This tip is all about screenshots on macOS. Whether you do screenshots often or irregularly, there are some gems in here!
Different types of screenshots
Here are some of the common ways to take a screenshot on a Mac.
- Want a screenshot of the entire screen? Command + Shift + 3.
- Want to make a selection? Command + Shift + 4
You’ll notice a temporary thumbnail that will display in the corner of the screen. If you double-click the thumbnail, it’ll open an image editor (not the Preview App) where you can make some quick changes/annotations.
All of that is really useful.
My favorite screenshot command by far is Command + Shift + 5. Seriously, I use this every day for something.
When you press it, you get an overlay palette on the bottom of your screen that allows you to do all of the above methods and more.
It has buttons for:
- Capturing the entire screen
- Capturing just a specific window (chosen with your mouse)
- Capturing a selection where you can draw/resize
That palette? This is where things get interesting. After those three? There are two choices for screen recordings for the whole screen or a selection.
Keep your eyes on the button on the far right. If the button on the right is Capture, it’s a screenshot. If it says Record, it’s a screen recording. And the Enter key will perform it (faster than a mouse click!)
The Options menu
The real hidden tip is the Options menu. It has three sections. The top is where the screenshot will go, the middle is for a timer, and the bottom section is for preferences.
It’s the top section that’s my favorite. It lets me choose where I want the screenshot. These are the options:
- Desktop: Not great, unless it means you can find it quickly; this causes clutter
- Documents: Now at least the clutter is hidden.
- Choose Location: This is my choice. I have a folder called “_Screenshots” on my desktop. Whenever I take a screenshot, it gets saved there, sortable by date. I have them going back for over a year. A quick library.
Everything else in that list is about supercharging your workflow.
The first is Clipboard. When it’s chosen, your screenshot goes immediately into the clipboard, allowing you to paste it into your application of choice. It’s great when I’m writing copy. I use this all the time with PowerPoint and Keynote.
Sometimes I send a bunch of screenshots in Messages or Mail. Now, every screenshot ends up automatically in that app. No copy/pasting is needed!
Often, I need to add some information/annotation to the screenshot. Instead of creating the screenshot and opening it in Preview, I can choose Preview from the Options palette. Now it’s one step, not two, The screenshot automatically opens the Preview App for me.
Try Command-Shift-5 today and work smarter with your screenshots! And as always, let me know if you found these tips helpful!
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