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Your Mac has a hidden screenshot program – here’s how to find it

Wondering how to take a screenshot with your Mac? There’s no “Print Screen” button on your Mac keyboard, sure, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the process is complicated. Using various keyboard shortcuts, you can capture a screenshot of your entire display and everything on it, or you can simply drag a box around the designated area you want to capture. There’s a variety of other screenshot methods — including those for capturing a specific window or growing your selection from the center — all of which produce images you can then use to flaunt your latest high score or clarify a problem with tech support. Here’s a guide on how to take a screenshot on a Mac, whether you prefer capturing images using keyboard shortcuts or Preview.

Related: Before you resort to MS Paint or piracy, give these free image-editing tools a shot

Taking a screenshot using keyboard commands

To capture the entire screen and save it to the clipboard, hit Command+Shift+Control+3 Screenshot keyboard shortcut 3
To capture a selected area and save it to the clipboard, hit Command+Shift+Control+4 Screenshot keyboard shortcut 4

Using these same keyboard shortcuts mentioned above without pressing “Control” will save the screenshot as a PNG file to your desktop, instead of your clipboard. Also, when you trigger the area option — i.e. Command+Shift+Control+4 — your mouse cursor will become a cross hair, letting you select the region of the screen you want to select. You can also fine-tune your selection, if desired. To do so, try pressing one the following button combinations after you hit the initial shortcut keys.

Hit the Spacebar to change your pointer into a camera and grab a full window Screenshot keyboard shortcut 5
 Hold Option to grow your selection from the center Screenshot keyboard shortcut 6
Hold Shift to lock in the vertical or horizontal position Screenshot keyboard shortcut 7
Hold Space to move the selection while locking the aspect ratio Screenshot keyboard shortcut 8
Hold Shift+Space to lock in horizontal or vertical while moving the locked selection Screenshot keyboard shortcut 9
Hit Escape to cancel your screenshot Screenshot keyboard shortcut 10

Taking screenshots with Grab

Don’t feel like memorizing keyboard shortcuts? Grab, a program that comes pre-installed all Macs, lets you create screenshots directly from the menubar. The program also lets you take time-delayed screenshots, just in case you need to set the stage before capturing an image on your display. You’ll find this program in the Utilities folder, which is housed within the Applications folder.

grab-mac-screenshots

Once you launch Grab, you’ll see an icon for the program in your dock. If you want, you can also pin this icon for quick access later.

grab-mac-icon

Grab doesn’t usually have a window when open, and instead, runs almost entirely from the menubar.

grab-options

With Grab, you can take a screenshot of a particular section of the screen, an individual window, or the entire screen — the same three options we previously outlined above. What’s new here is the “Timed screen” option, which gives you a 10-second delay before the screenshot is captured.

grab-delay

This means that, if you need to open a menu or position your mouse in the right position, you’ve got some time to do so. Keep in mind that your mouse cursor will not show up in the screenshot by default, though. If you want to ensure it’s captured in the frame, click Preferences from the main Grab menu and select the mouse icon from the resulting pop-up window.

grab-mac-preferences

The cursor will only show up when capturing delayed screenshots, which is just as well since you’ll need your mouse to take screenshots for the other options. We still think the keyboard shortcuts are a better way to capture screenshots, but if you don’t want to memorize anything, Grab is a great alternative.

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