Unless you’re planning to write a book, you’re probably wondering why the heck you’d ever want to take a picture of your Mac’s computer screen. Consider a few possibilities. Maybe you want to take a picture of the screen for a presentation at work. Or perhaps you want to show precisely what a funky error looks like to the person who just might help you correct the problem.

Whatever your motivation, if you want to grab a picture of the Mac screen (or any of its windows), it may be time to open the Grab utility. Choose Applications → Utilities, and click Grab. Through Grab’s Capture menu, you can take a picture of a full screen, window, or menu, as follows:

  • Select Window (or press Shift+⌘+W), click Choose Window, and then click the window to grab its picture.
  • Select Screen (or press ⌘+Z). Then, to capture the full screen, click anywhere outside the window that appears.
  • Choose Capture → Timed Screen (or press Shift+⌘+Z) and then click Start Timer in the window that appears. Grab captures the full screen 10 seconds later. This time delay gives you a chance to prepare the screen to your liking (perhaps by activating a menu) before the image is captured.
  • Select Selection (or Shift+⌘+A). Then use the mouse to drag over the portion of the screen you want to grab.

Still other universal system shortcuts follow. These shortcuts don’t require you to open the Grab utility.

  • Press ⌘+Shift+3 to take a picture of the whole screen.
  • Press ⌘+Shift+4 and drag the mouse to select the part of the screen you want to grab.
  • Press ⌘+Shift+4, press the spacebar, move the pointer to highlight the area you want in the picture, and then click. This shortcut is useful for taking a picture of, say, the menu bar. If you press the spacebar again, you can select the area by dragging the mouse instead. Press Escape to cancel.

Screen shots captured in this matter are saved as files on the desktop. If you’d rather paste the captured image into a document, press the Control key when you press the other keyboard combinations, which places the picture on the Clipboard. From there, you can paste the image into your chosen document.

Through QuickTime Player, you can record everything that appears on the computer screen, backed up, if you want, by your narration.

With QuickTime open, choose File  → New Screen Recording. If you want to be heard while the person watching the video sees the goings-on of the screen, click the arrow button and select an audio input from the pop-up menu. You can also decide whether to show mouse clicks in your recording.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Edward C. Baig is a veteran Mac authority and the technology columnist for USA Today. Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus is the technology columnist for the Houston Chronicle and has written the "Dr. Mac" column for many years. Together, these two experts have co-written all editions of iPhone For Dummies and iPad For Dummies.

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