Here at Cult of Mac, we take quite a few screenshots. Our current favorite for taking and annotating them is Share Bucket, and of course you can always use Preview or Grab to take your screenshots, but what about the basics? Not everyone needs fancy screenshot capabilities. Aren’t the built-in tools in OS X good enough for most of us?
They sure are, and while we’ve covered a couple of them before, we haven’t just put them all in one tip to rule them all. Or something like that.
To take a picture of the entire screen, press Command-Shift-3 on your keyboard. This will capture all of your Mac’s screen from the upper left corner to the bottom right one. The image will be saved on your Desktop as a PNG file by default, though you can change that with a quick trip to the Terminal app.
To get a picture of just a portion of your screen, hit Command-Shift-4 on your keyboard. Your mouse cursor will change to crosshairs, and then just click and drag across any portion of the screen you want to capture. Again, the screenshot will be saved to your Desktop in the default file format.
While you’re dragging across the area to capture, if you hold the Spacebar down, the area you’ve already defined will move instead of get bigger. If you hold Shift down while dragging, you’ll constrain your selection to only horizontal or vertical directions. If you want to resize the selection area from the center of it, hold the Option key down. Finally, if you press the Spacebar (not hold it down) after hitting Command-Shift-4, your icon will turn into a little camera and you can take a picture of any window. Hit the Escape key to abort any of these screenshots in progress.
Pro tip – if you hold the Control key down for any of the above keystrokes, you’ll get your screenshot saved to the clipboard and not the Desktop.