Changing The Default Screenshot Format In OS X [Video How-To]



Have you ever wanted to change the default screenshot format in Mac OS X? The default PNG files can end up being huge, especially with higher resolution displays. In this video, I’ll show you how to change the format to anything you’d like, even a PDF.

  • Rodjkin

    A much easier and faster way is to just change the format with an app like Graphic Converter.

  • J Park

    How about screenshot default location? They are saved on Desktop in default. Can I change it to say under Documents folder?

  • prof_peabody

    This is less of a “tip” and more in the “stupid trick” department IMO.  

    Let’s all learn how to change the screenshot from the best format it could possibly be, to some random graphic format that does a poorer job.  WTF?

  • Mitro

    The “best” format for you is not necessary the best format for me… You may want to favor the size of the file and accept the loss of details.

  • Alan

    Or you could use this free “Captur” app which allows the file format to be changed via Preferences:


  • stressball

    Serious question; Please explain to me why PNG is the best format?

  • Alex_m24

    Thanks, great for taking screenshots that need to be emailed and no downloads required win win.

  • Callum Kerr

    How about telling us how we can change the default save location instead? The desktop gets rather cluttered sometimes ;]

  • Rambhat

    PNG is a lossless image format unlike JPG that is lossy format. PNG file gives you all the glory of colors and all shades of tones. Additionally PNG lets you have transparencies of all levels. That is highly advantageous for web design. Please note that some of the best designed web pages of the internet are of Apple’s website, and you can see PNG images used there instead of JPG. Hope you got it.

  • Presto

    awesome little tip, funnily enough one of my friends had asked me to send through a bunch of screen shot today… great timing

  • dcj001

    TinkerTool allows a user to customize the format for screenshots, along with the destination location.

  • Renan Oliveira

    This is really good! Thanks a lot!!!

  • markhunte

    For Location.
    Example:defaults write location ~/Pictures

    killall SystemUIServer

  • Rambhat

    Could anyone kindly suggest a way to change the screenshot “File Names” please? I used Onyx. still unable to skip the long absurd file name like “2011-09-07 at 8.47.54 PM”. Instead i would prefer a file name like “A-0001.PNG, A-0002.PNG,….. and if i want to check the capture time I would just go for “get info”. Any one can help please?

  • Albert

    Very helpful–thanks!

  • Michael Steeber

    no problem!

  • Michael Steeber

    neat tip!

  • Michael Steeber

    to me, 5-6 MB screenshots are a little overboard. The quality lost with a jpeg is minimal for such a huge file size difference. 

  • Andrew

    If you’re using Lion then screenshots are built into Preview (File | Take Screen Shot).  Pick the window or the screen then just save the resulting image in whatever format you want.  Saves straight to anything without hackery.

  • Alan

    Once you have your screenshot, you can use this free, online “JPEGmini” service that significantly reduces the size of JPEG images without affecting their perceptual quality:

  • AMDeeb90

    The MOST useful YouTube Video I have ever watched! :D I was just wondering how to change the Default Screenshot Format, until I saw this article! :) WellDone!

  • Albert

    forgot to mention can also do this with Onyx under the parameters tab.

  • hyoo89

    thanks so much! it’s exactly the trick i was looking for.

  • CharliK

    a four and a half minute long video instead of a text step by step where one could actually copy and paste the command to ensure correct typing. 

    Not sure you made the right choice on this one. 

    Not to mention that the video would be a lot shorter and more pleasant without all your editorializing about things. Frankly I don’t care that you think a 5 MB image is ‘too large’ or that you tried a bunch of programs that don’t work. Or even going back and doing everything over and over to show different formats when all you needed was to just mention “You can pick any format you want.” And since the video is supposed to be about changing the default format why even mention Grab. That has nothing to do with changing the format

  • Rambhat

    Lucasscott just wants to show how smart and informed he is. Whereas Michael Steeber did a very good job in showing a way. The purpose of this article was to give knowledge and the author has done a good job – as he always has been doing. Well done

  • God

    Maybe if you only want to have 1 image in a different format.

    After the initial one, it’s neither easier or faster.