Author:
Mike Adams
6/03/2009

In the UC Davis Bookstore TechHub, we are constantly being asked questions on how to do things. An example of one of these questions happens to be today’s “How-To”, how do you take a screenshot with Mac OS X? Almost everyone knows how to do this simple function on a Windows machine. They were kind enough to put the button for it right on your keyboard, the Print Screen button. Hit that, go to MS Paint, right click and paste. Voila, a screenshot of your desktop. But with an Apple computer, there is no Print Screen button conveniently located on your keyboard. So what do you do?

With Mac OS X, there are a couple of ways to do this built right in to the operating system using key commands. Let us take a look at these key commands and what they do to help you capture your Mac screen.

  • Command-Shift-3: This set of key commands takes a screenshot of your entire desktop. This screen shot is then automatically pasted and saved to your desktop.
  • Command-Control-Shift-3: This set of key commands also takes a screenshot of your entire desktop, but does not automatically save it. Instead, it saves it to your “clipboard” so that you can open a program of your choosing, paste it in said program, and save it.
  • Command-Shift-4: This set of key commands allows you to choose a portion of the screen to take a screenshot of. When you press this combination of keys, your mouse turns into a crosshair. You can then click and drag your cursor along the area you wish to take a screenshot of. When you release the mouse button, your screenshot is taken and is automatically pasted and saved to your desktop.

So, it is as simple as that. It may not be as easy as a “one button click”, but you have several more options to taking a screenshot than Windows users. If you have any questions or comments, let us know.

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