Whether you use your Mac to do it or a third party application, taking a screenshot with your Mac is very easy, and even fun, to do. After you learn how to do it, you will find that the screen shots Mac takes can be useful in a variety of ways. A few ways include sharing an error message with an IT person, using it to instruct someone on how to use something, or just to share something you found interesting.

When using a screen shot to show the viewer something you want noticed on the page, or some general instructions, you can do so with some screenshot Mac applications by adding text, graphics, and more. All of which will help the viewer understand what it is they’re looking at. Some Mac screenshot applications that include these features, are Snagit, Jing, and to a smaller degree, Mac’s screen capture utilities.

The Screenshot Mac Utility That Anyone Can Use

Shortcut 1:

To capture a screenshot, Mac can help in a few different ways. The first way is to use your Mac to take a screen shot that will show everything that is visible on your screen. When you capture the whole screen, you can later crop it if you want. Your screenshot will show up on your desktop where you can then rename it, and open it to do any editing and annotating you want to do. To get the whole screen in your screenshot on Mac, press all three of these keys at the same time:

Command + Shift + 3

Shortcut 2:

The next way to take a screenshot Mac offers is to use a similar shortcut, but with this one you can select what you want in the shot. Doing it this way you capture only the area you want. To make a selective screen shot, Mac keys

Command + Shift + 4,

should all be pressed at the same time.

Other Mac keyboard shortcuts to the a screenshot:

  • Take a screenshot of a window and save it as a file on the desktop
    Command + Shift + 4, then space, then click a window
  • Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it to the clipboard
    Command + Control + Shift + 3
  • Take a screenshot of an area and save it to the clipboard
    Command + Control + Shift + 4, then select an area
  • Take a screenshot of a window and save it to the clipboard
    Command + Control + Shift + 4, then space, then click a window


The final way (aside from Terminal*) to use Mac to take a screenshot, is by using the Mac utility called Grab. You can find it by going to: Finder > Applications > Utilities > Grab. Once Grab is open, you can choose to capture the entire screen, a selected area, a window, or on a timer delay. When the screenshot is taken, you will be given a choice of where you want it saved.

Using Third Party Applications for Your Screenshot on Mac

The screenshot Mac utilities are easy and convenient to use, however, they are also very limited in what you can do with, or to, the screenshot. Third party screenshot Mac applications are better to use if you find you are taking screenshots often, want to share them, or if you want more annotation and editing tools. The three products that work best for and with, screenshots on Mac, include Snagit, Jing, and Droplr


If you are using screenshots often, this is the program for you. It is very easy to use, but the best thing about it is it sharing, editing, and annotation features. It also includes a recording feature, something especially nice to use if you’re wanting to use it to instruct someone. Snagit allows you to capture the whole screen or selected parts, and like Grab, includes a timer function. You can use the Snagit program to edit, share, or annotate. Snagit has a 30 day free trial, and a free account that will upload your screenshots to share with whomever you want.
Download Snagit


This program is somewhat similar to Snagit, in fact it’s from the same maker, it just has less features. Jing is a free program that can do most of what Snagit can do, just without all the graphics, annotation, or editing abilities Snagit has. Jing isn’t as good as Snagit, nor does it have anywhere near the amount of tools and features that Snagit has. But, if you don’t need a lot of features, and are fine with a very simple screenshot program, then Jing is worth trying.
Download Jing


Droplr is not in itself a program that takes screenshots, but it does work with you when taking a screenshot with the Mac keyboard shortcut. After you take the screenshot, Droplr will then upload the screenshot and give you a link to share, keeping your desktop uncluttered. You can also share, and store, any other images or files you may have, and is one of the best apps to use in the cloud. You can download Droplr from Mac App Store, where it gets great reviews and high stars.
Download Droplr


Which Screenshot Mac Application is Best?

The best screenshot tool is the one that fits your needs the most. If you take a screenshot very rarely, and do not need to do much in the way of adding notes or other items, then you can easily get by with Mac’s utility Grab, or Mac’s screenshot shortcut codes. Having Droplr is good to have in this case, so you can easily share your shot, but really, Droplr is good to have no matter what.

If you’re taking screenshots quite regularly, or you want to be able to make a short video presentation or tutorial, then you may want to try the Jing, or Snagit. Using screenshots often on your Mac? Then go with Snagit. It is great for those that want or need to add notes, highlight some words, point something out with arrows, or add other graphics that help get your point across. The screenshot Mac takes is up to you, and so is whether it’s taken by Mac itself or another application. Whichever way you choose you’ll be ready, because you now know how to take a screenshot Mac’s way.

50 Kimberly Carver

Kimberly Carver is a trained Mac Specialist/Expert. Trained both in school and on the job she continues to educate herself about Macs at every opportunity she gets. Kim’s official training and areas of expertise include: Mac specialist, AOL IT Tech, certified paralegal, research specialist, and licensed private investigator.