The Lamen

How To Capture, Edit, and Find Screenshots on your Mac

by | Jan 18, 2023

Moving to macOS can take some getting used to, especially if you’re coming from a Windows PC. One of the most annoying things about moving operating systems is memorizing certain shortcuts all over again. This guide tells you how to screenshot on a Mac, where to find these screenshots, and how you can edit them.

Apple’s macOS is the operating system of choice for many users, with reportedly over 100 million Macs currently in use. Still, it can be hard for a Windows user to switch operating systems, especially when it comes to some of the key shortcuts. Continue reading the article to learn how you can take a screenshot on your Mac.

Method 1: Shift-Cmd-3

Simply press and hold these three keys together: Shift, Command, and 3. This captures a screenshot of your entire screen.

If you wish to edit your screenshot, simply click on the thumbnail that appears in the corner of your screen, and make any changes you want.

Method 2: Shift-Cmd-4

Pressing and holding Shift, Command, and 4 makes a crosshair appear on the screen. Drag the crosshair across the desired area to capture a screenshot.

There’s more you can do after using the Shift-Cmd-4 combo:

  • Press and release the spacebar. This turns the crosshair into a tiny camera icon, which you can move over any of the windows open. Clicking on your desired window will take a screenshot of it.
  • Hold down the Shift key. After dragging the crosshair an area, hold down on the Shift key before you release the mouse button or trackpad.
  • Press and hold the spacebar. After dragging the crosshair to highlight an area, press and hold the spacebar before releasing the mouse button or trackpad. This locks in the space and size of your selection area but still lets you reposition it on the screen. This feature is useful when you are off only by a small portion.

This key combo allows you to select and capture a portion of your screen instead of the entire thing.

Method 3: Shift-Cmd-5

The Cmd-Shift-5 shortcut was first introduced with macOS Mojave in 2018. Instead of having you remember a bunch of shortcuts for specific functions, this combo calls up a small floating panel above the dock with multiple screen capture options.

The three buttons allow for screenshotting the following:

  • the entire screen
  • a window
  • a selection of your screen

The dock also has two video-recording buttons that let you record your entire screen or a selection of it.

On the right side is an Options button, that lets you choose where you want to save the screenshot. It also allows you to set a 5- or 10-second delay.

You can close the dock simply by hitting the X button on the left or pressing the Escape key. However, if the Screenshot Toolbar gets in your way, you can simply drag it to a new spot on your screen by its left edge.

How to take a Screenshot of the MacBook Touch Bar

If you’ve got an older MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, you can also take a screenshot of what is currently showing on the Touch Bar. To do this, you press Shift, Command, and 6 to take a wide and narrow screenshot of your entire Touch Bar.

How to edit a screenshot on your Mac

Once you take a screenshot, a Floating Thumbnail appears on the lower-right side of the screen. If you click on the Floating Thumbnail, you can gain access to several tools to edit your screenshot. If you simply want it to be saved at the last saved location, simply swipe it away or just let it go away on its own.

Right-clicking on the Floating Thumbnail allows you to:

  • save the screenshot to your Desktop, Documents folder, or clipboard
  • Delete the screenshot
  • Open it in Mail, Messages, Preview, or Photos
  • Show it in Finder
  • Open it in the Markup preview window (for annotations)

By default, the Show Floating Thumbnail option is enabled on a Mac, like it is on iOS. Unlike your iPhone, however, you can turn the Floating Thumbnail off on Mac.

To disable the Floating Thumbnail option:

  • Use the Shift + Cmd + 5 shortcut to bring up the Screenshot Toolbar.
  • On the Toolbar, click on Options.
  • From the Options menu, locate “Show Floating Thumbnail.” Click on the option to uncheck it.

While the Floating Thumbnail can be irritating at times, the option to annotate a screenshot immediately after capturing it without looking it up is pretty handy at times.

Where to find your screenshots

By default, all screenshots save to your device with the name “Screen Shot [date] at [time].png.” To find a screenshot, you simply locate it using the finder.

  • Press the Command + F combination on the keyboard to bring up the finder. Alternatively, click on the desktop, then choose File > Find from the Finder menu.
  • The Finder Search window will pop up. Click This Mac next to Search. This sets your area of search to the entire startup drive.
  • Type your screenshot’s name in the search field.

In macOS Mojave or later, you can change the default location for your screenshots from the Options menu on the Screenshot Toolbar.

Customizing the keyboard shortcuts on your Mac

For new-time users, these keyboard shortcuts can get a bit much to memorize. Windows users have a particularly hard time giving up on key combos that have now become a part of their muscle memory.

Thankfully, you can customize the keyboard shortcuts on your Mac.

  • Locate the System Settings in the Apple menu.
  • Find and click on Keyboard in the sidebar, then click Keyboard Shortcuts.
  • In the list on the left, select your desired category.
  • In the list on the right, select the tick next to the shortcut you want to change.
  • Double-click the current key combination, then press the new key combination you want to use. Keep in mind that each type of key cannot be more than one in combination. For example, an alphabet cannot appear twice in a shortcut.
  • Quit and reopen any apps that you might be using for the new keyboard shortcut to take effect.

If you assign a keyboard shortcut to a command that already exists for another, the new shortcut won’t work. For it to take effect, you have to reassign the shortcut for one of the commands.

To return the shortcuts to their original combinations, you go to Keyboard settings, click on Keyboard shortcuts, and select Restore Defaults in the lower-left corner.