How to take screen shots in Mac OS X

Everyone knows that the print screen button in Windows does exactly what it says on the tin...except it doesn't print. It takes a snapshot of your screen and copies it to the windows clipboard, you then have to open up Microsoft Paint and paste the image, then save it to where you want.

On Mac's however there is no Print screen button and there is no obvious user-friendly way to do this if you a first time user of OS X. However, Apple has made their Print Screen utility much more advanced than Microsoft's.

Press CMD + SHIFT + 3 and a screenshot of your whole screen will appear on your Desktop as an image file.

Press CMD + SHIFT + 4 and your arrow will change and allow you to select a portion of the screen to print screen, drag a box over the area and release your mouse. It will appear as an image file on your Desktop.


  1. Don't forget Cmd Shift 4, then if you tap on the space bar, the cursor changes from a cross hair to a camera, and then you can move the mouse over the window you want a picture taking of. It'll take it properly even if part of the window is hidden by other windows on top.

  2. Thanks Tom, didn't know about that one. Can't seem to get it working on snow leopard though.

  3. Update: Tom's aforementioned feature is working on Mountain Lion.


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