It’s quite easy for a computer user to do screen print/screen capture on a Windows-based PC. When doing so, he/she simply presses the Print Screen key on the keyboard attached to the computer (on some certain laptops, Fn key + SysRq key), and then paste into the graphic editor (like Paint, Adobe Photoshop, or Gimp etc.) before finally save it as a JPG, or Gif, or PNG (or a dozen of other formats to be named) file.

Windows PC Keyboard PrintScreen Key
Windows PC Keyboard “Print Screen” Key (my own image work, for CC-BY-SA 3.0)

But doing a screen print on a Macintosh machine from Apple Inc. is not as intuitive as on a Windows computer, because the way mentioned above just can’t work as there are no Print Screen and SysRq keys on the Mac keyboard. Or even a keyboard with the Print Screen key from the third-party manufacturer is usable on a Mac, it still would be in vain to press that key in order to do a screen capture.

Some who just bought a Mac as the first computer or those who just switched to Mac OS X from Microsoft Windows may be a bit confused how to do screen prints on a Apple Computer. This post is intended for those users.

Apple Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard
Apple Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard Leftside Part (my own image work, for CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Apparently, Apple Mac provides some powerful, though hidden, ways by using the shortcuts, to do such commands. Different from in the Windows system, on Macintosh, no graphic application will be needed, as the screen print will be automatically saved as a PNG file onto the desktop by default. Choose the following guide most suitable for your usage:

1): Capture the whole screen: press Command + Shift + 3

Command Shift 3 Apple Mac Desktop Full Screenprint
Command (⌘)+ Shift (⇧) + 3 Screenprint Sample

2): Capture a selected area: press Command + Shift + 4, a cross with a grey circle appears, then select the area you want to capture

Command Shift 4 Area Screen Capture
⌘ + ⇧ + 4 Selected Area Screen Capture Sample

3): Capture an interface or dialogue box:  press Command + Shift + 4 + Space, the cross seen in 2) changes to a camera icon, then place it to the window which you want to capture
Command Shift 4 Space Whole Window Capture
⌘ + ⇧ + 4 + Space Whole Application Window Capture Sample

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