OS X: Taking Screen Captures

Since Mac OS X 10.2, the ability to take screen captures has improved greatly. In OS X 10.4, 10.5, and 10.6, screen captures are saved in Portable Network Graphics image format, on the desktop of the user logged in. The OS X application Preview, included on all OS X installations, allows you to export the PNG format to a number of image formats, including TIFF, JPG and GIF

Some tips:

  • The naming convention is Picture #, where "#" is the lowest unused number, starting with 1, or "Screen shot YYYY-MM-DD at H.MM.SS AM/PM".
  • If you decide you don't want to take the screen capture, you can always hit Escape to cancel out of the screen capture.
  • The cursor will never be recorded in a screen capture.

To capture the entire current screen, press Command-Shift-3. The file Picture #.png) will appear on the Desktop. To capture any section of the screen you like, press Command-Shift-4. This will change the cursor into crosshairs. Click and drag the desired section of the screen you wish to capture. You can also use this key command to capture any open window by first pressing Command-Shift-4. When the crosshairs appear, press the space bar; the crosshairs will turn into a camera. Moving the camera over any window will highlight that window. Clicking the mouse button will then take a picture of that window.

The camera feature has many other abilities. Here are other things you can capture while in "Camera" mode:

  • The menu bar
  • The Desktop
  • Any icon on the desktop (move the camera over that icon)
  • Any icon in the Dock (move the camera over that item in the Dock)
  • The entire Dock (move the camera over the separator in the Dock)
  • An active sheet
  • An expanded pop-up menu
  • Any graphical element in Dashboard (widget, button, widget drawer, widget icons in drawer)


Last modified: 2009/10/29 16:16:47.949000 GMT-4 by kerby.a.hughes.1
Created: 2007/10/31 12:23:36.335000 GMT-4 by brian.r.brinegar.1.



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