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How to Take a Screenshot Snipping Tool Mac

A screenshot, also known as a screen capture, is the image that results from copying and pasting an image from your computer display. Simply put, a screenshot is a picture of your computer display. Many people use screenshots everyday when they want to prove that they had been somewhere, or they want to share an image with someone else (maybe of a funny comment posted on Facebook). Although a screenshot may seem like it’s no big deal, many people don’t know how to take a screenshot. Read this article for tips about how to take a screenshot snipping tool mac, including free screen capture programs for mac.

Screenshots are among the most convenient types of pictures one can easily take from his or her laptops or computers. With a lot of options on the internet, taking screenshots is a breeze with Snipping Tool for Mac. It’s specifically designed to help people make their own screenshots easier for the Mac users.

The keyboard shortcut for taking a screenshot in Mac is Command + Shift + 3. It’s probably a lot easier to say than it is to remember. That’s why I’ve created this guide for How to Take a Screenshot Snipping Tool Mac.Through the use of images, I’ll show you the best way to remember this shortcut.

Taking a screenshot can be very efficient in every day office work. In an office environment, you often need to show your program or app window to coworkers who are sitting next to you. However, not everyone is familiar with keyboard shortcuts so it’s a good idea to know how to take a screenshot on your Mac computer with Snipping Tool.

How to take a screenshot on your Mac

  1. To take a screenshot, press and hold these three keys together: Shift, Command, and 3. 
  2. If you see a thumbnail in the corner of your screen, click it to edit the screenshot. Or wait for the screenshot to save to your desktop.

How to capture a portion of the screen

  1. Press and hold these three keys together: Shift, Command, and 4.
  2. Drag the crosshair  to select the area of the screen to capture. To move the selection, press and hold Space bar while dragging. To cancel taking the screenshot, press the Esc (Escape) key.
  3. To take the screenshot, release your mouse or trackpad button. 
  4. If you see a thumbnail in the corner of your screen, click it to edit the screenshot. Or wait for the screenshot to save to your desktop.

How to capture a window or menu

  1. Open the window or menu that you want to capture.
  2. Press and hold these keys together: Shift, Command, 4, and Space bar. The pointer changes to a camera icon . To cancel taking the screenshot, press the Esc (Escape) key.
  3. Click the window or menu to capture it. To exclude the window’s shadow from the screenshot, press and hold the Option key while you click.
  4. If you see a thumbnail in the corner of your screen, click it to edit the screenshot. Or wait for the screenshot to save to your desktop.

Where to find screenshots

By default, screenshots save to your desktop with the name ”Screen Shot [date] at [time].png.”

In macOS Mojave or later, you can change the default location of saved screenshots from the Options menu in the Screenshot app. You can also drag the thumbnail to a folder or document.

Snipping Tool Under Microscope

The idiom “a picture is worth a thousand words” is especially applicable in today’s digital age. Sharing of images has become incredibly easy, and much of what we do every day takes place on a computer screen. As such, people naturally want to capture what they write, see, create, and do for a myriad of different reasons.

To make screenshot-taking easier for users, Microsoft has created Snipping Tool. To access this tool, select the Start button, type snipping tool in the search box on the taskbar, and then select Snipping Tool from the list of results.

A small window will appear on your screen with four snipping modes:

  • Free-form snip: this option allows you to draw a free-form shape around an object and save it as an image file.
  • Rectangular snip: this option allows you to drag the cursor around an object to form a rectangle and save it as an image file.
  • Window snip: this option allows you to select a window, such as a browser window or dialog box, and save it as an image file.
  • Full-screen snip: this option captures the entire screen and saves it as an image file.

Other features of Snipping Tool include the option to set a delay as well as the option to annotate your snips by selecting the Pen or Highlighter buttons. Snipping Tool also supports a number of keyboard shortcuts:

  • Alt + M: choose a snipping mode.
  • Alt + N: create a new snip in the same mode as the last one.
  • Shift + arrow keys: moves the cursor to select a rectangular snip area.
  • Alt + D: delays capture by 1-5 seconds.
  • Ctrl + C: copies the snip to clipboard.
  • Ctrl +: saves the snip.
  • Ctrl + PrtScn: captures the entire screen, including the open menu.

As you can see, Snipping Tool is quite powerful for such a small utility that many users are not even aware of. Unfortunately, we have bad news for Windows users who wonder how to use Snipping Tool on Mac: Apple’s operating system doesn’t come with this useful application. But it comes with another screenshot-taking tool, called Grab, and you can think of it as Snipping Tool for Mac.

Shortcuts for using the snipping tool on Mac

Mac Snip Tool Shortcut

The main control panel of the snipping tool on Mac can be accessed using the shortcut : Shift, Command, 5, but you can also use : Shift, Command, and 3 to take a quick screenshot of the whole of Mac screen or use the shortcut : Shift, Command, and 4 to capture just a selection of your Mac screen.

Mac command shift 3 shortcut
Mac command shift 4 shortcut

Using the Mac shortcut : Shift, Command, 5 on your MacBook or iMac running the macOS Mojave operating system or later, allows you to access a the Mac Snipping tool control panel (pictured below), that will popup at the bottom of your screen. Here you can carry out a variety of screen capture options such as screenshots, capture a selection of your screen area, as well as record videos of your screen for tutorials and instructional videos. Apple has also provided a number of useful settings to customize your workflow even further if needed.

MacOS snipping tool options

Mac Snipping tool options

Starting from the left-hand side, clicking on the cross within the circle will close the Mac sniping tool and return you to your desktop. The next three buttons allow you to take screenshots and Captures the Entire Screen, the second button from the left allows you to Capture a Selected Window, and the dashed rectangle button allows you to Capture Selected Portions of your Mac screen. Mousing over any of the buttons will trigger a tooltip to remind you what each button does.

