Tip – Screen Capture

So as I was in the middle of writing another post tonight I needed to snap a quick screenshot and I ended up getting a nice little tip from icelander in #mac on irc.freenode.net (using Colloquy btw, which I need to blog about as well).

I knew that I could take a screenshot of the whole screen with Shift + Command + 3 and that I could grab a lasso with Shift + Command + 4 but I didn’t know how to just grab the contents of one window. Anyway, it turns out if you press Shift + Command + 4 and then hit Space, your cursor turns to a camera icon and you can grab just the contents of one window.

This whole feature is really nice because I don’t have to worry about finding somewhere to paste it like I do on windows (although the shortcut key there is more logical – Alt + PrintScreen), it just appears as a ready to use PNG on my desktop.

Any other key combinations for capturing screens that I missed?

Update: I hadn't noticed but Paul also suggested this.

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27 responses to “Tip – Screen Capture

  1. Shift-Ctrl-Cmd-(3 or 4) does an XP style screencapture to clipboard.

  2. Also; you can change the file type to more or less whatever you want. Like JPG or PDF. So you can Spotlight search your screenshots… ;)

  3. Hey, Macnewbie, have you heard about Apple app’ named Boot Camp today ?

  4. Nick, thats a nice tip, thanks.

    Puz, how do you change the file type?

  5. Nicholas, yes :) I am going to blog my thoughts on it later :)

  6. Go to System Preferences/Keyboard & Mouse.
    There you can define the actual keyboard shortcut for any of the ways to take a screenshot you just described, and also define a key to a lot of other OS functions.

    I actually defined the take screenshot shortcut on the virtual F13 of my former-windows Logitech keyboard, which corresponds to the printscreen one. ( http://www.edcon.se/shop/images/boston/400664.jpg )

  7. Built in screen capture is another great feature that I’ve enjoyed since my switch from Windows last year.

  8. I think you’ll find the ultimate guide to Mac screenshot goodness here: http://digitalmedia.oreilly.com/2006/01/01/mac-os-x-screenshot-secrets.html

    This little app will do it for you: http://scriptbuilders.net/files/screenshotsettings1.0.1.html

    But the real secret of switching to PDF is altering some setting. Sorry, can’t remember how to do it from the Terminal.

  9. …aaaand here is the Terminal way to do it: http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20050627224051361

    MacOS hints is a very useful page.

    Welcome to the Mac crowd, pull up a chair! :D

  10. The shortcuts for screenshots are nice, but I have found the widget Capture to be the easiest, most useful. You can change the screenshot type, file type, and it doesn’t hog resources like most widgets. Give it a try, I suppose.

  11. A really cool feature of OS X’s Unix roots, is many features available through the GUI are available via the command line. I was surprised to learn that I could invoke the screen capture from the command line using the “screencapture” command.

    Type “man screencapture” in your terminal to learn about the options. The potential for scripts taking advantage of screen shots is enormous. For instance, I like to check my bank account 24 times a day, but that’s a lot of work:

    I could script firefox using Selenium (http://www.openqa.org/selenium-ide/) to check my account every hour (cron) and use the screencapture utility to automatically save the image of my account summary onto my desktop. At any given point in the day, I can see what my bank account looks like within the last 1 hour just by viewing that file on my desktop.

    I bet you could get Automator in on that action, too.

  12. Screenshots via the command line… That has some REALLY interesting possibilities, like Jim said.

    Thats really cool

  13. Mac OS Hints – Subscribed.

  14. FYI, if you push Ctrl+Alt+Print Screen in Windows XP it will capture the window that is in focus and only the window that is in focus :)

  15. actually, i wrote the exact same stuff in the comment section of your “things that i’ve learned…” post…

    damn you, IRC !!!
    i should ‘ve been the one mentioned (giving tips and all that) above…
    that was my one chance…my ONE chance…!!!

    …just kiddin’

    that’s a nice feature, isn’t it ?
    try taking a picture of a window that’s almost completely behind another one…

    oh, and try that widget thingy, that was mentioned earlier, too.

  16. Updated for you paul, sorry I missed that :)

  17. keep an eye out for a native Snapz Pro from http://www.ambrosiasw.com/

    These guys are long time, excellent Mac engineers and make cool stuff. Snapz Pro is commercial but really worth the money, especially for making movies. Regular screen shots can go directly to printer, to email, to a folder, to the clipboard with a myriad of options.

  18. an app called snapNdrag is by far the best way to do screen caps also if you dont have Desktop manager installed yet you need to :) I mean why have one desktop when you can have four (or more)

  19. Brooks Filmond

    What about Applications/Utilities/Grab.app? The thing I like about Grab.app is the timed capture so you can set it to take a snapshot in a few seconds while you get things exactly as you want.

  20. Command – Shift – 3
    Full Screen Capture to file
    Control – Command – Shift – 3
    Full Screen Capture to Clipboard
    Command – Shift – 4
    Cursor to capture portion of the screen to file
    Command – Shift – 4
    Hold Control Key while selecting
    Capture screen selection to Clipboard
    Control – Command – Shift – 4
    Capture screen selection to Clipboard
    Command – Shift – 4
    Hit Space Bar
    Capture Window to File
    Command – Shift – 4
    Hit Space Bar
    Hold Control Key while clicking
    Capture Window to Clipboard

  21. I like 2 apps that do this same sort of thing. Paparazzi allows you to put in a web page address and capture the whole thing no matter how long the page. And FreeSnap is a great screenshot tool to copy the shot to clipboard, save to a file, in a variety of formats. I think both are UB now as well.

  22. ermm, well, i dunno what to say…

    thanks, dave (aka macbewbie) but, i was just trying to be funny…
    you didn’t have to include me in your post… (though i like it much better now)


    …eternal fame and all that

  23. I’m late, sure, but meh. Thanks for this. Got my MacBook Pro last week, and I love it. :) I knew how to take a general screenshot as on Windows, but that’s all I knew how to do. Command + Shift + 4 + Space is so helpful. Thank you.

    P.S. Don’t let any animal jump onto your keyboard. My dog jumped onto mine and ripped up the “p” key. (See http://flickr.com/photos/winnopeg/134412571/ for a photo.) Just a tip :P

  24. Wow that sucks winnopeg

  25. Great stuff:

    Here’s a question.

    I have a MacBook split HD running OSX and WXP, when I am in WXP, how do I take a screenshot? What are the keystrokes (since the keyboard is a mac keyboard with no PrintScreen key.

  26. Hi All

    Can any one tell me how to use this screen grab for testing flash objects in selenium IDE .
    Thanks inadvance
    Srinivas Akkapantula