Macs come pre-installed with a very capable utility called Grab, as well as many very useful keyboard shortcuts for capturing screenshots.

Grab's Option

Grab’s Option

Grab is a very small utility, with pretty much no interface, however don’t let that deter you from using it. You can find it in your Applications/Utilities folder. When Grab is open, you won’t be presented with any window of any sort. The Options are all in the menu bar.

Knowing how to use all the features, as well as the keyboard shortcuts, can make this application rival what some of the other professional ($) screenshot application can do. Grab lets you take fullscreen, selection, window, and timed screenshots. There is a difference between using the Grab application, and just using the keyboard shortcuts. When using the Grab app, after taking a screenshot you are presented with a preview window, where from, you can save that image to anywhere on your Mac. Where as when using the keyboard shortcuts, you screenshot will simply be saved to your desktop without a preview window or an option of selecting a location to save the image.

To capture a screenshot with Grab, open it from the Utilities folder inside your Applications folder, or from the Launchpad. Your options for selecting what kind of screenshot are in the menu bar. You have 4 options to choose from:

  1. Selection – Use your mouse/trackpad to make a selection.
  2. Window – Take a screenshot of any windows without exposing the rest of your desktop.
  3. Screen –  This capture mode will capture the entire screen of your Mac.
  4. Timed – The Timed capture will do a 10 second countdown before capturing the entire screen of your Mac.

Now onto the keyboard shortcuts. Note: Grab app does not need to be open to use these shortcuts . They keyboard shortcuts can take a while to memorize, however if you take the time to learn them, they can come in really helpful, especially if you take a lot of screenshots like me.

  • Command-Shift-3: Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it as a file on the desktop
  • Command-Shift-4, then select an area: Take a screenshot of an area and save it as a file on the desktop
  • Command-Shift-4, then space, then click a window: Take a screenshot of a window and save it as a file on the desktop
  • Command-Control-Shift-3: Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it to the clipboard
  • Command-Control-Shift-4, then select an area: Take a screenshot of an area and save it to the clipboard
  • Command-Control-Shift-4, then space, then click a window: Take a screenshot of a window and save it to the clipboard