  • Canceling the Capture: If you decide not to capture the selection, simply press the Esc (Escape) key.
  • Capturing After Delay: For a screenshot after a short delay (useful for grabbing pop-up menus), hold down the Control key along with Shift + Command + 4, then define the selection area.
Once you release the mouse or trackpad button, the selected area will be captured as a screenshot. It will follow the same saving process as a full-screen screenshot, appearing on your desktop as a PNG image. This method allows you to focus on specific elements while still learning  how to screenshot on Mac and crop for further refinement, which we'll cover in the next section.

Window or Menu Screenshot on Mac:

Sometimes, you might only need to capture a specific window on your screen, like a program you're working on or a menu bar with relevant options. This targeted approach proves useful in the realm of  how to screenshot on Mac and crop. Here's the keyboard shortcut for capturing a window or menu:

Press and hold these four keys together: Shift + Command + 4 + Space bar.

Your cursor will transform into a camera icon. Now, simply click on the window or menu you want to capture. The chosen window or menu will be automatically captured as a screenshot.

Here are some additional points to consider:

  • Excluding Window Shadow (Optional): If you want to capture the window content without the slight shadow effect, hold down the Option key while clicking on the window with the camera cursor.
  • Capturing Active Window: For a quicker approach, you can simply press Shift + Command + 5 (introduced in macOS Mojave and later) and then click "Window" under the capture options. This will capture the currently active window on your screen.
The captured window or menu screenshot will be saved as a PNG image on your desktop, following the same naming convention as other screenshots. This method allows you to isolate specific elements within your screen for focused communication, and it integrates seamlessly with the upcoming section on cropping for further refinement.

Advanced Options with Shift + Command + 5 (For macOS Mojave and Later)

If you're using macOS Mojave or later versions, you have access to a more versatile screenshot tool activated by pressing Shift + Command + 5. This method offers additional options within the world of  how to screenshot on Mac and crop.

Here's what you get with Shift + Command + 5:

  • Capture Selection: Similar to the previous method, you can drag to select a specific area of the screen for capture.
  • Capture Entire Screen: This option allows you to grab everything on your display, similar to the Shift + Command + 3 shortcut.
  • Capture Window: Clicking "Window" under the capture options instantly captures the currently active window on your screen.
Beyond these basic capture options, Shift + Command + 5 offers some additional functionalities:

  • Capture Delay: Click the "Options" button and choose a delay (from seconds to minutes) before the screenshot is captured. This can be useful for grabbing menus or windows that disappear quickly.
  • Save Location: The "Options" menu also allows you to set a preferred location for saving your screenshots. This way, you can organize them efficiently and avoid cluttering your desktop.
  • Capture Mouse Pointer: Hold down the Control key while selecting an area or window to capture the mouse pointer along with the screenshot.
The captured screenshot will be saved as a PNG image according to your preferences set in the "Options" menu. This method provides a more streamlined approach to capturing specific areas or windows, and it integrates seamlessly with the following section on cropping for precise image editing.

Cropping Screenshots on Mac: Two Effective Methods

Using the Built-in Cropping Tool (macOS Mojave and Later)

Now that you've mastered capturing screenshots on your Mac using various methods within the world of  how to screenshot on Mac and crop, it's time to focus on refining them. Thankfully, macOS Mojave and later offer a convenient built-in cropping tool accessible right after taking a screenshot.

Here's how to utilize the built-in cropping tool:

  • Capture with Shift + Command + 5:  Use the Shift + Command + 5 shortcut to access the screenshot options. Choose your desired capture method (entire screen, selection, or window).

  • Screenshot Thumbnail: After capturing the screen, a thumbnail preview of your screenshot will appear in the bottom right corner of your screen for a brief moment.

  • Click to Edit:  Don't miss this opportunity!  Click on the screenshot thumbnail to enter the editing mode.

  • Selection and Cropping: The editing window provides a rectangular selection box with corner grips. Drag these grips to refine the area you want to keep in the final screenshot.  This allows you to focus on the specific details you want to convey.

  • Additional Options:  The editing window also offers other tools besides cropping. You can rotate the image, add annotations (text, shapes, arrows), or even markup the screenshot for further clarification.

  • Save or Share: Once you're satisfied with the cropped and potentially edited screenshot, you can save it to a desired location or directly share it using the available options.

This built-in cropping tool eliminates the need for additional editing software for basic refinement. It offers a quick and convenient way to focus on the essential elements within your screenshots.

Cropping with Preview App on Mac (Works for All macOS Versions)

The methods mentioned so far for  how to screenshot on Mac and crop  work well for macOS Mojave and later. But what if you're using an older macOS version? Fear not!  The trusty Preview app, pre-installed on all Macs, can handle your cropping needs.

Here's how to crop a screenshot using Preview on mac:

  • Open the Screenshot: Locate the screenshot you want to crop. You can find it on your desktop (default location) or navigate to it using Finder. Double-click the screenshot file to open it in Preview.

  • Selection Tool:  Look for the toolbar at the top of the Preview window. Locate the "Selection Tool" which might resemble a rectangle with dotted lines. If you don't see the toolbar, go to "View" in the menu bar and select "Show Toolbar."

  • Define the Crop Area:  Click and drag the Selection Tool to create a rectangular selection around the area you want to keep in the cropped image.

  • Crop Function:  Once you've defined your selection, navigate to the "Tools" menu in the Preview app's menu bar. Select "Crop" from the dropdown menu.

  • Save the Cropped Image:  Preview will automatically crop the image based on your selection.  Go to "File" in the menu bar and choose "Save" (or "Save As" if you want to give it a new name) to save the cropped screenshot as a new image file.

This method offers a reliable way to crop screenshots regardless of your macOS version. It might require a few extra steps compared to the built-in cropping tool, but it's a universally accessible option.

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