Forget Shortcuts, How to Take Mac OS X Screenshots With Preview

How to Take OS X Screenshots with Preview

There are several ways to take screenshots within Apple’s OS X, and we’ve covered the keyboard shortcuts for each method before. For some users, however, keyboard shortcuts are hard to remember, especially if screenshots are taken infrequently.

Thankfully, the Mac Geek Gab audience has come through with a solution. On Episode 425, listener Scott let us know about a great tip for using Apple’s Preview app to take screenshots in OS X 10.4 and later.

First, open Preview, located in your Applications folder. Then, in Preview’s menu bar, go to File > Take Screen Shot. Here you’ll see three options: “From Selection, From Window, and From Entire Screen.”

These options correspond to the keyboard shortcuts for taking screenshots:

  • From Selection: Command-Shift–4
  • From Window: Command-Shift–4, then the Spacebar
  • From Entire Screen: Command-Shift–3

How to Take Screenshots in OS X with Preview

There is one important difference between using Preview and the keyboard shortcuts, however. Using the shortcut Command-Shift–3 will take a screenshot of your entire display (or multiple displays, one for each, if you have them) immediately.

But selecting to take a screenshot “From Entire Screen” in Preview will give you about a 10 second countdown before it takes the shot. This countdown will appear in the center of your screen (but won’t be visible in the final screenshot image) and it lets you move things around to get your desktop items in the correct position before the virtual shutter snaps.

How to Take Screenshots in OS X with Preview

It should also be noted that holding the “Control” key down while taking a screenshot from within Preview will copy the captured image to your clipboard, just as it does when used with the screenshot keyboard shortcuts.

While keyboard shortcuts often provide a faster and more efficient way to perform tasks in OS X, the ability to take screenshots from within Preview will save many users the trouble of remembering specific key combinations.

Teaser graphic made with help from Shutterstock.