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How to Take a Screenshot on Mac & Windows

Screenshots are incredibly useful for a wide range of purposes, whether you want to show someone an error message, document instructions to complete a task, and more. Mac and PC users can both take advantage of this handy feature, but the methods differ slightly. We’ll walk you through how to capture screenshots on both Mac and PC, covering various methods to suit your specific needs.

How to take a screenshot on Mac

Mac users, look no further—we’ve compiled the steps for you to take screenshots on a Mac below using both keyboard shortcuts and the screenshot utility.

Method 1: Keyboard shortcuts

  1. Full-screen screenshot
    • Press Shift + Command + 3.
    • The screenshot will be saved to your desktop.
  2. Capture a specific area
    • Press Shift + Command + 4.
    • Your cursor will turn into crosshairs. Click and drag to select the area you want to capture.
    • The screenshot will be saved to your desktop.
  3. Screenshot of a specific window
    • Press Shift + Command + 4, then press the Spacebar.
    • Your cursor will turn into a camera icon. Click on the window you want to capture.
    • The screenshot will be saved to your desktop.

Method 2: Screenshot Utility

  1. Open the screenshot utility
    • Press Shift + Command + 5.
    • This opens the Screenshot utility, which offers various capture options.
  2. Choose a capture option
    • In the utility window, you can select options like capturing the entire screen, a selected portion, a specific window, or recording the screen.
    • After making your selection, click the “Capture” button.
  3. Access your screenshot
    • Your screenshot will appear in the lower-right corner of your screen. Click on it to open and edit it.

How to take a screenshot on Windows

We can’t forget about our PC users. Here are the steps for taking screenshots using the print screen key, Snipping Tool, and Snip & Sketch.

Method 1: Print screen (PrtScn) key

  1. Capture the entire screen
    • Press the PrtScn key to capture the entire screen.
    • Open an image editor or document, and press Ctrl + V to paste the screenshot.
  2. Capture only the active window
    • Press Alt + PrtScn to capture only the active window.
    • Paste the screenshot into an image editor or document using Ctrl + V.

Method 2: Snipping Tool (Windows 7) or Snip & Sketch (Windows 10 and 11)

  1. Open Snipping Tool or Snip & Sketch
    • For Windows 7: Click the “Start” button, type “Snipping Tool” in the search bar, and open the application.
    • For Windows 10 and 11: Press Windows key + Shift + S to open Snip & Sketch.
  2. Capture your screenshot 
    • In the Snipping Tool, click “New” and use the crosshairs to select the area you want to capture. Click “File” > “Save As” to save the screenshot.
    • In Snip & Sketch, select the area to capture using the snipping interface. You can annotate and save the screenshot directly from the Snip & Sketch app.

Taking screenshots is a simple and essential skill for both Mac and PC users. Whether you prefer keyboard shortcuts, built-in utilities, or third-party applications, you have several options at your disposal to capture and save the content that matters to you. Mastering these methods will undoubtedly make your computing experience more efficient and enjoyable.

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Caitlin Good

Denver-based content marketing manager for Syncro. Curator of new experiences: creating compelling and helpful content on the weekday, exploring nature and cities on the weekend.