How to take a screen shot

December 11, 2010 in Mac OS X

Hi Mom, when you want to show me something on your screen, the easiest way is to take a screen shot. In this video I show you how to take screen shots of:

  • your whole screen,
  • a selected region of your screen,
  • a selected window.

I also show you a handy way to quickly preview your screen shots (actually it works for any file) and how to easily attach your screen shots to an email so you can send them to me.

Video too small? Watch full screen by clicking the YouTube Full Screen button button here

If you need to make a screen shot on a Microsoft Windows computer, Leo at Ask Leo! has detailed instructions for you. He covers numerous versions of Windows in his “What’s a screen shot and how do I make one?” article.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

keith broomfield May 5, 2011 at 12:33 am

Hi Steve,
got your website from Tim Carter and the screen shots advice is fantastic – I never knew that the facility was available – brilliant! Many thanks from Australia.


Steve May 5, 2011 at 12:56 am

Hi Keith,
Glad you found that useful. You just reminded me that I’d been planning on making a follow-on video to this one. There are even more built-in ways to take a screen shot!
[Maybe I can drag Tim down to Australia one of these days. I haven’t been since (about to date myself) 1987. I’d love to go back.]


SUE May 18, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Steve = I’m learning SO much from you. I just took 3 screen shots and I can’t
figure out the difference between #1 and #3 (with camera). They both do the
full screen, don’t they? I love the four corners. Sue


Steve May 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Hi Sue,

No, they shouldn’t be doing the same thing. Command+Shift+3 takes a screen shot of the full screen. Command+Shift+4 and then a Spacebar (which brings up the camera cursor) takes a screen shot of whichever window you click on. If you click on a window that is filling your screen it might look almost like a full screen, except it won’t include the menu on top and the Dock.

Let me know if you can’t make it work that way.


Jeannie August 20, 2011 at 8:34 am

Thank you so much for all your helpful advice, I look forward to your emails….kind of like having access to my own son (who also helps me everytime he comes over to visit!). But since he is a very busy guy, this is the next best thing. LOVE the new things I learn, and LOVE my Mac!


Alice August 20, 2012 at 11:01 am

Hi from Georgia,

I don’t see “command” on my keyboard, couild it be called by another name?


Alice August 20, 2012 at 11:02 am

Would it be “control”?


Steve August 20, 2012 at 11:29 am

Hi Alice. No, “command” is definitely NOT the same as “control”. The “command” key also (or maybe in your case, only) has the four-leaf clover icon on it. Do you see ⌘ on your keyboard? Usually on either side of the space bar.

Or, are you using a PC keyboard? Those wouldn’t have a command key. Only Apple keyboards.


Jerry December 15, 2012 at 10:08 am

After I take a screen shot on the Mac…where is it filed for later use?
Thanks for the help.


Steve December 15, 2012 at 11:11 am

Hey Jerry, the files show up on your Desktop. You can then move them to wherever you want. Watch the video for more details.


Susan Littlefield February 18, 2015 at 6:40 am

Hi Steve,
I just watched your How to Take a Screenshot from 2010. I cannot for the life of me find my screenshots. They used to show up on my desktop but don’t any longer. I have used all sorts of tips from online discussions for Macs. Thanks.
ps: I love your format.


Steve March 3, 2015 at 10:09 pm

Hmm, I just tested this on the latest Yosemite version of Mac OS X and it still puts the screen shots onto the desktop. Have you installed anything that might be intercepting them? Maybe something like Dropbox? I know it has the ability to store all your screenshots automatically in the Dropbox “cloud”.


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