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A Guide to macOS Mojave’s New Screenshot Tool

As part of our continuing research into the features of macOS 10.14 Mojave, we recently showed you how to use Quick Actions, a new feature that allows users to work on many file types without launching the default app and also has a connection to Automator for creating custom Quick Actions. Today we’re going to highlight another Mojave improvement – the screenshot tool.

Invoking the Screenshot Toolbar

In the past, Mac users could use Command-Shift-3 to take a screenshot of the entire screen or Command-Shift-4 to capture a specific area of the screen. Those shortcuts are still available in macOS Mojave, but a new shortcut — Command-Shift-5 — displays all screens and recording options in a transparent floating toolbar (see screenshot below):

Mojave's screenshot toolbar
(Mojave’s screenshot toolbar.)

Once the toolbar is available, there are a number of ways to capture a Mac screen. From left to right on the image above, those are:

  • Capture Entire Screen (as a PNG image file)
  • Capture Selected Window
  • Capture a Selected Area
  • Record Entire Screen (as a video)
  • Record Selected Area

Screenshot Tool Options

Clicking on the Options button on the Screenshot Toolbar reveals a menu with a number of options for where to save the screenshot or video, the defaults being the Desktop, Documents folder, Clipboard, Mail, Messages and Preview. Clicking Other Location… allows the user to select another location to save those files. In the screenshot of the menu below, the Downloads folder has been added to the Save to location list:

Screenshot app options
(The screenshot options menu provides choices for where to save the file, screenshot timing, and more.)

Next, the user has the option to time a screenshot. The shot can be captured immediately, in 5 seconds, or in 10 second. The timed screenshots are helpful if you need to capture an image of a menu, for example. While counting down, the Capture button appears on the screen showing the remaining time until the screenshot is taken.

The final three options are Show Floating Thumbnail, Remember Last Selection, and Show Mouse Pointer. Show Floating Thumbnail makes macOS Mojave screenshots act similar to iOS 11 screenshots. Once the screenshot is taken, it hovers in the lower left of the Mac screen and can be acted upon. Click on the thumbnail, and it expands on the screen showing a complete set of markup tools (see screenshot below):

Clicking a screenshot thumbnail opens the image in a markup tool
(Clicking a screenshot thumbnail opens the image in a markup tool.)

The selection of markup items is very complete (from left to right in the screenshot below):

Markup tools for screen capture
(Markup tools for screenshots.)
  • Draw with pen
  • Draw with thick pen
  • Add shape (including lines and arrows with Bezier curve points)
  • Add text
  • Highlight (only available on PDFs)
  • Add signature
  • Change line type and thickness
  • Select drawing color
  • Select text color
  • Select typeface, style, color and justification
  • Rotate 90° clockwise
  • Rotate 90° counterclockwise
  • Crop the image

On the far right of the expanded thumbnail (not visible in the screenshot of the markup tools) are three options: Done (which saves the file as marked up), a trash can for deleting the screenshot, and a share button for immediately sending the image through Mail, Messages, and AirDrop or adding it to Notes or Photos.

Capturing Screen Videos

Capturing screen videos with the new screenshot tool in macOS Mojave is also simple and quite useful if you want to show someone how to do something. To do so, the user invokes the screenshot toolbar with the Command-Option-5 shortcut, then clicks one of the two video capture buttons.

As noted earlier in this post, the user has the choice to capture video just from one small selection on the Mac screen or from the entire screen. Once the recording begins, a small “stop” button appears in the menu bar. Click that, at the recording appears as a thumbnail. Click the thumbnail, and a tool for trimming the video clip appears. Like screenshots, the videos can be shared immediately through a standard share sheet. Here’s a downsized version of a screen video just to give you an idea of what they look like:

Don’t Forget the Touch Bar

Have a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar? Don’t forget that the Screenshot Toolbar also appears on the Touch Bar for easy access (see screenshot below):

The Screen shot Toolbar on a MacBook Pro Touch Bar
(The Screenshot Toolbar on a MacBook Pro Touch Bar.)

The Bottom Line

Anyone who needs to either write technical documentation or create training videos about Mac apps is going to love the new screenshot tools in Mojave. The tools make it much easier to capture, edit, and share both screenshots and videos.

Steve Sande
the authorSteve Sande
Contributing Author
Steve has been writing about Apple products since 1986, starting on a bulletin board system, creating the first of his many Apple-related websites in 1994, joining the staff of The Unofficial Apple Weblog in 2008, and founding Apple World Today in 2015. He’s semi-retired, loves to camp and take photos, and is an FAA-licensed drone pilot.
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  • When I click on the floating preview, I get an iPhone option and the screenshot displays on my iPhone. I don’t see an option to save the screenshot on my iPhone, however. Not sure the purpose of it being on my iPhone if I can’t save it.

  • Like the succinct style but need a trouble shooting section! I’ve tried the feature on my Mac and the Markup tools don’t work???? Greyed out, VERY FRUSTRATING. I’ve been trolling internet for hours trying to find out why. All I find is how to use it and how wonderful it is…I’m certainly not finding it so
    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

    • I’m just replying to this because, like Heather, I’ve also been ‘trolling’ the internet for an answer. Relatable comment!

  • Well explained – I guess I’m gonna be using the new Screen Record facility often…
    thanks a lot!