The next two buttons with circles in their bottom right corners allow you to capture video of your Mac screen, with the first allowing you to Record Entire Screen and the second dashed rectangle allowing you to Record Selected Portions of your Mac desktop.

Mac snipping tool settings

Changing the default Mac Snipping tool save location

The Mac snipping tool also provides additional Options, offering the ability for you to choose where you would like to save your screenshots or captured video on your Mac when using the sniping tool. The default location for captured screenshots is the Desktop but you can also select send captured screenshots using the Mac sniping tool to your Documents folder or directly to the Clipboard, Mac Mail program, Message application or Preview app on macOS or a Custom Location of your choosing. Other actions include the ability to set a timer of either 5 or 10 seconds, Show Floating Thumbnail, Remember Last Selection or Show Mouse Pointer.

In all honesty and having used both the Windows and the Mac sniping tool alternative, I feel the macOS version is  slightly more intuitive to use and the options are easier to access using the shortcuts above, whether you are capturing a screenshot, selection of the screen or recording a screen video. But both platforms offer easy way to capture your screen as images or video. For more help using your Apple Mac computer jump over to the official Apple support site.


Best for businesses and enterprise customers who are looking for a snipping tool alternative that integrates with the work apps they already use.

cloudapp logo

Like Droplr, CloudApp is a cloud-based snipping tool for Mac, screen recorder, and GIF maker. CloudApp uploads your Mac screen clippings and recordings to your personal cloud account and creates a shareable URL that you can send to grant access to them. It also includes mark-up tools such as arrows, emoticons, basic drawing tools, and blurring tools for sensitive information.

CloudApp integrates with over 30 apps including Zapier, Trello, Sketch, and WordPress. You can use CloudApp to snip on Mac, Windows, iPhone, Linux, and as a Chrome extension. CloudApp includes a free version with the above features and 1 minute limit for screen recordings, 15 second limit for GIFs, 100 MB/file upload size, .5 GB/link/day bandwidth, and 25 drop limit.


CloudApp’s paid plans begin at $9.95/month for unlimited video recording and drops, 1 minute GIFs, 1 GB/file uploads, 2 GB/link/day bandwidth, and custom branding.


Best for Mac OS and iPad users who need a simple snipping tool or businesses that use Evernote.

skitch logo

Skitch is a free snipping tool for Mac available on the Mac App Store that lets you take screenshots, edit them, and share them with others. Skitch keeps things simple with an interface that launches quickly and is made up of large, easily identifiable icons representing each of its tools. Skitch’s mark-up function features seven tools: arrows, text, a color palette with eight colors, shapes, a highlighter, a pixelater for blurring, and cropping tools. You can then drag and drop your file into emails or messaging apps.


Most of Skitch’s functions are free, though an Evernote premium account is required if you want to markup PDFs and save files to Evernote instead of your desktop or phone. PDF markups are particularly useful for business emails and conversations with clients so that you can quickly highlight important information. An Evernote premium account costs $7.99/month and includes integrations with Gmail, Outlook, Salesforce, Google Drive, Slack, and Microsoft Teams. However, even without an Evernote account, Skitch is among the best free snipping tools for Mac.


Best for businesses that use visual instructions to convey information to customers and team members.

techsmith snagit

Snagit is a snipping tool for Mac and Windows developed specifically for businesses to create visual instructions. It also lets users take panoramic shots that can screen capture scrolling webpages and create videos using screenshots and audio. Snagit can extract the text from a screenshot so that you can paste it in another document. Its mark-up tool features a number of professional annotation tools such as preset and custom templates, step tools, and text editing.

Snagit includes a dozen integrations with products such as Microsoft Suite, Google Drive, and Facebook to allow easy sharing. However, unlike Droplr, Snagit does not integrate with most work productivity apps.


Single license pricing for Snagit’s MacBook snipping tool is a $62.99 flat fee that lets you install it on two machines. Discount pricing is available for businesses with several users, education services, and governments and non-profits. Snagit’s 2022 upgrade, which includes webcam recording and integrations with more cloud storage platforms, costs an additional $34.99. Unlike Droplr, all your snips are saved to your local drive with limited free cloud storage that is upgradeable for $99.99 per year via Techsmith Screencast.

Bonus: How to Recover Deleted Screenshots on Mac

Disk Drill


Disk Drill isn’t a Snipping Tool alternative for Mac computers — it’s something even better. With Disk Drill, you can recover all common and not-so-common image file formats, so you’ll never lose any of your screenshots, pictures, videos, music, documents, or any other files since Disk Drill supports the recovery of over 200 file formats.

You can download Disk Drill for free and use it without any expert knowledge, and there are several extra reasons why you should definitely do so because it comes with extra free disk tools that can find duplicates on your hard drive, backup your data, or monitor the health of your hard drive, among many other things.


The snipping tool for mac is a very helpful application to all users. With Mac OS X, a new functionality was added which allowed the taking of screenshots, by pressing only one simple key. But this functionality couldn’t satisfy all users as they wished more. So Apple developed the Snipping Tool, an additional software that became available on all computers running on Mac OS X 10.5 and above.

Taking a screenshot can be difficult for some people. Ask anyone who owns a Mac and they’ll tell you that the combination of their trackpad and touchscreen is killer on their hands and wrists. Fortunately, Windows 10 has built-in tools to help you do that. A tool called the Snipping Tool is one of the convenient features you’ll find in the operating system, once you know where to look for it.

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