Oct 4 2010
This is a tip I’ve known about for years and I thought it was common knowledge until I was reminded by my friend, @Daynah , that not everyone has been using Macs for as long as us dyed-in-the-wool Mac-heads have. There are a lot of switchers who need to know the basic awesomeness and it’s our job to welcome them in and bring them up to speed.
So, @Daynah , this one is for you.
How to take a screen shot (or how to a “Print Screen”) on a Mac
In case you’re unfamiliar with screen shots, a screen shot is basically a digital snapshot of your computer’s screen at the time when the screen shot was taken. They are really handy when you are trying to show someone what’s on your screen when you can’t get them to come over and look for themselves. Common such situations are taking screen shots of error messages or warnings that you’d like to show someone offering tech support, taking screen shots of websites when you’d like to show someone on another browser or computing platform what the site looks like on your end or taking screen shots of a wicked high score on a game you’re playing.
There are basically 3 ways to take a screen shot on a Mac:
- Command-Shift-3 gets you a shot of the entire screen saved as a PNG to your Desktop.
- Command-Shift-4 gets you a crosshair cursor you can drag around the area you want captured which is then saved as a PNG to your Desktop.
- Command-Shift-4 …and then Space turns your cursor into a camera that you can position over windows to capture them as a PNG to your Desktop with a single click.
The extra added bonus to this is that if you add the Control key to any of those 3 shortcuts (i.e. Command-Control-Shift-4), the screen shot is NOT saved to your Desktop but instead copied to your clipboard from which you can simply Paste it into an email. This gets the screen shot into use without cluttering your Desktop with files you’ll have to sort through later.No Flash? No problem—click here!»
If you watch the video, you’ll see I make reference to CandyBar. This is not needed for taking screen shots, but offered me something super awesome to shoot for the the demonstration. CandyBar is a great application for your Mac that allows you to download icon sets in iContainer format from Iconfactory.com and apply them to individual files or your entire system (including the Trash). You can even use it to change your Dock appearance to match some of the icon sets. The original system icons are always easily restored again should the new look prove too exciting for you. CandyBar sells for $29 US.