How to Use Print Screen Function on Mac

by Benjamin Aries

Many Windows-based computers include a "Print Screen" button on the keyboard. This key is commonly used to capture an image of the entire screen. On a Mac, however, this button is not found on the keyboard. Instead, Mac owners can use several key combinations to access this function. The screen capture can be saved to the desktop for later use. The clipboard can also hold a captured screen image temporarily to allow the picture to be quickly pasted into another program.

Save as File

Press "Command-Shift-3." The Mac will capture the entire screen and save the image on the desktop.

Press and hold "Command-Shift-4." Selection cross-hairs will appear. Use the mouse to click and drag across the area that you would like to capture. Release the mouse button to save the selected area to the desktop.

Press and hold "Command-Shift-4" and then press the space bar. Click a window on the screen. The Mac will save only the chosen window as an image on the desktop.

Using The Clipboard

Press "Command-Contro-Shift-3." The entire screen will be captured, but will be saved to the clipboard instead of the desktop.

Press and hold "Command-Control-Shift-4." Use the mouse cursor to click and select a rectangular area. The chosen screen area will be saved to the clipboard.

Use "Command-Control-Shift-4" and click a specific window. The selected window will be saved to the clipboard.


  • Several programs designed for capturing screen images are available in the Apple app store. These third-party utilities often have additional features.


Photo Credits

  • Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images