Save Mac OS X Screenshots As Something Besides PNG [OS X Tips]

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Change Default Screenshot

Screenshots: we all take them. To show a co-worker or IT support person what’s not working on our computer, or to send a picture of a spectacular sunset in Minecraft to brag to our friends on Facebook, perhaps. Last week, we looked at a way to change the default screenshot name via some Terminal magic in OS X Lion. Today, we’re going to look at something perhaps even MORE useful: changing the default image type of those screenshots.

Mac OS X saves screenshots as PNG files, which is great if that’s the format you need. But what if you need JPG files, for example, or want uncompressed files for your screen captures? Before I found this tip, I had been using Preview to change the file type, duplicating the resulting image file and then saving it as the type of file I needed.

Not anymore, though, as the following commands in Terminal will allow you to have your Mac save screenshots in the format you choose. Just launch Terminal, then type or paste the following:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg

Be sure to restart the user interface server, like so, with this Terminal command:

killall SystemUIServer

If you don’t want JPG files, simply substitute your preferred image type in the example above where it says, ‘jpg.’ For example, to set the default to PDF, type:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type pdf

To put it all back to PNG, simply place ‘png’ at the end there, then issue the killall command.

Thanks to the folks at OS X Daily for the tip!

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