How to Take a Screenshot on Mac OS X Without Screen Capture Software

One thing that a UX designer encounters regularly is the need to take a screenshot. There are a myriad of screen capture software out there — Snagit, ScreenHunter Pro, and HyperSnap just to name a few. The top screen capture software include various capture options and some even include image enhancing features. However, if you’re like me and just want a quick vanilla screen capture tool, you can take advantage of the native features built into Mac OS X and screenshot anything by memorizing just a few keyboard combinations.

Get a Cheat Sheet for OS X Screenshots

Download the printable PDF now

If you want to skip to the good stuff, here is a handy cheat sheet you can print out and save to easily find out what key combination fits your screenshotting needs. It prints two cards per page, so cut your printout in half and give the other to a colleague or a friend. :-)

Screenshotting Cheat Sheet in OS X

 

Now, here’s a complete explanation of all the screenshot commands available to you in OS X.

Screenshot - Full Screen in OS XFull Screen

⇧Shift + ⌘Command + 3

Pressing all these keys together captures the entire screen. The screenshot is immediately saved to a image file on your desktop named “Screen Shot” plus the current date and time.

Screenshot - Portion of Screen in OS XPortion of the Screen

⇧Shift + ⌘Command + 4

Pressing these keys together brings up a crosshair. Click and drag a bounding box around the portion of the screen you want to capture. The width and height of the box is shown next to the crosshair. Hold down the spacebar at any time to reposition the box. Release the mouse to immediately capture the selection and save the image file to your desktop as above.

Screenshot - Open Window in OS XAn Open Window

⇧Shift + ⌘Command + 4
 then press Spacebar

Press the same keys as you did to capture a portion of the screen. After the crosshair appears, press the spacebar to get a camera icon. Hover over any open window and mouse click to immediately save the image file, complete with perfectly rounded corners.

About the Author:

Sara Tung is a senior visualization designer at OneSpring LCC. She has over 17 years experience in designing for software user experience and over 10 years leading user experience and technology teams. In addition to user experience design, Sara has had a wide range of technology experience including full life-cycle software development, requirements gathering, online marketing, SEO, and user acceptance testing in the private sector as well as in state and federal government. Her passion is in user-centered software product design.

When Sara’s not focusing on innovative ways to engage the user and improve the virtual customer experience, she enjoys gardening and being an activist for whole, sustainable, local foods. Sara holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

Sara Tung

Sara Tung

Sara Tung is a senior visualization designer at OneSpring LCC. She has over 18 years experience in designing for software user experience and over 10 years leading user experience and technology teams. In addition to user experience design, Sara has had a wide range of technology experience including full life-cycle software development, requirements gathering, online marketing, SEO, and user acceptance testing in the private sector as well as in state and federal government. Her passion is in user-centered software product design. When Sara's not focusing on innovative ways to engage the user and improve the virtual customer experience, she enjoys gardening and being an activist for whole, sustainable, local foods. Sara holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

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