How To Disable Screenshot Shadows in Yosemite and Mavericks

Today's tip comes from Charles Edge, author of many books and Product Manager of Bushel, cloud-based mobile device management from JAMF Software. While he was writing his Mac enterprise and security books, he wanted to get rid of the shadows behind his screenshots, and it turns out there's a way to do so that doesn't involve Photoshop or any other image editor.

It does, however, involve a bit of mucking about in the Terminal, so if you aren't comfortable with that, you may want to sit this one out. Luckily you can copy and paste right from this page which will help. Right now, the default for screenshots is to have a shadow behind them, like so: 

A screenshot with drop shadowHere's a screenshot with drop shadow. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

To disable the drop shadow, launch Terminal and enter the following at the prompt:

defaults write disable-shadow true

After the prompt comes back, enter the following command to restart the UI Server which is in charge of screenshots and the like:

killall SystemUIServer

It's possible if you have other things running this won't restart the UI Server properly, and you might need to restart your Mac entirely. Then you should be all set with your now shadow-free screenshots:

Screenshot with no drop shadowBehold the utter lack of drop shadow! Isn't it glorious? Yes. Yes it is.

If you decide you want the shadows back again, just swap out the "true" for a "false":

defaults write disable-shadow false

And don’t forget to follow up with the command to restart the UI Server:

killall SystemUIServer

And hopefully you won’t have to reboot, but again, it's possible it will take a restart for this to stick. Now you can swap shadows at will!